JUN 17, 2017 5:44 AM PDT

What Happens After You Swallow a Pill?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

A study by the Mayo Clinic in 2013 found that 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug daily. Surprisingly, the most commonly prescribed drugs aren't related to chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, that most people would assume. Rather, Americans are taking a lot of antibiotics, followed by antidepressants, and then opioids.

Most of these medicines share a common route of administration - they are taken by mouth. But what happens once the drugs are swallowed?

From the mouth, some drug's target destination is the stomach, whereas others aim for the small intestines. Special coatings on the pill will either allow the drugs to be absorbed by the stomach lining or the lining of the small intestines. Either way, the medicines will enter the bloodstream at some point. Once in the circulatory system, the drug will be distributed to all tissues and organs.

Ever wondered why some pills have different frequency specifications? Watch the video to learn how the body deals with the medicine.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 28, 2019
Consider Skipping The Post-Workout Ice Bath
In an effort to get heart-healthy, many people have experienced the painful after-effects of an intense workout. Weather cardiovascular or strength trainin...
JAN 06, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 06, 2020
Every River Leap a Proboscis Monkey Makes Could be its Last
Leaves are one of the most essential components of a proboscis monkey’s diet, and in some cases, getting to the tastiest leaves means taking an enorm...
JAN 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 15, 2020
The "Normal" Body Temperature Has Decreased
Did you know that the standard human body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was established in 1868? A few modern studies have called this figure into...
JAN 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 22, 2020
Astronomers Have Found the Farthest Galaxy Group
An international team of astronomers funded in part by NASA has found the farthest galaxy group identified to date.  The trio of galaxies, called EGS7...
FEB 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 03, 2020
Watch a Polar Bear Mom Scare Off a Bully So Her Cubs Can Eat
Polar bears realize that food can be scarce at times, and that’s a problem considering just how much they like to eat. In many cases, they find food ...
FEB 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 16, 2020
ISS Poised to Receive Fresh Supplies by Tuesday
Life on the International Space Station isn’t quite as convenient as it is for the rest of us here on Earth. With no convenient restaurants or conven...
Loading Comments...