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'sPatient Education Program.
Store suppositories in a cool place and avoid melting; refrigerate them if so labeled
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.