Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

It is commonly seen that most of the people believe that injections work faster than pills. There are some people who feel if they are administered an injection, they are being treated properly. Most of the patient’s tend to believe so, as they feel injections are more painful than oral medications and thus more effective. However, this may not be true entirely. The pain felt during administration of an injection is often due to the high alkalinity or high acidity of the content of the injection.

Do Injections Work Faster Than Pills?

Do Injections Work Faster than Pills?

The physical form in which medicines are dispensed depends on the properties of the medicine. Certain medicines if introduced in the body as a tablet, it may not be effective at all, as it may be destroyed by the digestive enzymes. For example, insulin, if given orally, it may get digested by enzymes which digest meat products and thus gets ineffective. Insulin when given in the form of an injection, it does not come in contact with digestive enzymes and thus, it does not get destroyed and its potency is well maintained.

Similarly, certain medicine does not work when it is given through an injection. Some medicines works only when it is in solid form, and when the same medicine is given in an injectable form, it disintegrates and loses its intended properties. This can be illustrated with example of milk; liquid milk does not last for long and goes off in 2 to 3 days, whereas powdered milk has a longer shelf life and can be preserved for a longer period of time.

Some medicines are available in tablet as well as in injectable form. The action of these medicines is usually faster when taken through injection, but in terms of effectiveness there is not much of a difference (unless there are other factors involved). These medicines are available as injections as it may not be possible for all patients to take medicines orally. These include patients with symptoms of unconsciousness, vomiting, issues with elimentary canal etc. In such cases, injection is an useful alternative for giving the concerned medicine to the patient.

Injections are generally preferred in emergency conditions when an immediate effect is required. This is because medicines given through injection reach the bloodstream almost immediately, whereas medicine given through tablets must dissolve in stomach before getting absorbed. The choice of administration (oral or injection) is also determined based on the disease condition. For examples, for condition such as hookworms in the stomach, an injection will not work but a tablet will be effective in management of the condition.

It is important to note that, though injections may act faster than pills, the overall effectiveness of the drugs in both forms is same. The effectiveness depends on the dosage of the drug and it does not depend on the route of administration.

To conclude, when we compare injectables with pills, it is important to consider the following points:

  • Response: Injectables (particularly intravenous) acts faster than pills.
  • Effect: Injectable (subdermal, intramuscular and intradermal) produce prolonged effect than tablets.
  • Continuous Drug Maintenance: It is easier to control the dosage of drugs and maintain the plasma drug concentration when the medicine is given in the form of an injection.
  • Amount of Medicine: Large dosage of drugs can be given through injection, which is often quite difficult with tablets or capsules.
  • Ease of Administration: It is easier for a patient to take an oral medicine by himself or herself; whereas, when it comes injections, a doctor or a nurse is required to administer the injection correctly.
  • Cost: Injections are usually more expensive than oral medications.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 21, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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