Medications can be administered by several routes including oral, intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, rectal, transdermal, or sublingual. Drug bio-availability describes the rate and extent to which a medication's active ingredients are absorbed and made available for therapeutic action. The rate of absorption is influenced by drug formulation, drug interactions, and gastric motility. Properties that affect absorption over time include the surface area, mucosal integrity/function, gastric acidity, and local blood flow. In general, gastric absorption is increased when the stomach is empty, although gastrointestinal side effects are often increased when medications are taken without food. Drugs given orally that are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract may be altered by first-pass hepatic metabolism. Sublingual and topical administration of drugs minimizes the first-pass effect, and rectal administration reduces the effect by 50%. Intravenous drug delivery offers 100% bioavailability and generally results in a more rapid therapeutic effect.

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