Does Lying Down Really Make Your Medication Work Faster?

You take medication because you need to provide yourself with some kind of relief. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could somehow make that medication work its magic even faster? As it turns out, you can.

According to the results of a new study published in Physics of Fluids, if you take medication while lying down — specifically on your right side — the pills can potentially dissolve over two times faster compared to taking the dose while upright. Faster-dissolving pills in your system mean the faster the medication gets to work. Senior study author Rajat Mittal, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, was surprised how making this simple adjustment impacted the dissolution rate of the pills. He told HealthDay News that he will now take heed of this information when taking pills. He added that knowing how lying on your right side makes a difference may also have a positive impact on elderly and bedridden people.

The researchers applied a model called StomachSim for the study, which mimics what happens in your gut during digestion. Through gravity, physics, and fluid mechanics, the researchers determined that lying on your side aims the dosage directly to the area of the stomach that ejects contents into the opening of the small intestine — this is where the pills begin dissolving. Future research will look into how shifts in the biomechanics of the stomach can affect the absorption of medications.

Another way to absorb medication faster

Aside from taking pills while lying on your right side, there is another method that may help your body absorb certain medications faster.

For those suffering from a cold, choosing medication that is soluble in hot water leads to significantly greater and faster absorption over the course of the first 60 minutes. This is compared to taking cold medication in pill form with cold water, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Research. The study tested paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, which is a drug that reduces fever. The study indicated that because paracetamol is more soluble in hot water, it may reach the bloodstream faster.

Whether you prefer taking a pill with cold water or dissolving medication in hot water, be sure to stick with water when taking any kind of medication — other types of beverages could cause an adverse reaction. For instance, the American Heart Association website advises that you avoid grapefruit juice when taking medication because it can interfere with certain drugs. Also, stay away from alcohol, which can impact medication effects. If you are taking antibiotics, avoid dairy, which can disrupt the drug's absorption into the bloodstream, per Everyday Health.