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Difficulty in swallowing tablets and capsules


There are many different reasons why patients are unable to swallow tablets or capsules.

Problems with swallowing pills can be caused by known medical conditions that can affect saliva production such as dry mouth or dysphagia. Swallowing difficulties can also be caused by a range of health conditions that affect a person's central nervous system such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, surgery and cancer. Certain medications can also irritate the throat, cause heartburn and aggravate acid reflux. Difficulty swallowing pills can also be caused by a psychological fear of choking or a strong gag reflex.

Not being able to swallow their medicine, can prevent patients from taking life-saving medicine. They can be left with chronic pain which impacts their quality of life.

Here are a few suggestions for helping swallow tablets. We recommend seeking professional medical advice before taking any of these actions.


Washing it down with water

If you don't want the tablet to get lodged in your throat, this method may be for you. Place the pill on the back of your tongue, tilt your head back slightly, close your lips, then sip water. This will help the tablet to sink towards the back of the throat and make it easier to swallow.


Mixing with food

If you don't like the taste of the tablet, you can try to mix it with food. Swallowing with food will help lessen the taste of the pill. Again, consult your healthcare provider about whether your medication can be mixed with food as it can sometimes affect the dosage and the effectiveness.


Chewing or crushing

Make sure to check the label on the package or the medicine, or ask your pharmacist to see whether it can be chewed or crushed.

It's important to know that some pills should not be crushed or cut up, especially those with a protective outer coating. The outer coating is designed to protect the medicine from breaking apart in the stomach. If it is allowed, breaking down the tablets into smaller chunks can ease the trouble of swallowing pills.


Alternative forms

Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist whether there are alternative forms of medicine such as suppositories, liquids or creams. Most medicines can be compounded and Kingsway Compounding can compound your medicine into a liquid, cream or other forms.

Medicine that is in liquid form comes in contact with the taste buds much more quickly than medicines within capsules. So the taste may be stronger when compared to tablets.

However, transdermal creams absorb quicker into the bloodstream so they can have a stronger effect. You must be careful with the dosage when applying.


Contact Kingsway Compounding for more information about how we can make what was previously an unpleasant experience of swallowing pills into a more pleasant experience.