Consumer Tips \ Inside the Medicine Chest

How to Take Hard-to-Swallow Medications

While it may seem like an easy task, swallowing a pill is something a lot of people have trouble with--both adults and children. Here are some tricks to make it a little bit easier.

Start with a few deep breaths to relax the throat and neck muscles.

Try taking a sip of water to moisten your mouth, then drop that pill in. A mouthful of water might make it go down more easily--and may keep some of the taste from making it onto your tongue.

Other nonalcoholic liquids can work too. Milk, tomato juice. Whatever you like. Just make sure it's okay to take with your medication.

If liquid doesn't help, send your medicine under cover. Disguise it.

Put the pill in something you like to eat--like peanut butter or a marshmallow.

It works for dogs. It can work for people too!

Another option: chew up something crunchy, like a carrot, then sneak the pill into your mouth. With all that roughage in there you might not even notice the pill going down.

If that doesn't work, you could try gently massaging your throat to help open it up. This might make it easier to swallow.

Then there's the option of dissolving the pill in a liquid, like apple juice so you won't even notice it's there.

But remember that some pills lose their effectiveness if they're dissolved or crushed, so before you try this, or if you have any questions, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

This entry last modified on: March 4, 2014 5:55 PM

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About the Video

Some pills are hard to swallow–literally. Our pharmacist offers seven tips for making your medications easier to get down.


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