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Home » Medicine Usage Guides » Rectal Suppositories

Rectal Suppositories

What Are Suppositories?

Suppositories are solid, bullet-shaped preparations designed for easy insertion into the anus (back passage). They are normally made of a solid vegetable oil that contains the medicine. The suppository dissolves at body temperature and gradually spreads over the lining of the lower bowel (rectum), where it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Suppositories are used either to provide a local action in the rectum, or as an alternative to oral forms of medicine (eg when someone is continuously feeling sick or is unable to take anything by mouth). The medicine is easily absorbed from the rectum as there is a rich supply of blood vessels in this area.

How to Use Your Suppositories

  1. Go to the toilet and empty your bowels if necessary.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Remove any foil or plastic wrapping from the suppository.
  4. Either squat or lie on your side with one leg bent and the other straight.
  5. Gently but firmly push the suppository into the rectum, pointed end first. If necessary moisten the end of the suppository with a little water. Push it in far enough so that it doesn’t slip out.
  6. Close your legs and sit or lie still for a few minutes.
  7. Wash your hands again.
  8. Try not to empty your bowels for at least an hour, unless the suppository is a laxative.

Instructional Video

Other Useful Advice

  • Once in the rectum the suppository will melt and may leak from your rectum. You may find it more comfortable to insert the suppository before going to bed at night rather than during the day, however follow the instructions given by your doctor. If you do insert suppositories during the day, be aware that some suppositories can stain your clothes.
  • STORAGE store your suppositories in a cool dark place, but not in the fridge unless specifically instructed. If they get too warm they may melt and not be firm enough to insert.
  • Always keep medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Always use the medicine according to the printed label or as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Don’t give your medicines to anyone else to use, even if they have the same symptoms as you. They may be harmful to other people.
  • If you miss a dose of your medicine, take the dose as soon as you remember, and then go on as before.
  • Suppositories are designed only for insertion into the rectum and must not be taken by mouth. If they are accidentally swallowed, tell your doctor at once.
  • Do not use your suppositories after the expiry date on the pack.

Remember

  • Follow directions carefully
  • Do not miss doses
  • Store suppositories in a cool place and avoid melting; refrigerate them if so labeled
  • Store medications out of reach of children

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