Doctors know a thing or two about digesting medicine. After all, they’ve spent years studying how the human body reacts to different kinds of drugs and supplements. You might assume that doctors would be able to easily answer questions about how long it takes for the human body to digest different types of medication. However, these professionals are just as guarded when it comes to revealing trade secrets as any other individual with insider knowledge. In truth, virtually every doctor we talked to for this article either wouldn’t answer our questions directly or hedged their answers with so many caveats and double negatives that you probably wouldn’t have understood what they meant if you hadn’t been listening closely. However, after much prodding and follow-up questions, we managed to extract some useful information from these medical professionals. Here are the details on how long it takes for different types of medication to digest.
How Long Does It Take For Medicine To Digest
1. Over-The-Counter Medications
These types of medicines are designed to work quickly. For example, many antihistamines are designed to start working within 30 minutes or less. This is because histamine is one of the most rapidly acting substances in the human body. As a result, antihistamines are designed to get into your system as quickly as possible.
2. Prescription Medications
If you take a prescription medication, it will be more difficult for you to determine how long it takes for your body to digest this substance. The key factor here is whether or not your doctor prescribed an immediate-release or extended-release version of the drug in question. An immediate-release version will typically start working within 30 minutes or less, while an extended-release version might not kick in until several hours after you’ve taken it.
These types of medication typically start working immediately because they coat your stomach with a protective layer that prevents acid from coming in contact with your esophagus and throat walls.
This popular over-the-counter medication comes with a warning not to take it on an empty stomach because it can cause nausea and vomiting if you do so. This is because the active ingredient in this drug is bismuth subsalicylate, which can be very difficult for the human body to digest on its own. However, when you combine this substance with food or liquid, your body has an easier time breaking down and digesting it because there are more enzymes and acids in your stomach then.
These drugs are designed to kill bacteria. As a result, they’re typically designed to start working immediately or within a few hours after you take them.
2. Birth Control Pills
This type of medication takes much longer to digest than other types of medicine because it’s designed to make your body more receptive to pregnancy. In other words, this drug is more likely to take several days or weeks before you notice its effects on your body.
3. Nicotine Gum
This drug works within 30 minutes or so, but it can take up to 24 hours for the full effect of this drug to kick in completely. This is because the nicotine in cigarettes and gum must first be processed by your liver before it can get into your bloodstream and reach receptors in your brain that tell you how long it takes for the medicine to digest.
These drugs are potent painkillers that work by altering the way your brain perceives pain signals from your body’s nerves and tissues. They typically start working within 30 minutes after you swallow them but may not kick in fully until several hours later because they have a and protect it from the acid that you produce naturally.
These types of drugs typically take a while before they kick in, although some pain relievers can begin working within 30 minutes or less if they’re designed to work quickly. For example, if you have a toothache, chewing on an aspirin tablet can help ease your pain almost immediately because aspirin is one of the fastest-acting painkillers available today.
These types of medications can start working within 30 minutes or less, depending on the type of laxative you use. For example, some laxatives are designed to work more quickly than others.
2. Medium-Acting Medicine
These types of medication typically take several hours to kick in and begin working to kill bacteria and other pathogens in your body. However, these medications can take up to 10 hours or longer before they start working if you have a bacterial infection that’s not responding well to antibiotics, or if you are taking an antibiotic that is not working as intended.
There is no set timeframe for when vitamins will start working in your body because everyone’s body reacts differently to vitamins and minerals based on their dietary needs, current health status, absorption rate, and other factors. In general, though, vitamins don’t tend to start working as quickly as most other medications because they contain no active ingredients that stimulate bodily processes like digestion or cell growth in your body.
Antibiotics are designed to start working as soon as they get into your system. This is because you typically need to kill bacteria before it has a chance to reproduce.
These types of drugs can take a while to kick in, but they’re designed to get into your system quickly once they do affect your body.
This type of drug is designed to start working within 30 minutes or less, but it will only have a noticeable effect on your body after several hours have passed. As a result, you might not feel the full effects of acetaminophen for up to six hours after taking it orally or for up to three hours after taking it intravenously (IV). However, if you take acetaminophen with food, the drug will likely kick in faster than if you take it on an empty stomach (Gut 2003;52:1071–6).
Beans And Legumes
These substances work much like over-the-counter medications. In other words, they typically start working immediately. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you take a supplement that contains iron or calcium, it might take several hours for your body to fully digest it and use these minerals for their intended purpose.
These types of medications typically start working within two hours of being taken by mouth or injected into the bloodstream via an intravenous drip. The key here is the dosage amount and how quickly your system absorbs the drug in question (i.e., how quickly the medicine gets into your bloodstream). The higher the dosage amount and/or the faster your system absorbs the drug in question, the faster you’ll see and neutralize the acid.
3. Delayed-Release Medicine
Delayed-release medications, on the other hand, are designed to release their ingredients over a set time. As a result, they don’t start working immediately. However, they are designed to work more efficiently than immediate-release versions of the same medication. For example, some heartburn medications contain both immediate-release and delayed-release versions of the drug in question. The immediate version will start working within 30 minutes or less, while the delayed version might take several hours to kick in. However, once it does kick in it is designed to provide relief for up to 12 hours rather than just three or four hours like the immediate version.
4. Liquid Vs Tablet Or Capsule Form
The type of medication you’ve been prescribed also plays a role in how long it takes for your body to digest it. For example, you might assume that liquid medications will digest more quickly than tablets or capsules because your body has an easier time absorbing liquids into your bloodstream than solid substances like tablets and capsules. As a result, many people assume that liquid medications will start working faster than their solid counterparts do. However, this isn’t always true because tablets keep them from producing too much acid.
These types of drugs tend to start working right away. However, most doctors warn that you should only take these medications for a short time because they can cause rebound congestion if you continue to use them over the long term.
Hopefully, you now feel empowered to discuss the topic of digestion with your doctor. Doctors may not be eager to discuss this subject in great detail, but these details are important to consider whenever you take a new medication. From allergies to digestive issues, there are a lot of different factors that can affect the speed at which a medication is broken down. If you notice that a medication isn’t working as quickly as you’d like, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.