Taking medicine lying on your right speeds up its effects, a new study has found, as researchers say posture affects how the stomach absorbs drugs.
Scientists have used a state-of-the-art ‘StomachSim’ that is based on the anatomy of the human stomach to analyse and understand how effective swallowed medicines are.
Research published in the Physics of Fluids journal adds to evidence that humans should be informed of what posture to adopt when taking tablets orally — adding advice already given on whether to eat before or after medication.
Scientists say swallowing tablets is the most complex way for the human body to absorb an active pharmaceutical ingredient because the bioavailability of the drug in the gastrointestinal tract depends on the medication’s ingredients and the stomach’s dynamic physiological environment.
When humans lie on their left side, the stomach exit is at its highest.
American scientists used a biomimetic in-silico simulator based on the realistic anatomy and morphology of the human stomach — dubbed a ‘StomachSim’ — for their study.
A new study has found posture affects how the stomach absorbs drugs and lying on your right side speeds up the effects of a drug
Study co-author Professor Rajat Mittal (pictured), of Johns Hopkins University said the stomach’s contents and gastric fluid dynamics are among factors that play a role in a drug’s bioavailability
It found that the impact of gravity was huge, while leaning to the left slowed the speed at which a drug leaves the stomach to almost zero.
Scientists say the modelling is believed to be the first of its kind to couple gastric biomechanics with pill movement.
Standing up caused more of a drug to leave the stomach, while leaning back increased mixing by 50 per cent, The Times reports.
But leaning to the right had the most pronounced impact and led to a doubling of concentration of the drug.
Study co-author Professor Rajat Mittal, of Johns Hopkins University, said: ‘Oral administration is surprisingly complex despite being the most common choice for drug administration.
‘When the pill reaches the stomach, the motion of the stomach walls and the flow of contents inside determine the rate at which it dissolves. The properties of the pill and the stomach contents also play a major role.
‘However, current experimental or clinical procedures for assessing the dissolution of oral drugs are limited in their ability to study this, which makes it a challenge to understand how the dissolution is affected in different stomach disorders, such as gastroparesis, which slows down the emptying of the stomach.’
The research adds to evidence that humans should be informed of what posture to adopt when taking tablets orally, scientists say
He said the stomach’s contents and gastric fluid dynamics are among factors that play a role in a drug’s bioavailability, and stomach contractions can induce pressure and generate complex pill trajectories.
Prof Mittal added: ‘This results in varying rates of pill dissolution and non-uniform emptying of the drug into the duodenum and, sometimes, gastric dumping in the case of modified-release dosage.
‘Together, these issues pose several challenges for the design of drug delivery.»
He continued: ‘In this work, we demonstrate a novel computer simulation platform that offers the potential for overcoming these limitations.
‘Our models can generate biorelevant data on drug dissolution that can provide useful and unique insights into the complex physiological processes behind the oral administration of pills.’