How to Use Rectal Suppositories
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
If the suppository is soft, hold it under cool water or place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden it before removing the wrapper.
Remove the wrapper, if present.
If you were told to use half of the suppository, cut it lengthwise with a clean, sharp blade.
Put on a finger cot or disposable glove, if desired (available at a pharmacy).
Lubricate the suppository tip with a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly, not petroleum jelly (Vaseline). If you do not have this lubricant, moisten your rectal area with cool tap water.
Lie on your side with your lower leg straightened out and your upper leg bent forward toward your stomach.
Lift upper buttock to expose the rectal area.
Insert the suppository, pointed end first, with your finger until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum, about 1/2 to 1 inch (1.25 to 2.5 centimeters) in infants and 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in adults. If not inserted past this sphincter, the suppository may pop out.
Hold buttocks together for a few seconds.
Remain lying down for about 15 minutes to avoid having the suppository come out.
Try to avoid having a bowel movement for about an hour so that the medication in the suppository can be absorbed into the body.
Discard used materials and wash your hands thoroughly.
Adapted, with permission, from the Michigan Pharmacists Association's Patient Education Program.
This report on medications is for your information only, and is not considered individual patient advice. Because of the changing nature of drug information, please consult your physician or pharmacist about specific clinical use.
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Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.