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How To Make Your Medications Work Faster and Better: 3 Simple Tricks

Smart tips for prescriptions, vaccines, and over-the-counter pills.


Research shows that more than half of adults in the US take prescription medication in some form. With so many people relying on pills to help manage their health issues as medical costs increase, it makes sense that we’d want our prescriptions to be as effective as possible. In addition, anything we can do to possibly speed up the process and get medication to work more quickly and decisively is very welcome, since there is often a delay between taking a pill and seeing its effectiveness. Here are three science-backed strategies to get your prescription pills, vaccines, and over-the-counter pills potentially working better and faster, so you can feel your best.

1. For Faster Pill Absorption: Lie on Your Right Side

In a 2022 Johns Hopkins University study, participants who took prescriptions while lying on their right side more than doubled the speed at which their bodies absorbed the meds. Why might this work for you? This position puts the exit of your stomach at its lowest position, allowing gravity to pull the pills into the intestines, where they can be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly than they would if you took them in a different posture. The study even found that if a pill takes 10 minutes to dissolve while lying on your right side, it could take 23 minutes to dissolve in an upright posture and over 100 minutes when lying on your left side.

2. For a Quicker-Acting Vaccine: Take a Mall Walk

Walk through the mall or putter around the house right after getting a vaccine or booster shot. Doing so may improve your body’s ability to produce protective antibodies, suggests Iowa State University research. The 2022 study found that getting 90 minutes of mild to moderate-intensity movement directly following a flu or Covid jab helped the bodies of some participants better circulate immune cells. In those participants, exercise improved the body’s ability to detect the vaccine and bump up an immune response.

Note: If you have ever experienced a reaction after a vaccine, such as dizziness or swelling at the injection site, do not exercise after receiving your shot. Talk to your doctor before trying this tip.

3. For More Effective Aspirin: Pair It With Coffee

Suffer from terrible migraines? Take your pain reliever with a cup of coffee or tea. The reasoning? A study published in JAMA found that the combination of acetaminophen (ie. Tylenol), aspirin, and caffeine was the most effective at reducing headaches in participants. So, combining your NSAIDs (like aspirin or Aleve) may boost the drug’s ability to tamp down aches. Caffeine works in two ways: It ushers NSAIDs (like aspirin or Aleve) and acetaminophen-powered products (like Tylenol) quickly into the bloodstream. Plus, it blocks receptors in your body responsible for perceiving pain.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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