Rectal (PR) medicine administration is not more available

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Medications administered per rectum (PR) are ideal for local or systemic treatment, as the rectal mucosa has a blood and lymph supply that is capable of effective systemic absorption. Our medical professional will administer the medicine following the correct procedure to ensure effective absorption. Our nurse will contact you to discuss your prescription and medicine supply. Medicines are not included in the price for service.


Drugs administered PR have a faster action than via the oral route and a higher bio-availability – that is, the amount of effective drug that is available is greater as it has not been influenced by upper gastrointestinal tract digestive processes. Rectal absorption results in more of the drug reaching the systemic circulation with less alteration on the route. As well as being a more effective route for delivering medication, rectal administration also reduces side-effects of some drugs, such as gastric irritation, nausea and vomiting.
Medication intended for rectal administration often comes in the form of a suppository or an enema. Suppositories (Fig 1a attached) are small, torpedo-shaped pellets that melt at body temperature, whereas enemas (Fig 1b, attached) are substances in a liquid form designed for rectal administration.


Suppositories and enemas are administered for a number of reasons including:
  • To evacuate the bowel before surgical intervention and other investigations – enemas and suppositories may be combined for this type of preparatory treatment and the patient may have to self-administer;
  • To help relieve constipation – a simple suppository formulation, such as glycerine, can soften stools and aid the passage of faeces. An enema may also be needed for cases that do not respond adequately to a suppository. This must be addressed with caution and the patient’s overall health will need to be considered before administration;
  • To introduce medications, such as sedation, respiratory treatments, analgesia, antibiotics – as long as the patient does not object to medicines via this route. For those who require multiple medications, PR administration may be inappropriate due to overloading the rectum at any one time;
  • To relieve and treat haemorrhoids or anal pruritus (itching) – many preparations soothe the mucosa and relieve symptoms of common anal disorders.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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