US 3667465 A
An applicator tube and suppository combination is disclosed having a shape and structure such as to permit easy and accurate insertion in a body cavity, such as the rectum, with the applicator comprising a two piece telescoping tubular member for easy ejection of the suppository from the applicator after initial insertion is accomplished. The telescoping tubular members are provided with mating ring configurations which serve to lock the tubular elements in a particular juxtaposition to be maintained prior to use, with the rings being releasable from each other under slight pressure and thereafter serving as guides ans the tubular members are telescoped, one into the other. A novel suppository configuration and means for latching the suppository in place in the applicator prior to use, are also disclosed.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
ilnited States Patent Voss [541 APPLICATOR TUBES FOR SUPPOSITORIES AND THE LIKE  Field of Search...
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,722,218 11/1955 Mittleman ..128/264 X 3,347,234 10/1967 Voss ..l28/263 X 3,429,312 2/1969 Stump 128/263 1 June 6, 1972 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 956,679 4/ 1964 Great Britain 128/271 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-J. H. Wolff Attorney-Fraser and Bogucki 57] ABSTRACT An applicator tube and suppository combination is disclosed having a shape and structure such as to permit easy and accurate insertion in a body cavity, such as the rectum, with the applicator comprising a two piece telescoping tubular member for easy ejection of the suppository from the applicator after initial insertion is accomplished. The telescoping tubular members are provided with mating ring configurations which serve to lock the tubular elements in a particular juxtaposition to be maintained prior to use, with the rings being releasable from each other under slight pressure and thereafter serving as guides ans the tubular members are telescoped, one into the other. A novel suppository configuration and means for latching the suppository in place in the applicator prior to use, are also disclosed.
17 Claims, Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUN 619? 3,667,465
sum 10F 3 FIG. I
INVENTOR JOSEPH A. VOSS BY FRnsen and BoGu ATTORNEYS FIG.2
PATEE'NEQJUH 6 m2 SHEET 2 OF 3 ATTORNEYS SHEET 3 0F 3 INVENTOR JOSEPH A. V058 FRASER Muck! ATTORNEYS APPLICATOR TUBES FOR SUPPOSITORIES AND THE LIKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to suppository applicators, and more particularly to such applicators having a telescoping inner tube or plunger for assisting-in the insertion of the suppository.
2. Description of the Prior Art Suppositories, particularly of the medicated type, are commonly used in the administration of particular types of medication to young children and animals when the administration of the medication in some other manner is particularly difficult or perhaps impossible. While such suppositories are in common use, most often in the form of rectal suppositories, the use of the suppositories is not without certain dangers. The administration by hand is a rather difficult and, to some, distasteful procedure with the likelihood of unpleasantness to the patient, if not actual pain or possible injury. The tissues of the anal opening, particularly in small children, are very delicate and because of the size of the opening involved the suppositories used must necessarily be small and are therefore difficult to administer.
There are instruments constructed specifically for the administration of suppositories. One such instrument comprises an outer tubular member with a tapered nose and enlarged encircling portion partway back from the tip to delineate the extent of insertion of the instrument. In use, the instrument is loaded by inserting a suppository from the rearward end of the tubular member, after which a plunger is inserted through the same opening to ram the suppository forward toward the tip end of the tubular member. The tubular member is then inserted in the body opening to the .extent permitted by the encircling ring, and the plunger is pushed to eject the suppository through the narrow tip of the instrument into the body opening. Such an instrument is not the type that is likely to be kept outside of a medical facility. The use of the instrument requires a somewhat messy and tedious preparation of loading the instrument with the suppository prior to administration. The instrument must also'be cleansed and sterilized after each use which further inhibits its general acceptance outside of institutional usage. i
A preferable product for this purpose is one which is compatible with modern packaging and marketing practices, wherein the unit may be prefabricated and packaged in a form which is ready to use, but which may be marketed and stored in a sterile package until it is actually needed for use. After one application, it is desirable to be able to discard the unit without the need for cleansing it for re-use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In brief, the invention involves the use of a pair of telescoping hollow tubes, one slideable inside the other, having a particular mating configuration such that they may be locked together in one position which permits the storage of a prepackaged suppository in the forward portion of the outer tube without danger of premature ejection during normal handling during shipping, marketing, and preparation for administration. The locking arrangement is preferably in the form of projections located on the outer surface of the inner tube with mating projections extending inwardly from the inner surface of the outer tube. In a particular juxtaposition of the two tubes, these projections engage each other and serve to lock the tubes in that position. As force is applied tending to telescope the tubes, the locking arrangement becomes disengaged because of the resilient structure of the tubular members, the projections thereafter acting as guides within the outer tube as the inner plunger telescoped therein.
The suppository, which is packaged and shipped positioned within the forward portion of the outer tubular member in preparation for administration, is preferably bullet-nosed in the shape of its forward end with a shoulder bearing against inwardly directed portions formed in the forward end of the outer applicator tube. The bullet-shaped nose, which projects from the forward end of the outer tube, has an overall diameter approximating that of the outer tube so that an essentially smooth, continuous exterior is provided having a contour facilitating insertion. The inwardly directed portions of the tube may take the form of flange means. Rearward of this shoulder, the suppository is recessed and then increases in diameter again, with the circular recess serving to provide a retention surface for the flange means. The suppository is of a yieldable material and the flange means is sufficiently resilient to permit the passage of the rearward portion of the suppository past the flange means during ejection from the applicator by the application of force driving the inner tube forward. In one particular arrangement in accordance with the invention, the forward end of the outer applicator tube is slotted to define circumferentially spaced segments in order to provide further resilience so that the suppository may be easily ejected from the applicator.
In one particular arrangement in accordance with the invention, the projections extending outwardly from the surface of the inner tube comprise molded projecting rings encircling the inner tube. The rings are located near the forward end of the inner tube and are spaced so as to engage a continuous ring on the inside of the outer tube when the inner tube is retracted rearwardly from the outer tube slightly more than half of its length. In this arrangement, the rearward end of the outer tube may also be provided with an inwardly extending ring portion to serve as a guide as the inner tube is telescoped into the outer tube, thus assisting in reducing the friction by eliminating contact with the major surfaces of the adjacent walls of the two tubes.
In another particular arrangement in accordance with the invention, the combination locking and guide rings projecting outwardly from the inner tube are positioned approximately mid-way of the length of the inner tube with a plurality of tabs projecting inwardly at the rearward end opening of the outer tube. This tab and ring combination serves to lock the two tubes in position when the inner tube is retracted rearwardly approximately half of its length out of the outer tube; that is to say, in the position at which the associated suppository may be inserted and stored. The rings and tabs also serve as guide elements as the two tubes are being telescoped together during the injection of the suppository by eliminating frictional contact between the adjacent surfaces of the two tubes. An additional guide ring may be provided near the forward end of the inner tube and projecting outwardly therefrom to bear against the walls of the outer tube as the tubes are being telescoped.
The combination guide and locking rings extending inwardly from the outer tube also provide reinforcing and stiffening of the outer tube against radially inward forces encountered during normal application, thus advantageously permitting the use of thinner, lighter materials for the tube.
Preferably the outer tube is' fabricated of a thin-walled plastic material which is flexible enough to allow the locking elements to disengage when pressure is applied to the inner plunger. The plastic should be finished with a smooth outer surface so as to present a minimum of friction when the applicator is being used to administer its enclosed suppository. The inner tube may be fabricated of similar material and finish, but is preferably formed with a stiffer wall than the outside tube because of its slightly lesser dimensions and to withstand the forces normally applied to it during use. It will be appreciated that the combination locking and guide rings which have been thus described serve to strengthen the tubular structures by adding reinforcement to assist in withstanding the radial forces normally applied in the use of the applicator.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A better understanding of the present invention may be had from a consideration of the following detailed description,
taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a suppository-applicator combination in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a package for shipping and marketing devices in accordance with the invention, in which the device of FIG. 1 is shown in dashed outline contained therein;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view, partially in cross-section, of one particular arrangement in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 3 as seen along the plane 3A-3A;
FIG. 3B is a side elevation view of the device of FIG. 3 showing it in the partially ejected position;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elevation view, partially in cross-section, of the device represented in FIG. 3, showing it in the fully ejected position;
FIG. 5 is a side elevation view, partially in cross-section, showing another particular arrangement in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 6 is an end view of the outer member of the arrangement shown in FIG. 5, taken along the plane 6-6 and with the inner member omitted therefrom; and
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side elevation view, partially in cross-section, of the device of FIG. 5, shown in the ejected position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION As shown in FIG. 1, a suppository-applicator combination 10 in accordance with the invention comprises an outer tubular member 12 and an inner tubular member 14 positioned for telescoping engagement, one within the other. The tubular member 14 has a tapering forward end 15 (FIG. 3). A suppository 16 is shown protruding from the left-hand or forward end of the outer tubular member 12. A preferred configuration of the suppository 16 is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 3 and 5. As indicated in FIG. 1, the outer tubular member 12 is provided with a plurality of longitudinally extending slots 18 near its forward end adjacent the protruding portion of the suppository 16 thereby defining a number of circumferentially spaced segments 19 about the forward portion of the tube 12.
FIG. 2 shows the device of FIG. 1 in phantom outline within a packaging container 20 for facility in handling and for maintaining the suppository 16 in protected and sterile condition from fabrication to ultimate use. The packaging container is preferably a foil vacuum pack which may comprise top and bottom sheets of approximately 3-mil foil sealed at the edges to provide an airtight package. Near one end a notch 22 is provided for ease of opening.
FIGS. 3, 3A, 3B and 4 illustrate one particular arrangement in accordance with the invention, FIGS. 3 and 3A showing the combination with the suppository 16 inserted within the outer tubular member 12 in the configuration in which is maintained during shipping and handling prior to actual administration. FIGS. 38 and 4 show the same arrangement with the suppository 16 partially and fully ejected respectively, by means of the inner tubular member 14 which is telescoped within the outer tubular member 12. FIG. 3 illustrates the locking and guiding means employed in this particular arrangement in accordance with the invention, shown as comprising a first inner ring or protuberance 32 projecting inwardly from the interior surface of the outer telescoping member 12 for engagement with a pair of outer rings or protuberances 34 extending outwardly from the inner tube of the member 14. A second interior ring or protuberance 36 also projects inwardly from the outer tubular member 12 at the right-hand or rearward end thereof and is provided for use as a guide for the inner tubular member 14 during its telescoping motion within the outer tubular member 12. The left-hand or forward end of the outer tubular member 12 also terminates in an inwardly directed portion 38 defining a forward end opening of reduced diameter.
The suppository 16 is shown in FIG. 3 as being formed in a shape having a forward, bullet-shaped nose, followed by a reduced neck portion 39, the rear face 39a of which tapers outwardly to define the remaining body 40 of the suppository of somewhat enlarged diameter, greater than the internal diameter of the inwardly directed or flange 38. The suppository 16 terminates in a tapering end with a rearward planar surface 42 suitable for abutting engagement by the forward surface of the end 15 of the inner member 14 during ejection. The tapered rear end of the suppository facilitates insertion of the suppository into the applicator tube from the front, thereby eliminating the necessity of sliding the suppository the full length of the tube which might scratch or otherwise mar the front end of the suppository.
It will be noted that the essentially mating configuration of the neck portion 39 of the suppository l6 and the inwardly directed portions 38 of the segments 19 serve to maintain the suppository l6 encased within the outer tubular member 12 until application. Similarly the rings 32 and 34 are in releasably engaging juxtaposition, serving to maintain the axial relationship of the inner and outer tubular members 12 fixed during shipping and handling under normal conditions. When it is desired to administer the suppository 16, the inner tubular member or plunger 14 is moved forwardly in telescoping relation within the outer tubular member 12 by the application of sufficient force to overcome the locking engagement of the rings 32 and 34, and to eject the suppository 16. Prior to application of the device in this manner, the suppository applicator combination 10 will have been inserted into the body opening. To facilitate this operation, the nose 17 of the suppository 16 is provided with a bullet-nose shape and may also be provided with a light lubrication for ease of entry. This lubrication may be included within the pack 20 at the time of packaging, if desired. The outer and inner tubular members 12 and 14 are preferably fashioned of thin-walled plastic which is flexible enough to allow the locking rings 32 and 34 to disengage when slight pressure is applied to the inner plunger 14. As an alternative, with slight modification, either or both of the tubes 12 and 14 can be constructed of a thin, relatively hard paper which offers the advantage of being toilet-disposable. Moreover, the construction of the segmented forward end of the outer tubular member 12 as defined by the longitudinal slots 18 and the resilient thin plastic wall is such that the forward portion of the tube 12 is yieldable outwardly, as best shown in FIG. 3B, to permit the ejection of the suppository 16 as the tube 14 is pushed forward to telescope within the outer tubular member 12. The width and length of the slots 18 will determine the flexibility of the segments 19 for a given material, wider and/or longer slots increasing the flexibility. In any event, the slots 18 should be wide enough to avoid pinching the tissues of the body cavity into which the applicator is inserted when the segments return to their original position after ejection of the suppository.
As may be seen in FIG. 4, the rings 32, 34 and 36 serve as guides bearing against the opposed surfaces of the outer tube 12 and the inner tube 14 as the tube 14 is telescoped forwardly within the outer tube 12. It will also be noted that the outer tubular member 12 is provided with an outer flange 44 opposite the inner flange 36 at the rearward end thereof, and a similar flange 46 is provided at the rearward end of the tube 14 to facilitate the manual manipulation of the telescoping tubular members 12 and 14 during administration of the suppository 16.
FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 depict another particular arrangement in accordance with the invention, similar in general construction to that shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, but having a slightly different construction of the locking guide mechanism. In this arrangement, the pair of outer rings 34 extending outwardly from the inner tube 14 is positioned approximately midway along the longitudinal extent of the tube 14 at a point opposite the rearward end of the outer tubular member 12 when the tube 14 is in the extended position. Instead of an inner guide flange 36 at the rearward end of the outer tubular member 12, a number of circumferentially spaced, inwardly projecting tabs 52, best shown in FIG. 6, are provided for locking engagement with the continuous rings 34 on the outside of the inner tube 14. A forward guide ring 54 is provided on the exterior surface of the inner tubular member 14 to cooperate with the rings 34 and the tabs 52 to guide the two members with minimized friction ,as the inner tube 14 is being advanced into the outer tube 12 during ejection of the suppository 16.
By means of the arrangements in accordance with the invention shown'in the accompanying drawings and described hereinabove, a particular improvement with respect to a suppository and applicator combination is provided. By virtue of these arrangements, a unitary combination is achieved which is relatively simple and economical enough to fabricate and market in a manner such as to be of interest to the general public having need for such a device. The unitary configuration admits of a low cost and easily marketable packaging arrangement which serves to protect and maintain the desired sterile condition of the combination until the package is opened for use of the contained device. Administration of the suppository may then be performed in a simple, safe and easy manner which is made possible by the described structure which permits insertion of the combination implement and injection of the suppository in a single motion. The construction of the combination guide and locking mechanism serves to prevent a binding of the two telescoping members during administration, both by virtue of the guiding rings which reduce the friction between the members and also because of the reinforcement provided to the respective tubular members by the guide rings which prevent the onetube from collapsing or distorting diametrically relative to the other. Once used in the fashion intended, the applicator portion may be discarded, the manner of fabrication and the material employed being sufiiciently low in cost as not to justify saving it for reuse, thereby I eliminating a particularly distasteful task of cleaning the implement with the attendant risk of bacterial infection from possible failure of adequate sterilization.
Although there have been described above particular arrangements of a suppository applicator tube in accordance with the invention for the purpose of illustrating the manner in i which the invention may be used to advantage, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited thereto. Ac-' cordingly, any and all modifications, variations or equivalent arrangements which may occur to those skilled in the art should be considered tov be within the scope of the invention. For example, it will be obvious that the applicator arrangement and suppository configuration of the present invention is equally applicable to vaginal tampons made of absorbent sponge or compressed, absorbent cellulosic material or the like, and utilized for catamenial or medicinal purposes. To aid in insertion of the tampon, the forward portion thereof projecting from the applicator may be coated with a water soluble lubricant. 1
What is claimed is:
' l. A suppository and applicator combination comprising:
a multi-element applicator having an outer tubular member and an inner tubular member in telescoping relationship, said outer tubularmember having a forward end and a forward portion, said forward portion having a plurality of longitudinally oriented slots extending to said forward end to define circumferentially spaced flexible segments, the forward ends of said segments having inwardly directed flanges;
a suppository partially enclosed in one end of the outer tubular member in a position such as to be ejected upon the telescoping of the inner tubular member into the outer tubular member, said suppository including abullet-nosed forward portion projecting from said forward end of said outer tubular member, a cylindrically shaped rear portion disposed within said forward portion of said outer tubular member, and a reduced diameter neck portion interconnecting said forward and rear portions of said suppository, said flanges engaging said neck portion and said segmented forward portion of said outer tubular member facilitating ejection of said suppository by spreading said flexible segments; and
a latching mechanism for releasably affixing the inner tubular member in a withdrawn position relative to the outer tubular member.
2. A suppository and applicator combination is accordance with claim 1 wherein the latching mechanism is subject to release for telescoping relative movement of the two tubular members upon the application of finger pressure against the mechanism.
3. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 2 wherein the latching mechanism comprises a first protuberance extending outwardly from the inner tubular member and a second protuberance extending inwardly from the outer tubular member to engage each other at a particular relative position of the two tubular members.
4. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 3 wherein the material comprising at least one of said protuberances is sufficiently resilient to permit one protuberance to move past the other protuberance upon the application of telescoping force applied to the tubular members.
5. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 4 wherein the protuberances comprise rings respectively encircling the inner tubular member and projecting inwardly from the interior surface of the outer tubular member for guiding the movement of the inner tubular member within the outer tubular member in the ejection of the suppository therefrom.
6. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 5 further including a guide ring encircling the inner tubular member at a point remote from said protuberance thereon.
7. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 4 wherein the protuberances comprise respectively a pair of rings encircling the inner tubular member and a plurality of tabs projecting inwardly from the outer tubular member, the rings of the inner tubular member serving to guide the movement of the inner tubular member in the outer tubular member in ejecting the suppository.
8. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 6 wherein at least one of said rings is positioned at a point of likely application of pressure during the use of the combination in ejecting the suppository therefrom.
9. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 6 wherein said tabs are positioned at the rearward end of the outer tubular member.
10. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 9 wherein the outer tubular member is provided with an outwardly extending flange and the inner tubular member is provided with a substantially flat face across its rearward end to facilitate the manual manipulation of the applicator in administering the suppository.
1 1. A suppository, and applicator combination in accordance with claim 1 wherein the outer tubular member is fabricated of a thin-walled resilient plastic material sufficiently flexible at the slotted forward end to permit the ejection of the suppository therefrom.
12. A suppository and applicator combination in accordance with claim 1 wherein said reduced diameter neck portion and said cylindrically shaped rear portion of said suppository are joined by an outwardly tapering surface further facilitating ejection of said suppository.
13. An applicator for carrying a self-contained item such as a suppository or the like and for administering said item comprising:
an outer tubular member having a longitudinal, central axis and a flexible, resilient forward end with a reduced I diameter, flanged opening for retaining said item in a fixed position therein while permitting the ejection of said item upon the application of force sufiicient to spread said resilient forward opening, said resilient forward end comprising a plurality of" circumferentially spaced segments defined by narrow, longitudinally extending slots, the forward extremities of said segments having inwardly directed flanges lying substantially in a plane transverse to said central axis, said flanges being adapted to engage said item, said segments being adapted to move apart upon expulsion of said item from said applicator;
n inner tubular member positioned in telescoping relationship within the outer tubular member; and
ombination latching and guide means for releasably locking the two tubular members in a fixed relative position and for guiding the movement of the inner tubular member into the-outer tubular member when released from the locked position.
4. An applicator in accordance with claim 13 wherein said ibination latching and guide means comprises at least one tuberance projecting outwardly from the inner tubular member and at least one protuberance extending inwardly from the outer tubular member for engagement theretggt ween in the locked position. v
15. An applicator in accordance with claim 14 wherein the combination latchingand guide means comprises a pair of a