Suppositories – A Unique Dosage Form Gains Popularity



The pharmaceutical industry has devoted much effort to create new, complex, novel dosage forms in a quest to find easier, more reliable ways to administer medication to patients. The quest to improve patient experience on the journey to an improved quality of life has been noble. But it doesn’t have to be this complex. There is one novel dosage form that has withstood the test of time and stands apart from other novel dosage forms – suppositories.

A suppository is a dosage form that is inserted into the rectum (rectal suppository), vagina (vaginal suppository) or urethra (urethral suppository), where it dissolves or melts and is absorbed into the blood stream. Suppositories can deliver both systemically and locally acting medications and are a simple, proven way to effectively deliver
medicine. Its most prevalent use is in Europe and Japan.

Traditional dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, and syrups are often convenient and effective, however, they present challenges for some patients. For patients with a vomiting tendency, these oral medications can be vomited out, reducing or altogether eliminating the intended benefit. Similarly, drugs prone to causing stomach upset
are often better tolerated in suppository form.

Increased demand for suppositories as a dosage form presents a tangible opportunity for pharmaceutical companies today. As a large portion of the US population ages in the coming decades, there is enormous potential in this largely untapped market. A 2014 study found that “by offering an active ingredient solely as a tablet or capsule, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies ignore the needs of more than 50% of their target audience …”

This paper examines the suppository dosage form, challenges with traditional dosage forms, the coming increase in global demand, and finally, questions to ask when choosing a reliable partner for development and manufacturing.