Health Risks

Possible Complications following Administering Intra Muscular Injections

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"Possible Complications following Administering Intra Muscular Injections"
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Intramuscular injections are injections given into a muscle in the body and will be used for medications, vaccines…etc in a therapeutic setting. Furthermore, intra muscular injections are also used to deliver drugs related to long term family planning as well. While the method of administering medications intra muscularly have been practiced extensively in hospital settings, the number of complications it may lead to have shown to be minimal. In most instances, the effects are not particularly per se due to the method of injection but because of the medications that are given.

What are the possible complications following intramuscular injections?

Even though it is rare, there are several complications which may take place with IM injections, Let us now look at them one by one.

Local manifestations:

These include mild tenderness at the site, swelling related to soft tissues in the vicinity as well as redness if the site becomes sore. This could be particularly significant when the drug given is of large volume or is a thick solution and when the site given does not have enough muscle mass to hold the medication. Use of a relatively large bore needle can also affect the level of discomfort along with the depth at which the needle should be advanced before administering the medicine. Thus, choosing an appropriate site with enough muscle mass at a superficial level may reduce the local manifestations following giving such injections.


In certain instances, there is a possibility of introducing infections into the body although if proper care has been taken while giving the injection such complications can be easily avoided.

Tissue injury:

Because of the necessity for the sharp needle of the injector to advance into the tissues, there is a risk of damaging other tissues such as nerves and blood vessels close to the site and therefore must pay vigilance to select a site without such structures in the close vicinity. Use of a shorter needle will also help in reducing the risk associated with IM injections.


Although rare, collection of blood at the site or within the muscle is a known complication following IM injection particularly among those who are suffering from coagulopathies and other bleeding disorders.

Fibrosis of the injection site:

In instances of repeated or too frequent administering of intra muscular injections, the site can become fibrosed. Thus, choosing alternative sites and use of appropriate techniques in giving the medications will lessen this manifestation to a great extent.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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