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Drug administration methods

Intramuscular injection is the injection of a substance directly into a muscle. In medicine, it is one of several alternative methods for the administration of medications (see Route of administration). It is used for particular forms of medication that are administered in small amounts. Depending on the chemical properties of the drug, the medication may either be absorbed fairly quickly or more gradually. Intramuscular injections are often given in the deltoid, vastus lateralis, ventrogluteal and dorsogluteal muscles. When the gluteal muscles are used, injections should be made on the upper, outer quadrant of the buttock to avoid damaging the sciatic nerve.

Thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) and coagulopathy (bleeding tendency) are contraindications for intramuscular injections, as they may lead to hematomas.

Examples of medications that are sometimes administered intramuscularly are:

Psychiatric medications

See alsodepot injections

Sex hormones and contaceptives

Pain killers



In addition, some vaccines are administered intramuscularly:

See also

References & Bibliography

Key texts



  • Biederman, G. B. (1970). Memory enhancement of a partly-learned discrimination in pigeons by intramuscular injection of physostigmine. Psychonomic Science, 21(1), 33-35.
  • Brueggemann, N., Doegnitz, L., Harms, L., Moser, A., & Hagenah, J. M. (2008). Skin reactions after intramuscular injection of Botulinum toxin A: A rare side effect. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 79(2), 231-232.
  • Christidis, N., Nilsson, A., Kopp, S., & Ernberg, M. (2007). Intramuscular injection of granisetron into the Masseter muscle increases the pressure pain threshold in healthy participants and patients with localized myalgia. Clinical Journal of Pain, 23(6), 467-472.
  • de Alarcon, R., & Carney, M. W. (1969). Severe depressive mood changes following slow-release intramuscular fluphenazine injection. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 3(5670), 564-567.
  • Ernberg, M., Lundeberg, T., & Kopp, S. (2000). Effect of propranolol and granisetron on experimentally induced pain and allodynia/hyperalgesia by intramuscular injection of serotonin into the human masseter muscle. Pain, 84(2-3), 339-346.
  • Ernberg, M., Lundeberg, T., & Kopp, S. (2003). Effects on muscle pain by intramuscular injection of granisetron in patients with fibromyalgia. Pain, 101(3), 275-282.
  • Everett, B., & Salamonson, Y. (2005). Differences in Postoperative Opioid Consumption in Patients Prescribed Patient-Controlled Analgesia Versus Intramuscular Injection. Pain Management Nursing, 6(4), 137-144.
  • Gandhi, R., Ryals, J. M., & Wright, D. E. (2004). Neurotrophin-3 Reverses Chronic Mechanical Hyperalgesia Induced by Intramuscular Acid Injection. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(42), 9405-9413.
  • Gjerstad, J., Tjolsen, A., Svendsen, F., & Hole, K. (2000). Inhibition of spinal nociceptive responses after intramuscular injection of capsaicin involves activation of noradrenergic and opioid systems. Brain Research, 859(1), 132-136.
  • Glazer, W. M., Maynard, C., & Berkman, C. S. (1987). Injection site leakage of depot neuroleptics: Intramuscular versus subcutaneous injection. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 48(6), 237-239.
  • Goldberg, S. R., Morse, W. H., & Goldberg, D. M. (1976). Behavior maintained under a second-order schedule by intramuscular injection of morphine or cocaine in rhesus monkeys. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 199(1), 278-286.
  • Hamann, G. L., Egan, T. M., Wells, B. G., & Grimmig, J. E. (1990). Injection site reactions after intramuscular administration of haloperidol decanoate 100 mg/mL. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 51(12), 502-504.
  • Katz, J. L. (1979). A comparison of behaviors maintained under second-order schedules of food presentation and intramuscular cocaine injection in the squirrel monkey. Dissertation Abstracts International, 39(9-B), 4639-4640.
  • Katz, J. L. (1979). A comparison of responding maintained under second-order schedules of intramuscular cocaine injection or food presentation in squirrel monkeys. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 32(3), 419-431.
  • Mellick, G. A., & Mellick, L. B. (2003). Regional Head and Face Pain Relief Following Lower Cervical Intramuscular Anesthetic Injection. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 43(10), 1109-1111.
  • Mielke, D. H., & et al. (1978). Haloperidol: A preliminary evaluation of a new long-acting aqueous suspension for intramuscular injection. Current Therapeutic Research, 24(5), 551-558.
  • Nesvag, R., Hendset, M., Refsum, H., & Tanum, L. (2006). Serum concentrations of risperidone and 9-OH risperidone following intramuscular injection of long-acting risperidone compared with oral risperidone medication. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 114(1), 21-26.
  • Schafers, M., Sorkin, L. S., & Sommer, C. (2003). Intramuscular injection of tumor necrosis factor-alpha induces muscle hyperalgesia in rats. Pain, 104(3), 579-588.
  • Stolt, G., & Eriksson, S. O. (1989). Intramuscular diazepam in the treatment of alcohol abstinence: Evaluation of outcome and pain reactions at the injection site with two drug formulations. Nordisk Psykiatrisk Tidsskrift, 43(2), 165-169.
  • Witting, N., Svensson, P., Gottrup, H., Arendt-Nielsen, L., & Jensen, T. S. (2000). Intramuscular and intradermal injection of capsaicin: A comparison of local and referred pain. Pain, 84(2-3), 407-412.

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