General Question

DominicX's avatar

Do any of you have difficulty swallowing pills? What alternatives do you have?

Asked by DominicX (28777points) June 12th, 2009

I’m no good at swallowing pills. In fact, I just plain suck at it. When I have a headache, I either take 6 children’s Tylenol pills or drink that nasty-tasting liquid adult version that’s so unbelievably bitter that it burns my throat. They used to have Tylenol Go-Tabs. Too bad they got rid of those; they were perfect for me. Catering to the non-swallowing pills market is not very successful apparently…

I’m just wondering how often you are able to find an alternative and what kinds of medications don’t have to be a swallowed pill.

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14 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

I just cut up my pills. I know that is so un-inventive. And I have a swallowing routine that is a bit different from the “typical” person. After cutting up the pills I take a big drink of water and hold it in my mouth. Then I put the pill in. I tilt my head back and swallow. Sometimes it doesn’t work and I have to try again but most the time it does.

Ivan's avatar

The last time I had a headache, I bit into an Ibuprofen gel tablet.

Worst mistake of my life.

creativejuices's avatar

A good trick is to get a mouth full of water, tilt back your head and with the water still in your mouth pop the pill in. The pill will ride the wave of water down your throat and you wont feel it touching your throat… which was the problem for me. Try to “open” up your throat as much as you can when swallowing. I do this with pills that are bitter. Hope it helps!

DominicX's avatar

Thanks guys. I will have to try some of these things. When I repeatedly couldn’t swallow a pill, I just kind of gave up and I haven’t attempted to swallow a pill in over a year.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@DominicX There was one time when I repeatedly tried swallowing the same pill. It had been cut up in peices that were so small they should dissolve on the tongue and I still couldn’t swallow them. Turns out I was highly allergic. But my typical inability has nothing to do with that. Just a note to be cautious.

DominicX's avatar


Hmm…I don’t have any known allergies to anything. Except for the occasional seasonal watery eyes and what not. But that is interesting.

chyna's avatar

I put butter on bread, chew it up til it’s ready to swallow, stick the pill in it and swallow.

casheroo's avatar

I have major issues with swallowing pills. My mother used to yell at me to get me to swallow them and I’d end up throwing up from choking. Not fun. I was finally able to swallow them at 14, but still have issues.

I find that I need to take a nice big sip first, then I put the pill in my mouth and it cannot touch anything in my mouth other than the back of my tongue, and then I take a huge sip of something and get it down. I then eat something like pretzels or whatever to make sure it’s going down.
I make a huge production about it lol

creativejuices's avatar

@casheroo: this used to be my problem…. when I was in middle school & my grandmother tried to get me to swallow a pill, I actually forcefully threw up in face!!! eeewww!!

Kayak8's avatar

Although it likely won’t help with the flavor thing, if you seriously have difficulty with pills, let your doctor know. They can write for pediatric versions (syrups and liquids). The challenge is the quantity needed for an adult is often so much more than for a kid, you may have to choke down a good bit of liquid. They use flavorings designed to appeal to kids but there is a great deal of variability as to how successful the different companies are with covering the medicinal tastes.

essieness's avatar

People make fun of how I take pills and here’s how it goes:

Put pills on tongue
Put cup to mouth
Let a nice amount of drink into mouth
Close mouth
Tilt head back in a quick, jerky motion while opening throat to let pills slide down in the current

Apparently, it’s pretty funny looking, but hey, I never choke.

casheroo's avatar

@essieness I’ve been told I look funny when I do it as well. My husband doesn’t even need anything to drink to swallow pills! I think thats crazy

essieness's avatar

@casheroo I’ve seen people swallow them dry. It gags me just thinking about it.

chyna's avatar

@essieness My ex used to just chew up aspirin. Yuk.

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