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Answers to Common Medication-Related Questions

Ask an ExactCare Pharmacist

Everyone has questions from time to time about their medications. Your pharmacist is a great resource to help answer these types of questions! Pharmacists are the medication experts on your healthcare team. They have extensive education about medications, how they interact with one another, and how they can support your health. Here, we provide some answers to common medication-related questions featuring one of ExactCare’s own clinical pharmacists, Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS.


Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS

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I’m having trouble swallowing my pills. What should I do?

Did you know, one in three people have trouble swallowing pills? Swallowing pills can be tough, but it’s important for your health to find a way to stick to your medication routine. There are several reasons you may have difficulty taking pills, tablets or capsules. Speaking with your medical provider is an important first step to finding potential solutions. Your doctors and pharmacists can offer you the best advice on methods that are appropriate for you and the drugs you are taking. Keep in mind that any method that changes the way you take a pill can change the way your medication works. This can be harmful to your health. This is just one of the reasons it is important to talk to your medical provider if you are having trouble swallowing your pills.

Talk To Your Pharmacist or Prescribing Doctor

Your pharmacist and prescribing doctors are trained to help you with your medication. They can offer suggestions for easier ways to swallow your pills that won’t impact the way your medication works. Here are a few options they may suggest, but before trying any of these options, you should always consult with your healthcare providers:

  • Cutting the medication in half. Simply cutting the medication in half—not crushing it—can be an easy option for many.
  • Trying different forms that can be easier to swallow. Your pharmacist may be able to switch the medication to a liquid, oral disintegrating tablet, or sprinkle capsules.
    • An oral disintegrating tablet is a tablet that dissolves on the tongue. It does not need to be swallowed whole.
    • A sprinkle capsule is designed for you to easily open. It can be added to food or beverages without compromising quality or safety.
  • Mixing the pills with foods that don’t require chewing, such as applesauce or pudding. Sometimes you can trick your brain into swallowing pills by burying them in a food you enjoy. Opening a capsule and sprinkling the contents into food is sometimes an option, too.

Many people may think an easy solution is to crush your pills, but that’s not always a good option. Crushing pills can alter the way some pills work. This can be harmful to your health. Your pharmacist or prescribing doctors can let you know if crushing pills is an option for you.

Tips For Taking Your Medication

Some tips that work for one person may not work for everyone. Here are some other things you can try to make it easier to swallow your pills:

  • Take one pill at a time.
  • Put water in your mouth first and then try adding the pill and swallowing.
  • Try a pill swallowing cup. The cup is designed to help you swallow pills easily, without discomfort or stress. It prevents pills from sticking to your throat or the cup.
  • Try the “pop bottle method”:
    • Fill a plastic water or soda bottle with water.
    • Put the tablet on your tongue and close your lips tightly around the bottle opening.
    • Take a drink while keeping contact between the bottle and your lips. Use a sucking motion to swallow the water and the pill.
    • Make sure you swallow the water and the pill right away.
    • Don’t let air get into the bottle.

If you have questions, call us at 1-877-355-7225. Our pharmacists are here to help and can offer techniques for swallowing tablets. Remember to always take medications as prescribed.

Information featured on the ExactCare website, including the Ask a Pharmacist page, should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding your personal health situation. If ExactCare is your pharmacy, call us directly to talk to your pharmacist: 1-877-355-7225


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