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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Swallowing Pills
These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as
recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is
always advised to consult their own physician.
Difficulty Swallowing Pills
Question: Could you offer any insight as to whether HIV medications (pills,
capsules) can be crushed or dissolved prior to swallowing, for those individuals who have
significant difficulty swallowing pills/capsules? Thanks for any insight, as this would
assist medication compliance tremendously in some patients.
Answer: Depends a lot on the specific medication. Some can be crushed, some not.
Difficulty swallowing caplets
Question: I purchased Tylenol Cold Severe Congestion (non drowsy) caplets today,
and was wondering if it is okay to break the caplets into smaller pieces, as I have
difficulty swallowing them whole. Does this degrade the efficacy of the medication? By the
way, I have always had difficulty swallowing tablets/capsules whole for some reason (It
may be entirely psychological), but occasionally I have had some luck embedding caplets
into a piece of food (such as bread) and swallowing that. Is this alright, or does it
hinder the ability of the medication to get absorbed properly? Can you give any advice as
how to overcome my problem of whole-pill swallowing?
Answer: Breaking this pill in half is no problem, but there are pills
(particularly time release prescription pills) that it would matter. Taking these pills
with bread is also no problem. It sounds like a psychological barrier since you have no
trouble swallowing food. Try putting the pill on the back part of the tongue as you start
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