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Six Tips for Swallowing Pills

By HERWriter
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If swallowing pills is not to your taste, these helpful tips may be the “spoonful of sugar” you need to help your medicine go down.

Some people have difficulty swallowing large pills, while other find that even the smallest pill seems to get stuck in their throats. Try these tips to find the method that works best for you:

1. Chewables or liquids – many medications are available in multiple delivery types. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a comparable liquid or chewable option that could work for you. This is also true of many vitamins and other over-the-counter remedies.

2. Cutting Pills - If big pills are your problem, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s OK to cut the pill into smaller pieces. But remember, many medications rely on the outer coating and size of the pill to release medication into your system over time. Cutting those pills will cancel the time release quality and alter the way the medication works for you. So always check with the doctor first. This is also true of time release capsules.

3. Lots of Liquid - Always have a good supply of liquid on hand before you try to swallow a pill. Some people find that thicker liquids, such as nectars, or carbonated drinks are more effective for swallowing pills. Once the pill is swallowed, follow up with several swallows of liquid to help move the pill down to your stomach.

4. Liquid or Pill First? – Some people prefer to place the pill on their tongue then swig back a swallow of liquid to wash it down. If you don’t like the feeling of the pill in your mouth, start by taking a mouthful of liquid, then sliding the pill into your mouth and swallowing it all together.

5. Head Tilt – Whether you start with the liquid or the pill in your mouth, make sure your chin is pointed toward the ground before you actually try to swallow. Tilting the head back can help to wash the pill toward the back of the mouth, but it also makes it much more difficult to swallow.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.