We can call intramuscular application the administration of a substance or medicine directly inside a muscle for therapeutic purposes, that is, to treat or prevent some condition.
The muscles most used for this procedure are the deltoids of the arm, the gluteus of the buttock and the quadriceps located at the front of the thigh.
In which cases is the intramuscular route used?
This route of substance administration is used in the following situations:
When it is not possible to use the oral route because of intolerance . An example is the cases of people who are vomiting, where it is possible that the drugs used orally are eliminated through vomiting, thus not achieving their effect. Intramuscular Application
In the case of drugs that are not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are drugs that cannot be absorbed in the intestinal tube, or once absorbed, they are inactivated when they pass through the liver. An example of the former is aminoglycosides (gentamicin, amikacin), a type of antibiotic widely used to treat urinary infections.
Deposit drugs . There are medications that are presented in such a way that, once in the body, they are released little by little, even maintaining their effect for several days. The most used medications are steroids , indicated for cases of more severe allergic reactions and respiratory difficulties; another medication of this type is benzathine penicillin, used in the treatment of tonsillitis. Intramuscular Application
Application of vaccines. The intramuscular route is the most used to apply vaccines (the exception is the oral vaccine against polio and the vaccine against rotavirus).
Advantages of using the intramuscular route
The administration of substances directly into the muscle has several advantages:
– Ensures greater absorption of the substance.
– Allows faster onset of action, being especially useful for treating certain conditions such as pain.
– Facilitates administering deposit drugs.
Complications after an intramuscular application
Intramuscular application is a procedure that must be performed after a series of precautions to avoid complications, which include:
Pain . In general, intramuscular application is a procedure that only produces discomfort. The presence of pain indicates that the needle has come into contact with a blood vessel, a nerve pathway, or has hit the surface of a bone. Intramuscular Application
Hematoma . One of the most frequent complications is the appearance of a hematoma at the injection site, which is recognized as a hard and painful mass. This is due to damage to a blood vessel during the injection. To avoid the appearance of a hematoma, it is recommended to aspirate before injecting the needle, which allows identifying if it is in a blood vessel, so the needle must be removed and the procedure started again.
Infection . This is an unusual condition. It occurs when the norms of asepsis and antisepsis are not observed, or when a contaminated substance is applied because of inadequate handling or because it was previously in bad condition .
Nervous injury . This is a serious complication. It mainly occurs when an injection is applied in the gluteal region and damages the sciatic nerve. It is recognized by the appearance of a very intense pain, such as a cramp or stab that goes from the buttock to the leg or even to the foot on the same side.