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How Medications Work In The Body

Do you ever wonder how medications work in the body? It seems like a complex process, and it is! In simple terms, medications have to travel through the bloodstream and pass through membranes before they can start working. However, that’s just the beginning! This article will look at some of the different ways medications work in the body. It will also talk about how drug interactions can occur and what you can do to prevent them.

When You First Take Medication


When you first swallow medication, it enters your mouth and goes down your throat into your esophagus. Your esophagus is a tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. The medicine then enters your stomach, mixing with food and liquids. The mixture then passes through your small intestine, where the drug can then absorb into your bloodstream.

The medicine then circulates through your body and interacts with different tissues and organs before it finally excretes in your urine or feces. The entire process, from swallowing the medicine to excreting it, takes, on average, about 48 hours. However, this can vary depending on the type of medicine you have taken.

How Certain Medications Work In Your Body


While most medication goes through a similar process, how it affects your body can vary. This is because different medications interact with other parts of the body. Let’s look at some of the different ways medications can work in the body.

Pain Killers

Over-the-counter and prescription painkillers are prevalent drugs people take for all sorts of reasons. But how do they actually work? And what are the potential side effects?

Painkillers work by interrupting the communication between the body and the brain. Usually, when you experience pain, it’s because your body is sending signals to the brain that something is wrong. But when you take a painkiller, it blocks those signals from getting through. That means that the pain doesn’t register with you in the same way.

However, painkillers don’t just affect pain signals. They can also interfere with other important messages that your body sends to your brain – like the ones that tell you when you’re hungry or thirsty. That’s why taking painkillers can sometimes lead to side effects like nausea and constipation.

Of course, everyone reacts to painkillers differently. And not everyone will experience side effects. But it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks before taking any medication – even something as seemingly innocuous as a painkiller.


When you take a sedative, you are essentially depressing the nervous system. This class of drugs includes both prescription and illegal drugs, such as Valium, Ativan, GHB, and Rohypnol. They work by increasing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which slows down brain activity.

Sedatives can have a number of different effects on the body, depending on the dose. At low doses, sedatives can cause drowsiness and impaired coordination. At higher doses, they can cause slurred speech, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

In extreme cases, they can cause death. Because of their potentially dangerous effects, it is vital to be aware of how sedatives can affect you before taking them.



Antibiotics are medications used to treat bacterial infections. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from multiplying. When used correctly, antibiotics can save lives by treating serious bacterial infections. However, the overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria can survive even when exposed to antibiotics, making them difficult to treat.

As a result, it is crucial to use antibiotics only when necessary and to follow the instructions on the label carefully. When taken as directed, antibiotics can help keep you and your community healthy by preventing the spread of bacterial infections.


Antidepressants are a type of medication used to treat clinical depression or prevent it from happening. They work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which improves mood and helps relieve symptoms. The most common type of antidepressant is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

These drugs increase the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, by blocking its reabsorption into neurons. Other types of antidepressants include tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). These drugs work by affecting other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine.

Antidepressants generally take 2-4 weeks to start working, and it may take 6-8 weeks before you start feeling the full effects. If you do not experience any relief after this time, your doctor may increase your dose or switch you to a different medication.



When you have heartburn, it feels like a burning sensation in your chest. This is caused by stomach acid rising up into your esophagus. Antacids work by neutralizing the stomach acid, which relieves the burning feeling. People typically take antacids after eating or when heartburn occurs.

Some antacids are available over-the-counter, while others require a prescription. There are many different types of antacids, but they all work in essentially the same way. When you take an antacid, it dissolves in your stomach and forms a barrier between the stomach acid and your esophagus. This barrier protects your esophagus from the corrosive action of the stomach acid and provides relief from heartburn pain.

Antacids are generally safe to use, but there are a few precautions to be aware of. For example, some antacids contain high sodium levels, which can cause hypertension and fluid retention. In addition, antacids can interact with other medications, so it is important to speak with your doctor before taking them.


Antihistamines are a class of drugs that work by blocking the action of histamine, a substance produced by the body in response to an allergy. The most common type of antihistamines is oral medications. They work by binding to histamine receptors on cells in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing histamine from binding and triggering an allergic reaction.

These drugs are typically taken before exposure to an allergen, such as pollen, or after the onset of symptoms. Some antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, are also available as topical creams and ointments, which you can apply directly to the skin. These formulations prevent histamine from binding to histamine receptors on cells in the skin, preventing or reducing allergic reactions.

Antihistamines are generally safe and well-tolerated but can cause side effects, including drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness.

How Drug Interactions Occur


When you take two or more drugs at the same time, it’s possible that they will interact with each other. These interactions can occur in different ways. The most common type of drug interaction is when one drug alters how the body metabolizes another drug. This can either increase or decrease the effect of the second drug.

Another type of drug interaction can occur when one drug interferes with the way the body absorbs another drug. This can also lead to an increase or decrease in the effect of the second drug. In some cases, drug interactions can even cause side effects that are not generally associated with either drug.

It’s essential to be aware of potential drug interactions, as they can often be avoided by taking precautions such as separating the doses of different drugs or avoiding certain combinations of drugs altogether.

Understand How Medications Work!

When it comes to medications, it’s important to understand how they work to ensure you take them correctly and safely. Medications can interact with each other in different ways, so it’s always best to speak with a doctor or pharmacist before taking multiple drugs. By understanding how medications work in the body, you can avoid potential side effects and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your medication. And as with anything, knowledge is power!