Acetaminophen suppositories are used for reducing fevers and treating minor aches and pains. Children who have difficulty taking oral medications may find the suppositories helpful. This product, which is available over-the-counter (OTC), is generally inserted into the rectum every four to six hours as needed. Rare but possible side effects of the drug include ulcers or bleeding in the digestive tract, liver damage, and allergic reactions.
What Are Acetaminophen Suppositories?
Acetaminophen suppositories (Acephen™, FeverAll®) are available without a prescription and are used to treat fevers and minor aches and pains. They are a useful alternative to taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®) by mouth, especially in children who will not take medications by mouth or who are nauseated or vomiting.
(Click What Is Acetaminophen Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes Acetaminophen Suppositories?
Acephen is made by G&W Laboratories, and FeverAll is made by Actavis. A few different manufacturers make generic acetaminophen suppositories.
How Do They Work?
Even though acetaminophen has been around for quite a while, it is not fully understood exactly how it works. It is known that acetaminophen works differently from any other nonprescription medication. Most other nonprescription pain relievers or fever reducers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
Both NSAIDS and acetaminophen block the body's production of prostaglandins (naturally occurring chemicals that cause inflammation and fever). However, while NSAIDS block prostaglandin production throughout the body, acetaminophen appears to do so just in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Acetaminophen may also work by blocking pain signals from nerves or preventing such signals from forming in the first place.
Because acetaminophen is not related to aspirin, it can be safely used by children with chickenpox. Also, many children who are sensitive or allergic to aspirin can safely take acetaminophen.