Tips for Swallowing Medicines

Topic Overview

Some people have a hard time swallowing medicines. Large pills or capsules can get stuck in your throat, especially if your mouth is dry. Sometimes stuck pills can lead to heartburn and other problems. Try these tips to help make swallowing easier:

  • Take a few sips of water to moisten your throat before you swallow the medicine.
  • Stand up or sit up when you swallow pills.
  • Drink a full glass of water to swallow the medicine.
  • After you swallow the medicine, don't lie down right away.
  • Some pills or capsules can be crushed or taken apart to make swallowing easier. Check with your pharmacist to find out if it's okay to do this with your medicine.
  • If you're still having problems, talk with your doctor or pharmacist to get some other ideas. There may be a liquid medicine you can use. Or your medicine may come in a smaller pill that you can try.

Some medicines may be taken with food, which can help you swallow the medicine more easily. Be sure to follow the directions included with the medicine on the best way to take it.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
Last Revised March 9, 2012

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