Administration of a Rectal Suppository

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The rectal route is used when other routes are not appropriate. A suppository is a small torpedo shaped cylinder that dissolves at body temperature when administered rectally.

This route allows for faster absorption of the medication than the oral route, with a reduction in side effects associated with oral administration and gastro-intestinal irritation.

The rectal route can be both physically and psychosocially uncomfortable, so there is a need to educate the client on the procedure prior to administration.  Consider alternative forms of communication if there is a possibility that you may not be understood.

This route is used for the administration of:

  • Laxatives for constipation and as a part of a bowel preparation regime
  • Analgesia
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
  • Antibiotics

Clients who might require this route of administration include those who are:

  • Fasting
  • Receiving palliative care
  • Spinal cord injured
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