General Question

KatawaGrey's avatar

How long does it take for the body to absorb pills?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21477points) February 21st, 2012

I have a stomach bug today and I need to take my birth control pill. I haven’t puked in a little bit and I have been taking in water so I know I can keep something down. However, I’m worried that if I take my birth control pill, I’ll just puke it back up again.

So, my question to the collective is how long does it take for the body to absorb a pill? I really don’t want to vomit up the pill and if I’m just going to, there’s no point in taking it at all today.

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7 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

It can vary from person to person and medication to medication. Generally speaking, most physicians (in my experience) have said that if you vomit within an hour of taking a medication, you should take it again. Since you are talking about birth control pills, instead of taking another pill (and messing up the number of pills you have), you would probably need to use a back up method to be safe. That being said, you can always ask your doctor or pharmacist about your specific medication to be sure you are doing the best thing and to see if there’s a way you can take another pill (if necessary).

Hope you feel better soon!!

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Seaofclouds: Thanks for you answer. My concern is that I was sick yesterday as well so I didn’t take my pill then. Missing one is okay, but missing two requires more astringent measures to avoid pregnancy. Also, if I miss too many, then my period comes early and my whole cycle is thrown off and I really want to avoid getting my period as well as puking like crazy.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Well, since you didn’t take yesterday’s pill, you have an extra if you do get sick within an hour of taking today’s pill. Most birth control pills say to take the one you missed yesterday with the one for today when you missed one. Since you are sick, I’d take one at a time in case you get sick again and use a back up method for the rest of this month if I was in your position.

The_Idler's avatar

It depends on the structure of the pill and the contents of your stomach. On an empty stomach it should be absorbed within an hour or so.

The fastest way to absorb is to grind it up, and take it with half a pint of water or so.
If you haven’t any food in your stomach, it should go straight through pretty quickly.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I actually took the while a few hours ago and I haven’t thrown it up. @The_Idler, I’m always wary to grind up a pill if I don’t know much about it. I know what my BC does, but I don’t know if it’s time release or something like that.

ETpro's avatar

It depends both on the drug in the pill, and each person’s system. Some medications are quickly absorbed in the stomach. Some are not absorbed till they pass into the intestines, and some work through metabolites that are produced in the liver or other organs. For a given drug, search for the drug name and “peak serum level” in Google and you should be able to find the time from oral administration to the time it reaches its peak in the blood stream. There will be different times for oral, intramuscular, intravenous and perhaps insuflation and rectal administration. Also, bio-availability (how much actually ends up as active in your body, versus what your body just gets rid of, will vary depending on how it is administered.

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