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What Is An Easy Way To Swallow Pills and Capsules?

Updated on August 2, 2013
What Is The Easiest Way To Swallow Pills?
What Is The Easiest Way To Swallow Pills?

Sometimes swallowing tablets, whether they are vitamins or prescriptions, is a task that is far too hard to manage, let alone contemplate.

Rest assured that you are not alone. People of all ages share your problem. Sure, it is understandably strange to swallow something without chewing it, nevertheless, when it comes to medication, swallowing pills are an extremely convenient way to dose yourself up.

Everyone has a different tried and tested method and there is not one way that suits everyone. So if you are looking for an alternative solution, here is a list of the many ‘tricks of the trade’ that you can try yourself to get those tablets down. Let’s look at them.

Disguise It

Try taking your pills whilst swallowing a mouthful of jelly or pudding, ice cream or yoghurt. Or how about chewing a piece of food right up until the point at which you would normally swallow, however instead place the pill towards the back of your tongue, in the middle of the food, and then swallow. Try with a small piece of bread or a cookie.

If you like mashed potato, place the tablet inside a spoon full and eat as normal.

You can also disguise pills in a bit of apple sauce so it is almost taken in a slurp like a soup.

Remember though, when you embed a tablet in food and consume both together some prescription drugs are affected by certain foods, so check with your health care provider before trying this one.

Grind It

Not every tablet can be crushed so make sure that this is an appropriate option for you. Also some medication or vitamins are time-released so grinding or crushing will defeat the purpose. But if you can, simply place it into a zip lock bag, crush it with a spoon and sprinkle it on your food or place it on a spoon and down the hatch!

Cut It

If your pills are scored, meaning that they have a little line on them for cutting them in half, this gives you the green light to cut them down to size to make them smaller for easier consumption.

Do not do this with pills that are not scored or with capsules.

You can use a knife, or sometimes even break a them with your fingers. Alternatively you can buy tablet cutters at most drugstores that way you can make it smaller and more manageable.

Open It

Some capsules can be opened and the contents can be poured out and added to a spoonful of something really palatable like sugar. It is bound to be bitter and not taste nice so make sure what you are adding it to works for you and then follow it down with a glass of water.

Practice It

You can always practice swallowing tiny lollies, like tic-tacs, until you get the knack of it.

Swallow It

If none of these options work, simply place it on the back of your tongue, right at the back, take a sip of water, tilt your head back and then swallow.

Some prefer to pop the tablet in first and then take a sip of water whilst others are adamant that you need to take a sip of water first to make sure your mouth is moist.

Relax, close your eyes if it helps. Try taking a deep breath before putting the tablet in your mouth; some say that this can suppress gag reflexes.

How To Help Kids Swallow Pills/Vitamins

One of the tricks used to help kids learn to swallow pills is to put the pill on their tongue, or just in their mouth and then get them to take a drink through a straw. Be patient with them.

Spray N Swallow Spray Or Pill Glide

There is a product called 'Spray N Swallow' which is designed to lubricate the tablet so that you are less likely to notice it and feel it and more importantly it helps to ensure that it will not get stuck to your tongue or roof of your mouth. It comes in two flavors - Mint and Cherry.

Alternatively you can try a product called 'Pill-Glide' which comes in Orange, Strawberry, Grape, Peach, and Bubblegum. All you need to do is put a spritz of it on your tongue then place the pill on your tongue, drink some water and the pill will slide right down. A second spritz after you've swallowed it will help to take away any unpleasant pill taste.

Oralflo Pill Swallowing Cup

Oralflo Pill Swallowing Cup

Another alternative is to take a look at the Oralflo Pill Swallowing Cup. It won a Medical Design Excellence Award as it was recognized as a solution to help dysphagia sufferers (those with trouble swallowing pills) to take medications without a problem.

It alleviates pill swallowing difficulties based on its design.

Alternatives To Pills

Depending on the type of medication sometimes there are liquid and chewable alternatives. It is worth asking your doctor or chemist.

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    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 4 years ago from Sacramento

      I had no idea they made pill glide spray. Wow! That might help my kids who are still making the transition from liquid to pills.