Self-injection anxiety

Injection anxiety is a fear of injections. While it is common to be a little wary, 3.5% of people have injection anxiety that is severe enough to stop them from having any injections at all.

Self-injection anxiety is a specific type of injection anxiety - the fear of giving yourself an injection. Self-injection anxiety is an important issue for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), because many MS medications are given by injection. People who prefer to give themselves their MS medications by injection at home must first be trained by a nurse or other health professional. However, self-injection anxiety may prevent people from using their medications properly. People with self-injection anxiety are more likely to stop taking their medications or not to use them as recommended.

Who is at risk for self-injection anxiety? While anyone may develop this problem, certain things can make people more anxious about self-injections. People who are using intramuscular (IM) medications are more likely to have self-injection anxiety than those using subcutaneous (SC) medications, because IM medications are usually given through a thicker, longer needle. Unpleasant side effects from the medication or injection may increase the risk. Anxiety may also be tied to the feeling that by receiving treatment, the person is acknowledging MS and letting it into their life.

Self-injection anxiety counseling (SIAC), offered by specially trained nurses, helps people overcome their anxiety about giving themselves an injection. It uses relaxation techniques, teaches people how to identify "unhelpful thoughts" that may be contributing to their anxiety, and explains the body's natural anxiety process and how to manage it. Specific techniques that are helpful include the following:

  • putting the needle gently against the skin before actually injecting
  • learning to self-inject quickly so that there is less pain and bleeding
  • practising on an orange or a chair

With counselling, most people overcome their fear of self-injection in one to six weeks. If you think you may have self-injection anxiety, talk to your doctor or nurse about counselling.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Medication-Self-Injection

Proper subcutaneous injection technique

A subcutaneous (SC) injection is given into the tissue just under the skin. To give a SC injection:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Assemble all the materials you will need in a clean area.
  3. Prepare the medication for injection using the instructions given to you by your healthcare professional.
  4. Choose an injection site. The injection site should be changed each time, and each area should only be used once per week. This will help avoid discomfort and skin reactions at the injection site. Possible sites include:
    1. back of the arm
    2. front of the thigh
    3. buttocks
    4. abdomen
  5. Using an alcohol swab, clean the small patch of skin around your chosen injection site. Wait 15-20 seconds for the alcohol to dry.
  6. Uncap the needle of the syringe and hold the syringe like a pencil. Use your other hand to gently pinch the skin around the injection site to lift it up. Quickly and firmly insert the needle into the skin at a 90-degree angle (perpendicular to the body surface). Once the needle is in, release the pinched skin. Gently push down the plunger to inject the medication. Then, remove the needle from the skin.
  7. Use a fresh alcohol swab to gently massage the area around the injection site. If the injection site is bleeding, wipe off the blood with a new alcohol swab and apply a bandage if needed. Throw out the used syringe, needle cap, and alcohol swabs in the appropriate needle disposal container. Do not throw them in the regular garbage! Do not attempt to put the needle cap back onto the needle; some people have accidentally poked themselves doing this.

If you have any questions, contact your health professional. Many MS medications have a toll-free support line or call centre staffed by registered nurses 24 hours a day. Check with your nurse or doctor to see if there is a call centre for your specific medication.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Medication-Self-Injection

Proper intramuscular injection technique

Are you using an MS medication that is given by intramuscular injection? Review your intramuscular injection technique with our step-by-step guide.

An intramuscular (IM) injection is given into a muscle. To give an IM injection:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Assemble all the materials you will need in a clean area.
  3. Prepare the medication for injection using the instructions given to you by your healthcare professional.
  4. Choose an injection site. Possible sites include the upper arm or thigh. Do not use the same injection site too often.
  5. Use a fresh alcohol swab to clean the small patch of skin around your chosen injection site. Wait 15-20 seconds for the alcohol to dry.
  6. Remove the needle cap and hold the syringe like a pencil. Use the other hand to stretch the skin tight around the injection site. Quickly and firmly insert the needle into the skin at a 90-degree angle (perpendicular to the body surface). You will probably feel some resistance as the needle goes through the skin and subcutaneous (under skin) tissue into the muscle. Once the needle is all the way in, release the stretched skin. Slowly push the plunger until all the medication has been injected.
  7. Pull the needle straight out while holding a gauze pad near the needle. Apply pressure with the pad.
  8. If the injection site is bleeding, use a fresh swab to wipe the area. Bandage the area if needed.
  9. Throw out the used needle in the puncture-resistant container (not in the regular household garbage). The syringe should be put in the trash. Do not use a syringe or needle more than once.

Talk to your healthcare professional if you have any questions. Check with your nurse or doctor to see if there is a toll-free support line for your specific medication.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Medication-Self-Injection

Injection safety: when to contact your healthcare provider

Injections may cause side effects. Some are mild and usually go away, while others are more serious. It is important to recognize the warning signs of a more serious problem.

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

You should also contact your health professional if you have any other concerns about MS or any of your medications, for example if you:

  • miss a dose of your medication
  • are unsure of how to give the injection
  • become anxious about giving the injection
  • notice any symptom not listed here that worries you

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Medication-Self-Injection