How Long Does It Take For a Pill to Digest – Read What Experts Say!

Usually, our body fights against most of the germs attacking our body. The main army or germ-killing structure in our body are white blood cells. But sometimes, our body does not produce enough white blood cells to kill germs. 

That is why doctors suggest we take pills or medicines. These pills take some time to be digested in our body, and after their assimilation, they start functioning. 

How Long Does It Take For A Pill To Digest? 

It takes almost half an hour or fifteen minutes to two hours to digest a pill. But it depends on the nature of medicine and body conditions. It may be a chewable pill, a capsule, or medicine to swallow with water or milk. 

Let us explain how much time is required to assimilate pills into the human body.

What Is a Pill

What Is a Pill

A pill is a round or some other shape solid mass of medicine used for treating disease and increasing the body’s immunity. Tablets and capsules are primarily taken orally. And, they begin working as soon as they enter the body.

How Does Pill Start Its Function:

You must be curious about how are pills digested. Here’s how medicines get absorbed. 

When the human body metabolizes a drug, unique organs process the components before they are finally released into the bloodstream. These are only a handful of the many variables that make medication absorption and metabolism so unique. The majority of pills are taken by mouth and may be broken down into little fragments within the gastrointestinal tract.

Once the drug arrives, it is broken down by stomach acids earlier than it passes through the liver, after which it enters the bloodstream. Some of the specific types of pills may also stay in the bloodstream longer – all of it relies upon the dosage and type of drug consumed.

While the procedure may also sound simple, different pills dissolve at different rates, breakdowns differently – and everybody’s body metabolizes medicine uniquely. 

How Long Does It Take For a Pill to Absorb

How Long Does It Take For a Pill to Digest

Time taken by pills to dissolve and become metabolized in our body is distributed according to the type of pill. 

After consuming the pill, the enzymes of our stomach act on them. About 90% of the tablet is digested only in thirty minutes to an hour. This is due to the fact that the tablet needs time to cross into the bloodstream and reach the appropriate part of the body. 

Let us discuss some types of pills and the time required for their absorption:

Orodispersible (Quick Dissolve Tablets): 

Orodispersible pills are solid unit dosage forms like traditional pills. They are composed of brilliant disintegrants, which assist them in dissolving the pills within a minute inside the mouth in the presence of saliva with no difficulty in swallowing the bitter pill.

Such pills are placed under the tongue or present in our mouth. And when dissolved in the mouth, they are transferred to blood directly from the membranes of our mouth. It takes less than a minute for such a pill to dissolve, but once it is dissolved. It starts performing its function rapidly.

Painkillers:

Pain killers are tablets that are taken in the body orally. These tablets are transported to the stomach by a food pipe and are mostly dissolved there. Such a type of pill only requires 30 minutes to dissolve and start its action.

Pills like ibuprofen and paracetamol etc., take only 30 minutes to dissolve.

Capsules:

So, how long do capsules take to dissolve? 

A capsule is a shell or a container-like structure minimal in size, just like a pill. This shell is made up of gelatin and contains medicine inside it. Only those medications are given in the form of capsules which cannot be molded into a pill. 

When the capsule is taken into the body, it reaches the stomach, and after getting the stomach, the tablet is opened by itself due to the motion of the smooth muscles of the abdomen. The medicine inside it is dissolved and ready for action in just about thirty minutes.

Factors Affecting The Time Required For Dissolving Pill

how long does it take for a pill to dissolve

The dissolving of pills is related to metabolism, which plays an essential role in keeping the body healthy.

The factors related to the sensitivity of how long does it take medicine to absorb are:

Age:

With the increase of age, the metabolic rate decreases slowly. Metabolism of the body is one of the important factors for drug absorption. 

So, with age, drug absorption decreases. 

Weight:

Both overweight and underweight affect drug metabolism. Having a perfect BMI will help you with good absorption of drugs. 

So, consider maintaining a healthy weight. 

Gender:

The metabolic rate is different in both males and females. But the difference is not huge. Hence, generally, this variation is not noticed much. 

Stress Level:

High-stress levels may stop the digestion in our body. So stress may cause a delay in the digestion of medicine.

The other factors are:

  • The pH of the stomach
  • Other medicines taken
  • Physical activity

How Can Be a Pill Dissolved In Less Time And In a Better Way?

how long does it take to digest pills

It is important to understand that certain factors affecting the digestion of pills are beyond your control. For example, you cannot change gender or stop your age. 

But following measures will help the tablet to dissolve faster in your body:

  • Exercising daily increases your metabolic rate, which means everything, including pills in your stomach, is digested more quickly when you exercise.
  • Maintaining the pH of the stomach. Pepsin is present in the stomach, and hydrochloric acid helps pepsin. For good digestion, pH should be low in the stomach so that pepsin will perform its function. 
  • Under stress, the body releases epinephrine, which temporarily stops the stomach from working. So the longer your body takes stress your pill will not be digested. Avoid stress; therefore, tablets will dissolve properly.
  • Maintaining your body weight is also one of the factors. Doing exercise may help you to maintain weight.

More Questions?

How long does it take for a medicine to dissolve?

A medicine takes about half an hour to two hours to dig into our stomach. Because pills are only digested in the stomach, and some are dissolved in the mouth. So it depends on which medicine you are taking. The time taken for medicine to dissolve in the stomach is 30 minutes.

How to absorb medication better?

Chewable tablets are digested and assimilated the same way you digest chewable food, and orodispersible tablets are digested and assimilated like candy. But those pills outlined in our stomach get absorbed better by a healthy person. So proper exercise, average weight, and less stress level will help you dissolve the pill faster, easier, and in a better way.

What is the proper way to take medicine?

Read the precautionary measures provided on the back of the tablet package. So only take the dose according to the doctor’s prescription. And if you are taking medicine for more than one day, then try to take medication each day simultaneously. It will help the drug digest appropriately.

Can two different types of medicines be taken simultaneously?

You can take two different medicines into your body only if the doctor prescribes it. When one medicine impacts the way another medicine works, this is known as a drug interaction. When two drugs are used together, for example, they may become stronger or vice versa.

Final Verdict

It’s a general question how long does it take for a pill to digest? The answer is straightforward. Outlining takes from half an hour to two hours on average, however, it varies depending on the type of the medicine. 

The nature of treatment is not as essential as the condition during which medicine is taken in our body. So if your body is facing some stress or you are aged, it will take more than 30 minutes to dissolve a pill in your body. But if you are healthy and fit, pills are dissolved readily for acting.

Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Omair is a skilled medical doctor with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Baqai Medical University. In 2018, he completed a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management with distinction from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. With 9 years of clinical and non-clinical experience, Dr. Omair has gained hands-on experience and extensive knowledge in the medical field. He is currently working in a multinational healthcare organization in Saudi Arabia where his primary responsibility is to train doctors, pharmacists, and nurses about the most updated clinical guidelines as well as conduct case discussions with various specialties to ensure patient safety and satisfaction. Dr. Omair is also an exceptional medical reviewer with expertise in the field of healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition as well as medical insurance. He has years of experience in writing and reviewing medical articles.

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