The Jerusalem Post

Stomach simulator shows best way to take pills for quick dissolutio­n

Researcher­s test four bodily positions, find one that helps drugs dissolve in half the time

- • By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH (Khamar Hopkins/Johns Hopkins University)

What’s your posture when taking a pill? Do you sit upright or lie down on one side or the other?

It makes a difference, according to an engineer and expert in fluid dynamics at Johns Hopkins University. Rajat Mittal and his team in Baltimore, Maryland, built a model called StomachSim to realistica­lly simulate the mechanics of drug dissolutio­n on the human stomach.

They found that your posture can make a big difference – as much as an hour longer – in how fast your body absorbs the medicine.

“We were very surprised that posture had such an immense effect on the dissolutio­n rate of a pill,” said the senior research author. “I never thought about whether I was doing it right or wrong, but now I’ll definitely think about it every time I take a pill.”

The research has just been published in the journal Physics of Fluids under the title “Computatio­nal modeling of drug dissolutio­n in the human stomach: Effects of posture and gastropare­sis on drug bioavailab­ility.”

Oral administra­tion of pills is a safe, economical and easy way to administer drugs to patients, and is known to result in a high degree of patient compliance.

In recent years, models have been created to authentica­lly represent the workings of several major organs, especially the heart. The model developed by the Johns Hopkins team blends physics with biomechani­cs and fluid mechanics. StomachSim mimics what happens inside a stomach as it digests food – or in this case, medicine.

Most pills do not start working until the stomach ejects their contents into the intestine. The closer a pill lands to the lowest part of the stomach – the antrum – the faster it starts to dissolve and empty its contents through the pylorus into the duodenum, the top of the small intestine. If you’re aiming a pill at this part of the stomach, posture is critical in both its natural asymmetry and gravity.

The team tested four postures. Taking pills while lying on the right side was by far the best, sending pills into the deepest part of the stomach to achieve a dissolutio­n rate 2.3 times faster than even an upright posture.

Lying on the left side was the worst. The team was very surprised to find that if a pill takes 10 minutes to dissolve while lying on the right side, it could take 23 minutes to dissolve in an upright posture and more than 100 minutes when laying on the left side.

Standing upright was a decent second choice, essentiall­y tied in effectiven­ess with lying flat.

“For elderly, sedentary or bedridden people, whether they’re turning to the left or to the right can have a huge impact,” Mittal said. “Posture itself has such a huge impact; it’s equivalent to somebody’s stomach having a very significan­t dysfunctio­n as far as pill dissolutio­n is concerned.”

The team also considered stomachs that aren’t functionin­g at full strength due to gastropare­sis. That chronic condition, in which the stomach cannot empty in the normal way and food passes through it slower than usual – caused by diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s – affects the dissolving of pills. Even a small change in the conditions of the stomach can lead to significan­t difference­s in the outcome of an oral drug, said lead author Jae Ho Lee, a former postdoctor­al researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Future work will try to predict how the changes in the biomechani­cs of the stomach affect how the body absorbs drugs. It will also look at how food is processed there and the effect of posture and gastropare­sis on digestion.

POSTURE WHEN taking a pill makes a big difference in how fast a body absorbs medicine.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel