Study: Your posture can affect how your stomach absorbs the medication in pills

August 15, 2022

Does the efficacy of medicine come down to your posture? Researchers  at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have found that a person’s posture while taking pills can affect how his or her stomach absorbs the drugs, reports Study Finds.

Using a state-of-the-art “StomachSim”—a simulator based on the realistic anatomy of the human stomach—to analyze and quantify how effective medicines that people need to swallow, the scientists established that the bioavailability of a drug depends on the medication’s ingredients and the stomach’s dynamic environment once it reaches the gastrointestinal tract.

The researchers say that their model of the stomach is the first of its kind to couple gastric biomechanics with pill movement and drug dissolution to determine just how much of the active pharmaceuticals actually pass through the pylorus and reach the duodenum.

StomachSim also enabled the team to calculate and compare the emptying rate and the release of a dissolved pharmaceuticals into the duodenum in a variety of physiological situations.

“Oral administration is surprisingly complex despite being the most common choice for drug administration,” says co-author Rajat Mittal of Johns Hopkins University in a media release. “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,” Mittal notes, “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.”

Mittal adds that the stomach’s contents and gastric fluid dynamics are among the factors that contribute to a drug’s bioavailability. Moreover, stomach contractions can induce pressure and generate complex pill movements in the body.

All of these factors lead to varying rates of pill dissolution and an uneven emptying of the pill into the duodenum. Researchers say these issues create several challenges for the design of oral medications, especially pills which have a delayed reaction.

“In this work, we demonstrate a novel computer simulation platform that offers the potential for overcoming these limitations,” Mittal concludes. “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.”

The findings are published in the journal, Physics of Fluids.

Research contact: @StudyFinds