JUN 17, 2017 05:44 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
SEP 10, 2018
Videos
SEP 10, 2018
The Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp
What's the difference between Marijuana and Hemp? Watch the video below to find out exactly how they differ. Both hemp and marijuana belong to the same...
SEP 11, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 11, 2018
Chemistry in Your Cookies: Double Acting Baking Powders
If you are not an avid baker, you can easily mistake baking soda for baking powder.  Although both look white and powder-like, capable of releasing ca...
SEP 12, 2018
Videos
SEP 12, 2018
Are Sound Waves Being Weaponized?
There have been a lot of headlines recently about strange brain injuries to staff at US Embassies in Cuba and China. Several staff diplomats in the two cou...
OCT 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 05, 2018
Nuclear Reactor, Constructed by Nature
Uranium-235, making up about 0.72% of natural uranium on Earth, is a fissile isotope that fuels the nuclear chain reaction.  Back in 1972, staffs who...
OCT 10, 2018
Videos
OCT 10, 2018
Are Personality Tests Scientifically Accurate?
Personality tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and others are used to find out what a person is like, internally. They measure reac...
OCT 18, 2018
Videos
OCT 18, 2018
Tips on Bringing Stem Cells out of Deep Freeze
Once a subject of intense debate, stem cells have made their way into the research laboratory....
Loading Comments...