SEP 18, 2022 5:32 PM PDT

The Best Posture to Swallow a Pill

WRITTEN BY: Hannah Daniel

Scientists say that lying on the right side is the quickest way to dissolve a pill.

The research was published in Physics of Fluids on August 9th, 2022. Body posture can affect how quickly a pill dissolves, and researchers led by Jae Ho Lee at Johns Hopkins University found that the best posture is lying on your right side, even compared to an upright position.

Most pills don’t begin to work until they reach the intestine, so the quicker the pill can reach the bottom of the stomach or the antrum, the more quickly it will dissolve. The stomach is asymmetrical, so different postures will affect how it sits in the stomach. Using a stomach model called the StomachSim, the researchers found that lying on the right side pushes the pill to the antrum more quickly.

The simulation showed that pills broke down 2.3 times faster than when they were taken in an upright position. This process is known as dissolution.

Lying on the left side was the worst, sometimes taking ten times longer to dissolve.

Standing upright and lying straight back are the next best postures, with dissolution times approximately equal.

This research is essential for people with stomachs that don’t function at 100% capacity, for instance, due to gastroparesis or partial paralysis of the stomach from diseases like Parkinson’s or diabetes. People with those diseases have to take pills and being able to absorb medicine more effectively will help many people get the treatment they need more quickly.

In the future team wants to study the effect of posture on food digestion in addition to pill dissolution to aid people whose stomachs need help functioning.

Sources: Physics of Fluids, SciTech Daily

About the Author
BS Biology
Hannah Daniel (she/they) is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an additional minor in Creative Writing. Currently, she works as a reporter for Informa Intelligence's Medtech Insight publication, a business newsletter detailing the latest innovations and regulations in the medical device industry.
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