The Pill May Not Be Hard To Swallow
No one likes to take medication especially if you have difficulty swallowing the pill. Age doesn’t really impact your ability to swallow a pill. A teenager can have just as many problems as a 5-year-old. It likely has to do with anxiety and the negative associations with swallowing a pill. This blog will discuss some techniques that can be helpful if you or a family member has trouble swallowing medication.
It is estimated that 40 percent of American adults have difficulty swallowing pills, even though most have no problems with food or liquids. Eighty percent said they did not like the feeling of having a pill stuck in their throat, 48 percent said pills caused a bad aftertaste, and 32 percent said pills caused them to gag.
While some medications can be taken in liquid form or crushed, time-release medications and those with certain coatings cannot be crushed.
A child might experiment, for example, with putting juice or water in his or her mouth first, followed by the pill — or the other way around. With younger children, guided imagery also may help, such as imagining that the tongue is a water slide, the pill is the rider, and the pill rides the water slide into the pool (stomach), Dr. Bradford said.
Specialized pill-swallowing cups, sold in pharmacies and online, help the user “drink” a pill — the cup is filled with fluid, and the pill is placed in a reservoir so the liquid and the pill mix in the mouth.
A 2014 study of 151 adults up to age 85, published in The Annals of Family Medicine, reported that the so-called pop bottle method can work with larger tablets. The tablet is placed on the tongue, the lips are tightly closed around the opening of a plastic bottle, and “the tablet is swallowed in a swift suction movement to overcome the volitional phase of swallowing,” the authors write. The “lean forward” approach works with capsule avoiders: Place the capsule on your tongue, take a medium sip of water and tilt your chin forward while swallowing.
One final option: giving patients liquid medication instead of a pill, especially a liquid that tastes terrible. If it tastes so horrible that they can’t get it down, sometimes that’s enough motivation to swallow the pill!
Again, no one likes to take medication, but a few of these simple avoidance techniques can make the medication easier to swallow.