What is Preparation H?
Preparation H products are medications used to temporarily relieve swelling, burning, pain, and itching caused by hemorrhoids also called piles. Hemorrhoids can develop inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids). Nearly three out of four adults will have hemorrhoids from time to time.
Preparation H is all about getting your butt feeling comfortable again. Preparation H products are formulated to protect, soothe, and relieve pain and irritation, mild or severe, day or night. Preparation H is available as cream and ointment and suppositories.
How does Preparation H work?
Preparation H contains phenylephrine, which belongs to a class of drugs known as sympathomimetic amines. It works by temporarily narrowing the blood vessels in the area. This effect decreases swelling and discomfort. Some products may also contain substances (such as cocoa butter, hard fat, mineral oil, shark liver oil) that form a protective barrier to prevent too much irritating contact with stool.
How do you use preparation H cream and ointment?
Preparation H is an over-the-counter product available at most pharmacies. Do not use this product without consulting your physician if:
• You have underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or problems with passing urine because of an enlarged prostate.
• You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
• You are on medications for depression.
• You are younger than 12 years.
Here is how to apply Preparation H for external hemorrhoids:
• Clean the affected area gently using a cleansing wipe.
• Pat dry the area using a soft cloth or tissue.
• Open the tube and apply the contents generously to the lower portion of the anus.
• You may apply the ointment up to four times a day, especially at night, in the morning, or following a bowel movement that may exacerbate hemorrhoid symptoms.
• For applying in the lower anal canal, remove the cover from dispensing cap and attach the dispensing cap to the tube.
• Lubricate the dispensing cap well and gently insert it partly into the anus.
• After each use, clean the applicator tip well and replace the protective cover.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not use it more often or for a longer time than recommended.
If symptoms do not improve within 7 days, if bleeding/worsening pain occurs, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, consult your doctor promptly.
How to use Preparation H Suppositories
Preparation H Suppositories work immediately to protect against further irritation. When used properly, Preparation H Suppositories can also shrink swollen hemorrhoidal tissue and provide day or nighttime relief from burning pain, itching, and discomfort.
Adults: when practical, cleanse the affected area by patting or blotting with an appropriate cleansing wipe. Gently dry by patting or blotting with a tissue or a soft cloth before insertion of this product. According to the manufacturer, you should insert one suppository into the rectum up to 4 times daily, especially at night, in the morning, and after each bowel movement.
To Insert a Suppository:
- Wash your hands before and after. Try to empty your bowel and bladder just before inserting the suppository.
- Remove the outer wrapper from the suppository before inserting it. Avoid handling the suppository too long or it will melt in your hands.
- Lie on your side with your lower leg straightened out and your upper leg bent forward toward your stomach. Lift upper buttock to expose the rectal area.
- Insert one suppository, pointed end first, with your finger until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum, about 1 inch in adults (If not inserted past the sphincter, the suppository may pop out).
- Hold buttocks together for five seconds.
- For best results from the suppository, remain lying down for five minutes to avoid having the suppository come out.
- The suppository will melt quickly once inserted and you should feel little or no discomfort while holding it in.
- Avoid having a bowel movement for one to three hours after inserting the suppository.
For children under 12 years of age, consult a doctor. Please read the package for product warnings and complete labeling information.
Preparation H side effects
Common side effects of Preparation H may include:
• Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)
• Loss of appetite
• Feeling restless or excited (especially in children).
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Preparation H may cause serious side effects. Stop using Preparation H and call your doctor at once if you have:
• Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
• Severe dizziness or nervousness
• Sleep problems (insomnia)
• Increased blood pressure–severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What may interact with Preparation H?
Do not use Preparation H with any of the following medications:
• Dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergoloid mesylates, methysergide, or ergot-type medication
• MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
• Other stimulant medicines
Preparation H may also interact with the following medications:
• Medicines for blood pressure
• Medicines for mental depression
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.