Make swallowing tablets simpler with these easy methods
In the event you’re taking a pill, strive the pop-bottle technique. Fill a plastic water or soda bottle with water and put the pill in your tongue. Shut your mouth completely across the round opening of the bottle and take a drink. Whereas sucking within the water, you shouldn’t let any air in (the bottle ought to squeeze in on itself). Utilizing that technique considerably helped almost 3 out of 5 folks swallow their tablets.
For capsules, the tactic could really feel just a little unnatural: As a substitute of tipping your head backward — as many people do when taking tablets — you’re truly going to lean ahead. Place the capsule in your tongue and take a medium sip of water. Don’t instantly swallow. As a substitute, tilt your chin barely towards your chest, then swallow. It may appear awkward, however the lean-forward technique improved swallowing in about 89 % of individuals.
If these methods don’t work, strive these different choices.
Ask about altering your tablet
Measurement actually issues relating to swallowing tablets. Folks could battle when a medicine is larger than about a centimeterbut additionally if it’s too small — once they’re lower than 4 millimeters — they are often frustratingly hard to handle and sense within the mouth.
On the whole, most individuals discover capsules easier than tablets. However if you happen to’re caught with a pill, a coated version could also be extra palatable, if accessible. Even the tablet’s texture, taste and smell can affect how simply you’re capable of swallow them.
Discuss to your doctor about exploring different formulations of your medicine if what you’ve got isn’t working (and you’ll want to see what your insurance coverage will cowl). When somebody in my clinic struggles with swallowing their tablets, I verify if the medicine is available in a disintegrating pill or in a liquid or powder kind that may be obtained at compounding pharmacies.
Generally, tablets could be crushed, and capsules could be opened. However it’s essential to know that you just shouldn’t do this with all drugs. All the time ask your pharmacist about these potentialities earlier than making an attempt them at house. If some tablets are taken incorrectly, it may result in an overdose. That features tablets which are labeled “enteric-coated” or “extended-release, ER.”
For instance, omeprazole — a proton-pump inhibitor present in Prilosec — is regularly used to deal with acid reflux disease. Omeprazole could be prescribed as a delayed-release pill that shouldn’t be modified. However I typically swap my sufferers’ prescriptions to the capsule kind to allow them to sprinkle it on meals like applesauce to make consumption simpler. And if that doesn’t do the trick, there are different proton-pump inhibitors that come as a liquid that we strive.
This could go with out saying, however taking tablets with out liquid is troublesome and probably harmful. That you must take tablets with at least 50 milliliters of fluid (about 1.7 fluid ounces) to make sure they cross by way of the esophagus easily, however some drugs require rather more.
Talking of liquids: Be sure you double verify that your medicine is secure to take with something aside from water. As an example, you shouldn’t take iron dietary supplements with milk, and plenty of statins, resembling Lipitor, shouldn’t be taken with grapefruit juice due to points with absorption.
Look into swallowing aids
A couple of small research have demonstrated a lubricating throat spray as an efficient means to help kids in swallowing tablets. You too can purchase gels to coat the pill or special cups and straws that may facilitate swallowing.
Fixed hassle swallowing tablets, problem swallowing any liquids or meals on the whole, ache with swallowing or feeling like one thing is “caught” in your throat — these are all causes to speak to your doctor about potential well being situations.
For instance, an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease is hassle swallowing, and a historical past of stroke or dementia can impair your capacity to chew and swallow correctly. Points with the esophagus, dry mouth and pill-related nervousness can also be at play.
Worry and nervousness about taking tablets typically happens after prior bad experiences with choking or gagging. In these circumstances, cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure exercises could also be useful, resembling training with sprinkles.
What I would like my sufferers to know
Virtually 10 percent of people don’t take their tablets due to hassle swallowing them. In the event you’re amongst them, be trustworthy about how typically you’re taking your drugs — if all of it. Don’t inform me the reply you assume I need to hear. There are various causes it’s arduous to get or take medicines — together with excessive price or problem swallowing — and if you happen to share them with me, you may be shocked on the options we will brainstorm collectively.
Meet the physician: Trisha S. Pasricha is a doctor at Massachusetts Basic Hospital, an teacher in drugs at Harvard Medical Faculty and a medical journalist.
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