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Definition, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages of Suppositories

Definition, Rectal suppositories, Vaginal suppositories, Urethral suppositories, Nasal suppositories, Ear suppositories, Tablet suppositories etc.


Suppléments are semi-solid dosage forms used to deliver drugs to the body by inserting them into hollow areas (like the rectum, vagina, etc.) and melting at those points to perform the therapeutic effect.

In patients with constipation, suppositories are extremely useful. Suppositories that work as laxatives include bisacodyl suppositories and glycerine suppositories, among others. Hemorrhoids and piles patients can benefit greatly from rectal suppositories. The sensation of swelling and discomfort is reduced. Fungal infections within the vagina and urethra benefit from suppositories. Drugs such as clotrimazole and miconazole are used.

The materials that are used in suppository bases retain their shape and solidity. Polyethylene glycol, Theobroma oil, glycerogelatin, and others are just a few examples of bases.

Bases for suppositories can be divided into three general categories. The three main types are mentioned below:

1. Oleaginous bases or oily bases
Examples – Cocoa butter, hydrogenated oils

2. Hydrophilic bases or water-soluble bases
Examples – polyethylene glycol, gelatine bases

3. Emulsifying or synthetic bases
Examples – witepsol, Massa stadium, mass pool


Based on how they are administered, there are 5 types of suppositories
  1. Rectal suppositories
  2. Vaginal suppositories
  3. Urethral suppositories
  4. Nasal suppositories
  5. Ear suppositories
In addition to suppositories, there are 4 types of other dosage forms available

1. Tablet suppositories

In the same manner as tablets, suppositories are prepared using the compression method. They can be taken orally and vaginally.

2. Layered suppositories

The different drugs are layered in separate layers in layered suppositories to avoid incompatibilities between them.

3. Coated suppositories

They are coated with polyethylene glycol, polyunsaturated fatty acids, etc. for lubrication.

4. Capsule suppositories

They are coated with polyethylene glycol, polyunsaturated fatty acids, etc. for lubrication. Their contents include solids, semisolids, and liquid medications.


1. Administration of oral drugs:

  • Ensure first-pass metabolism is avoided
  • They help to introduce the drug into the body
  • Due to the lack of gastric irritation, no nausea or vomiting occurs with oral administration
  • since it is not allowed to be used before surgery
  • Patients suffering from severe vomiting can benefit from this medication
  • Unconscious patients may also be administered these drugs
  • Can be used to deliver drugs specifically
  • It also helps to deliver drugs across a restricted area with reduced systemic effects
  • Reduce systemic toxicity by delivering the drug to the target site of action in a lower dose
  • Very helpful for hemorrhoids and vaginal infections
  • Effective long-term treatment

2. Drug administration via parenteral routes:

  • Medication administered to oneself
  • does not produce systemic side effects
  • or pain associated with the medication

3. For use over vaginal tablets:

  • Suppositories dissolve more quickly
  • resulting in greater bioavailability
  • No residue left behind like with tablets
  • The applicator is not needed
  • itch-free
  • Stain-free


  1. Some patients experience irritation from it.
  2. Other patients may feel embarrassed. The major disadvantage of suppository dosage forms is that patients find them uncomfortable taking the drug through their skin, so they aren't used as often as oral dosage forms.
  3. The preparation is more complicated than for tablets and liquids. In comparison to the manufacturing process of solid dosage forms, suppository manufacture is difficult.
  4. Low temperatures are needed for storage. To prevent liquefaction of the base, some types of suppositories require special storage conditions, including refrigerators.
  5. There are very few drugs whose delivery can be affected by this type of dosage form.
  6. Some pediatric patients and older adults have difficulty self-medicating and are reluctant to take medications.
  7. When the mucous membrane is irritated, suppositories are no longer an effective method of administering medication.
  8. Medications can be affected by diarrhea as well as other diseases.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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