Self-injection safety

Some MS medications are given by injections just under the skin (subcutaneous injection) or into a muscle (intramuscular injection). To learn more, see "A tale of 3 injections."

Many people can learn to inject these types of MS medications at home by themselves. This is called self-injection. From prefilled syringes to an auto-injector device, if you are planning to self-inject, safety and proper training are very important.

Here are some tips on self-injection safety:

  • When you're learning to self-inject, don't be embarrassed to ask questions to make sure you understand exactly how to inject the medication. If you're not comfortable with any part of the self-injection process, or if you're feeling unsure about anything, ask your doctor.
  • Before you self-inject for the first time, be prepared: go through the process once in your head to make sure you know exactly how to do it, then assemble all of the materials you will need for the injection in one place. Have a number you can call, such as your doctor, nurse, or MS support line, in case you run into any problems.
  • If you miss a dose of your medication, contact your doctor or pharmacist to find out what to do next.

Most injections can cause some mild side effects, including mild bruising at the injection site, pain just after injection, and mild swelling and irritation around the injection site. Other symptoms may be a sign of a more serious problem.

Contact your healthcare professional if you notice any of the following:

  • swelling, warmth, redness, and discharge around the injection site
  • lumps, hollow areas, firm knots, discolouration, or pain around the injection site
  • skin rash found not just at the injection site, but at different sites on the body
  • hives, swelling of the face or throat, or difficulty breathing

Most manufacturers of MS medications offer a toll-free support line that can assist you with questions about the medication, including self-injection. Support programs may also be available to offer you more information on MS and the medication you are using. Check with your doctor or nurse to find out if there is a toll-free support number for your medication.

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