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How To Fill a Syringe From a Vial

Learn how to properly fill a syringe from a sterile medication vial.

Read on

While many injectable medications will be injected by a medical professional in a healthcare setting, there are some medications that are designed to be self-injected in the home setting. 

Currently, an example would be the popular Semaglutide medications like Ozempic and Wegovy. At Strut Health, we also offer compounded injectable Semaglutide and compounded oral Semaglutide lozenges.

For many people, giving yourself an injection may sound intimidating and painful, but the truth is these can be safely and easily done with a little know-how.

Below, we will outline the basic details of giving yourself an injection. Specifically, this article will cover how to fill a syringe with medication from a sterile vial.

How to fill a syringe from a vial: step-by-step general instructions

Step 1: Read all of your medication information closely

The first step to giving yourself an injectable medication is reading all of your available information and instructions closely. Some medications may need to be reconstituted (sterile liquids added to it), others may need to be gently rolled before injection, and other nuances. Being familiar with the exact process of your medication is a key first step before you do anything else.

Step 2: Get all needed supplies together

Next, you will want to gather all of your supplies and place them all on a clean and organized surface. It can add stress or increase the risk of needle sticks or contamination if you are scrambling for a bandaid, or having to locate your sharps container, while wielding a needle. 

Different injections may differ slightly here, but the most common supplies to assemble include:

  • Your medication vial
  • A syringe
  • A needle (unless it comes already attached to your syringe)
  • 1-2 alcohol swabs
  • A cotton ball or cotton pad
  • A bandaid
  • Your sharps container

Step 3: Check and visually inspect your medication

There may be a few different things to check on and inspect for your actual medication vial before you get started. Firstly, always double-check that your medication is not expired or past the beyond-use-date. An expired or past-date medication can increase your risk of using a medication that is no longer sterile, or that does not have the correct potency any longer.

Aside from this, you will want to make sure the vial was stored correctly (sometimes in the fridge or freezer, as outlined in your medication information), and visually inspect the medication itself. If there are color changes, flecks, cloudiness, or other variations, the medication may not be safe to use and should be discarded.

Step 4: Wash your hands

Wash your hands thoroughly before handing the syringe and your medication vial for good sanitary technique.

Step 5: Sterilize the top of the vial and your injection site

Use 1 or 2 alcohol swabs in order to swipe across the top of your vial that you will be puncturing, as well as the injection site on your skin. You don’t want to be pushing any potential microbes into the vial or into your skin from these areas.

Step 6: Fill the syringe with the correct volume of your medication

There are a few steps involved in this part of using your injectable medication.

Firstly, hold your syringe with the capped needle attached, and pull back on the plunger until the syringe is filled with the same amount of air as the amount of medication you will be drawing out.

Then, carefully uncap your needle, and insert it directly down into the top of your medication vial. (It can help maintain stability, by doing this with the vial set down on a flat surface.)

Next, holding both the vial and the syringe, flip them upside down together. Be careful to not contact the needle with anything and to not bend the needle.

Once they are upside down, press the plunger down to “inject” the contained air into the vial. This will help to normalize the pressure in the sealed vial to make it easier to withdraw fluid, without over pressurizing it which can result in medication pushing out through the puncture.

Then, carefully pull the plunger back to fill the syringe with the desired volume of medication. (The needle will need to be positioned underneath the level of the liquid in the vial to do this.) It can sometimes be easier to pull back a little further than you want and then push some back in carefully to help expel any bubbles.

Step 7: Tap out any bubbles inside of the syringe

If there are some bubbles in your syringe after filling it, you may need to tap on the side of the syringe carefully to have the float to the top. Then, the excess air can be injected back into the vial since the needle is still inside. At this time, double-check that the correct volume is still inside the syringe – if not, you may need to withdraw some more as described above.

Step 8: Inject your medication as directed

At this step, you will carefully pull the needle out of the vial, set the vial down, and inject into your cleaned injection site as directed.

For more information on the best steps for the injection, take a look at our detailed article below:

Step 9: Dispose of your syringe and needle into a sharps container

After your medication has been fully injected, carefully pull your needle out and directly dispose of it in the sharps containers to prevent needle sticks. You may want to avoid trying to unnecessarily recapping the needle, as this may just increase your risk of sticking yourself. The syringe can go with the needle into the sharps container, even if they initially were packaged separately, no need to try and disconnect them at this stage.

Strut Health medications prescribed online and shipped free

Here at Strut Health, we offer a range of medications to help you take care of yourself and feel confident. We cater to conditions from hair loss, to acne, erectile dysfunction, and even weight loss.

We carry compounded injectable Semaglutide or oral Semaglutide lozenges for weight loss. To learn more about this product, take a look at our Semaglutide product page.

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