In regards to medications passing through intact or only partially digested/broken down -
Some medications that are structured to release the medication pass the stomach, for example into the teminal ileum, have specially designed casings that release the medication and the casing remains intact or partially broken down and can be seen in the stool. Extended release medications that deliver medicine over a longer period of time can also have specially coated, semiporous "shells" that gradually allow the medication to come out. These shells can be seen in the stool but if broken
open will be found to not have any medication remaining inside.
HOWEVER, some people with extremely rapid transit times can pass medications intact. ALSO, some medications need a certain amount of stomach acid to begin breaking down and if a person is taking strong PPI meds, this breakdown process might be compromised.
I was having extreme diarrhea and was experiencing incontinence. One day I was incontinent about
1 PM. Imagine my surprise when I began to clean up and found my blood pressure pill that I had taken at 9AM in my underwear. It was totally intact.
Another time I started having difficulty breathing when my asthma had been will controlled for a long time by my extended release oral asthma med. I started noticing a pill a lighter color but same shape and size of my asthma med on the surface of my formed stool. Spoke to my PCP and he assured me that it was just the casing of the med. Fast forward a couple weeks and I saw the medication again. This time I fished it out [I know - ewwwww!]. I broke it
open and it was the complete intact pill. This got my doctor's attention. I even had to capture one for the pharmaceutical company. It was finally determined that my PPI med, Prevacid, was reducing my stomach acid to the point that the breakdown of the shell could not happen - ergo the pill came out whole.
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