What should I know about injectable medications?


  • Always check your medicine type and expiration date before leaving the pharmacy.
  • Once opened, the medicine must be used in the number of days instructed by your healthcare provider. Make sure that unopened medication is kept refrigerated until its expiration date.
  • Keep your opened medicine at room temperature (not too cold or too hot).
  • Do not use medicine that contains lumps, is discolored, or has been frozen.
  • If you use a pen device, consult your healthcare provider about storage.
  • Dispose of pen needles, syringes, and lancets (for blood sugar testing) in a hard, plastic container with a screw-on lid. Call your local city hall for disposal guidelines. Sharps containers might also be purchased at your local pharmacy. If the same injection site is used over and over again, you might develop hardened areas under the skin that keep medicine from being used properly. To avoid this problem, follow these instructions.
    • Move the site of each injection. Inject at least 1½ inches away from the last injection site.
    • Try to use the same general injection area at the same time each day.
    • Ask your doctor, nurse, or health educator which sites you should use.
    • Keep a record of which injection sites you have used.

Note: The abdomen has the faster rate of absorption, followed by the arms, thighs, and buttocks.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/15/2018.


  • American Association of Diabetes Educators. Learning How to Inject Insulin. (https://www.diabeteseducator.org/docs/default-source/legacy-docs/_resources/pdf/general/Insulin_Injection_How_To_AADE.pdf) Accessed 3/28/2018.
  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. Patient Education: Giving a Subcutaneous Injection. (https://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/patient_education/pepubs/subq.pdf) Accessed 3/28/2018.
  • Department of Health & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia. Diabetes and insulin. (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes-and-insulin) Accessed 3/28/2018.

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