How to Insert Suppositories

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. We recommend, if possible, that the suppositories be inserted after you have had a recent bowel movement. This helps in the first of the four pharmacokinetic processes: absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination (Hollenberg & Brody, 1998). If you chose to use a latex glove to insert the suppository, place the glove on the hand you will use to insert the suppository. Gloves are very inexpensive and can be purchased at most pharmacies.
  2. Take the suppository out of the refrigerator. The suppositories retain cold so they will be comfortable. By keeping the suppository in the refrigerator, the suppository will be hard and easier to insert. ONLY the DMSA suppository cannot be refrigerated or kept in freezer since the cold decreases potency.
  3. Open plastic suppository shell by pulling apart the 2 tabs located at the tapered end.
  4. If necessary, lubricate the suppository tip with tap water or a lubricant such as K-Y Lubricating Jelly or Vaseline. If you do not have this lubricant, moisten the SUPPOSITORY with cool tap water. Note that after a shower, insertion is quite easy. Note that the use of the lubricating jelly and/or cool water will hasten the separation of the base material from the nutrients, and thus enhance the absorption process.
  5. Lie on your side with your lower leg straightened out and your upper leg bent forward toward your stomach.
  6. Lift upper buttock to expose the rectal area.
  7. Insert the suppository flat side first (not the tapered end pushing with your finger until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum, about 1/2 to 1 inch in infants and 1 inch in adults.) By inserting the flat end first retention and post insertion comfort is improved. If the suppository is not inserted past this sphincter muscle, the suppository may pop out (see below). The placing of the flat side first into the rectum triggers a reflex contraction of the rectal tissue that causes the suppository to be pulled up into the rectum where it is more comfortably retained.
  8. Hold buttocks together for a few seconds and you are finished!
  9. Discard used materials and wash your hands thoroughly. If you have used a latex glove, pull the glove inside out then discard. Remember, if you have problem with retaining the suppository, a simple strategy to insure retention is to lying down for about 5-15 minutes as this will help you retain the suppository.

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