Sublingual means that something is under the tongue, or it refers to a method of administering medication under the tongue. If a drug is taken sublingually, the blood vessels and capillaries under your tongue absorb the substance, allowing it to take action in the body quickly.

In contrast to swallowing and digesting medication, sublingual administration is advantageous for many reasons. Sublingual medication doesn’t need to be digested, so it is considered more potent and fast-acting. You can potentially take a smaller dose of medicine sublingually than you can orally.

Sublingually taking a drug is also preferred when a person has difficulty swallowing pills.

Is Buccal the Same as Sublingual?

Sublingual and buccal are often confused or assumed to be the same thing. However, they are slightly different. While sublingual refers to “under the tongue,” buccal refers to the area inside your mouth between your cheek and gums.

Drugs formulated for sublingual and buccal administration can be solids, liquids, or gels. Solids, like wafers or patches, can take a moment to dissolve in the mouth. Sprays and drops can be applied directly to the mucous membranes and are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.