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Intramuscular Chemotherapy


Intramuscular (IM) chemotherapy is used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy (chemo) is used to shrink the tumor or kill the cancer cells. IM chemo is given as an injection deep into a muscle in your arm, thigh, or buttock. You may get chemo in a clinic, or at home. You may need to see your caregiver every time you get a shot. If you get chemo at home, a caregiver specially trained in chemo will give it to you.



  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your oncologist as directed:

You may need to return every day, week, or once or twice a month. You may need to see your oncologist for ongoing tests and treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Prevent illness: Stay away from people who are sick. Stay away from children who have recently been vaccinated for chicken pox or polio. Ask for more instructions about protecting yourself from illness or infection.
  • Drink liquids as directed: Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. If you do not feel like eating, try to eat smaller meals, and eat more often. Eat foods high in protein and calories, such as milk, cheese, and eggs. Several small meals a day may be easier to eat than a few large meals.

Contact your oncologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • The area where you got the injection is painful, red, or swollen.
  • You have nausea, vomiting, or no appetite for several days.
  • You are very tired and have no energy for several days.
  • You have sores or white spots in your mouth.
  • You have constipation or diarrhea for longer than 1 day.
  • You are depressed.
  • Your heart is beating very fast.
  • You have frequent, painful urination.
  • You have a cough that is new, or that does not go away within a few days.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
  • You feel confused, or have a severe headache that does not go away within a few days.
  • You have arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, or trouble seeing.
  • Your pain increases.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You feel weak, dizzy, or faint.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Intramuscular Chemotherapy (Discharge Care)

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