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When using injectable meds, how much is one unit?

By Anonymous October 21, 2014 - 7:53am
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Yes, some questions I have come up with seem really silly and simple, but some of the silliest ones are the ones that stay unanswered. This one is one of those. When you get a prescription of lovanox (heparin) that is to be injected, and it says measurements by units, is one unit the same thing as one mg? a totally accurate answer is so very important and would be even more appreciated than you could possibly imagine. thank you to anyone who knows, for sure. and please don't say go ask a pharmacist,,, that doesn't work.

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EmpowHER Guest

maybe you can answer another silly question... I have rh- blood and so have had rhogam after pregnancy on three occasions. this was in the early 1980's, and pre hiv and aids.. is there any reason I should be concerned about this?

October 30, 2014 - 12:40am
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello doneka,

As long as a sterile needle was used to inject RhoGAM, you have nothing to be concerned about.


October 30, 2014 - 9:28am
EmpowHER Guest

thank you for trying to help in a blind advisement. it reassured me that it was ok to go to the er and ask them for assistance. you misunderstood that the injection was for the final time of heparin (lovanox) before going totally alone to Coumadin. and I was correct to ask also, because they decided that 90 whatever it may have been was too much and it was reperscribed as 40 whatever.. which they injected for me. thank you for your help.. sincerely... dody. doekna......

October 30, 2014 - 12:27am

actually no. the answer didnt help at all. problems,, i know zip about metrics and measuring medications. the last time i needed to inject heperin it was in some tiny little syringes and the one i recieved this time is twice that size. i dont know what a typical average amount is that would get perscribed after having them giving it to me inpatient, and this is a one time thing i will have to give to myself, by myself, and then its all coumadin. the stuff is not in a vial but a prefilled syringe and it has measurements on the side but its all mg's and the written instructions are saying units. the pharamacist said to call the doc to see what his intentions were and would not tell me anything else. the doc is out of town of course,.. options as i see them... assume mg and unit is the same thing and take a chance,, dont use it at all, or figure out if anyone knows what a typical amount would be for my situation, and/or what the difference is between a unit and an mg. thanks for answering and trying.

October 21, 2014 - 2:55pm
Guide (reply to doekna)

Hello doekna,

Thank you for providing more specific information about your question.

Do Not make that assumption and take a chance.

Coumadin is an anticoagulant and if not taken as directed can cause major or fatal bleeding.

There must be a physician who is covering while your doctor is away. Were you given this prescription as discharge orders from a hospital doctor or did your doctor give you the order for coumadin following an office visit?

Either give your primary care physician's office a call or take the syringes and written instructions to the emergency room of your local hospital and ask for help.

Lastly, maintenance doses of coumadin are prescibed in milligrams.


October 22, 2014 - 9:16am
(reply to doekna)

easier question might be this one... how many mg is 90 units?

October 21, 2014 - 2:59pm
Guide (reply to doekna)

Hi doekna,

Once again, there is no standard conversion from milligrams to units. It all depends on the concentration of the medication.


October 22, 2014 - 9:18am

You just said it all , your answer is very okay Regards maryann....

October 21, 2014 - 1:24pm

Hello Anonymous,

Welcome to EmpowHER. There is no such thing as a silly question. If we don't ask, how will we learn?

The measurement of a unit varies depending upon the medication and is always listed on the vial. There is no direct conversion of unit to milliliter because of variations in the concentration of the medication in the vial.

For example, there is one milligram of regular insulin in one unit. Heparin sodium for injection contains USP 2000 and 2500 USP Units/mL.

I hope this answers your question.


October 21, 2014 - 8:59am
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