Needle phobia: a neglected diagnosis

J Fam Pract. 1995 Aug;41(2):169-75.


Needle phobia is a recently defined medical condition that affects at least 10% of the population. Because persons with needle phobia typically avoid medical care, this condition is a significant impediment in the health care system. The etiology of needle phobia lies in an inherited vasovagal reflex of shock, triggered by needle puncture. Those who inherit this reflex often learn to fear needles through successive needle exposure. Needle phobia is therefore both inherited and learned. In a family practice, needle phobia can be managed by reassurance and education, avoidance of needles, postural and muscle tension techniques, benzodiazepines, nitrous oxide gas, and topical anesthesia applied by iontophoresis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Family Practice
  • Humans
  • Needles*
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / etiology*
  • Phobic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Reflex / physiology
  • United States / epidemiology