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What Are Vitamin Suppositories?

Vitamin suppositories.
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  • Written By: Tracey Parece
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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A suppository is a solid drug-delivery system that dissolves after being inserted into the body through the vagina, urethra, or rectum where its active ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamin suppositories are suppositories that deliver vitamins through the rich supply of blood vessels located in the rectum. They were first used in patients who had undergone gastric bypass surgery and were unable to adequately absorb vitamins from their diets. Vitamin suppositories are used as an alternative to intravenous administration of vitamins.

The shape of a vitamin suppository roughly resembles a bullet, rounded at one end and flat at the other end. It is generally composed of a solid vegetable oil base or cocoa butter infused with vitamins. Vitamin suppositories gradually dissolve as a result of the body's heat. The vitamins contained in the dissolved suppository are subsequently absorbed.

It is important to follow the directions provided by your doctor or pharmacist regarding the use of vitamin suppositories. They should be stored in a cool dark place prior to use according to their directions. People often find it more convenient to use them at bedtime to minimize leakage from the anus. It is also advisable to use vitamin suppositories after defecation rather than prior to it.

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In addition to patients who have had weight loss surgery, people may experience intestinal malabsorption due to various other factors. Some reasons why people may have difficulty absorbing vitamins from food include genetics, illness, and disease. Other reasons are treatments such as chemotherapy, medications like birth control pills, and poor nutrition. In these situations, vitamin suppositories may be used to deliver vitamins to the bloodstream via the rectum.

Vitamin suppositories may benefit individuals who have deficiencies in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, or Vitamin D. Other common vitamin deficiencies include biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, and trace minerals like chromium and zinc. These types of vitamins and minerals can be delivered rectally using suppositories.

In addition to vitamin suppositories, acetaminophen suppositories are also available for pain management. Laxative suppositories are also frequently used in patients who have difficulty voiding their bowels. Glycerin suppositories are common for the treatment and relief of mild to moderate constipation. Suppository use is sometimes prescribed when a patient cannot take medications orally. Some examples of when a person might be given medication rectally are when a patient is unconscious, vomiting, or is fed through a feeding tube.

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