Syringe sq vs auto-injector (epi pen, etc)

  1. Recently having first hand experience with administering meds SQ by both syringe and an epi pen like device. I'm really surprised by the difference in discomfort between the two devices. The syringes have had various sized needles because selling syringes OTC really flusters the pharmacy techs.
    The auto injector is what it is. And it su**s! Worse yet, judging by the bleeding and bruising left by the last shot, I'm assuming at least part of the med was given iv. Nothing I could do about it, fortunately it's not a critical drug like epi or insulin so should be no harm except for therapeutically.
    I'd just like to hear any feedback others have had with these auto-injectors. The syringes I'm using for abdominal sites, the auto injector recommends the upper leg site, which I've done.
  2. Visit dthfytr profile page

    About dthfytr, ADN, LPN, RN, EMT-I

    Joined: Sep '05; Posts: 1,190; Likes: 2,881
    Disabled; from US
    Specialty: 30 year(s) of experience in ER, Trauma


  3. by   Jolie
    As a school nurse, I have experience with Epi-pens.

    As you state, they are what they are, and they are useful and effective for their intended purpose, which is relative ease of administration by non-medical people in an emergency.

    They deploy with impressive force, and can cause discomfort and bruising at the administration site. The needles are relatively fine and short, and the devices are sized to children and adults, so I don't believe that IV administration is much of a risk if the injection is given anywhere near the intended site.

    I assume that you are administering an anticoagulant. If I were to do so for myself, I would most certainly perfer a device custom chosen for my body size and suited to the medication being given.

    As for insulin pens, there is really no comparison with Epi-pens. They are fitted with appropriate sized, fine guage needles ad don't inject with the same force as an Epi-pen.
  4. by   MomRN0913
    I used both for fertility treatments and both were used in my abdomen. Yes, the regular sq syringes were a little more comfortable, because i prefer a slower injection and I can chose a comfortable angle. Not the same for the injector pens. either way, I take shots well, so I am not the best judge. I highly dougby anything is going IV.
  5. by   dthfytr
    Thanks for the feedback. The pens hurt a whole lot more than the syringes and their design makes it hard to see what size nedle they use. The pen is a "tumor necrosis factor blocker." We're using them as anti-inflamatories for a very rare (lucky me, oh joy) condition (Polymyositis).
  6. by   BeautifulDoeLVN
    Had the option of syringe or soloflex pen today taking insulin again.
    and I like the syringe I know exactly whats being drawn up I've used the pens and have experienced bruising abdomen and thigh can't get and angle plus you have to leave it in for 10 seconds yes ten seconds read the prescribing insert.
  7. by   KatieMI
    My hubby once made an observation: if I scream after Epi shot, it means that my BP is high enough.
    It is a joke, of course, but Epi-like devices are designed to hit right through things like thick denim or snow pants, so they have long and thick needle. They also should quckly push relatively high volume. I once used autoinjector with micro-needle (European design) for antihistamines, and it was much less painful than Epi, but still more than standard SQ shot.
  8. by   whichone'spink
    I have given Lantus in a pen-like device. It sucks for both me and the patient, because I have to push harder on the skin to get the needle to go into the skin fold.
  9. by   dthfytr
    The pen has 0.8ml Humira. I follow the instructions (fighting the male urge to just go blindly forward). Since the shots are a thousand bucks or so each, I guess Abbott labs feels better with the general public not fumbling with syringes and the like. One little "whoops" and there goes $1000!

    The feedback from all of you helps a lot. I've never used any type of injector pen, and now I'm thankful for that. I think nothing of injecting myself with a syringe, but the pen is far more painful, and the nurse in me would like more control over what's happening. The last shot bled and left a 1 cm purple bruise. I could do better with a syringe.
  10. by   lillymom
    Humira comes in the syringe form and most of our pt's who are in a healthcare type field prefer the syringes. Ask your MD to prescribe those instead. I think a lot of it has to do with lay people not knowing how and not being able to give themselves a shot. I believe the rep said that the needle in the pen is a 27 gauge so not too big but we have some other meds that are 30 gauge. It is very common for those using the pen to have injection site reactions, bruising, and swelling but it typically gets better with each injection. I would go for the syringe rather than the pen since most of our pt's think that the syringe is better.