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Difficulty swallowing pills or vitamins? Follow this advice

It is never easy being the person who can’t swallow pills… especially when your family is in the vitamin pill business. It was like being the shoemaker’s daughter without any shoes.

There are strengths in numbers though, and it was comforting to learn that there are over 100 million Americans who have similar issues with pills. It has also been gratifying to see more and more attention paid to those of us, who, for whatever the reason, can’t or have difficulty swallowing pills. This problem is slowly but surely coming to light.

While there might still be a stigma associated with having a hard time with pills, there are various options you should consider.


Do admit it

Don’t be self-conscious or ashamed to tell your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare provider that you have trouble swallowing pills. While it’s never fun to go the pharmacy counter to pick up your prescription and it’s assumed your medication has been prescribed for a child, it’s better than not taking the medicine you need to help you feel better.

Do research online

Look for new delivery forms, dosages and methods to taking what you need. Whether it’s a vitamin, OTC medication, or prescription drug, there are new and unique formulas coming to the market each and every day so try to find things that will work for you. Alternative delivery forms such as powders, sprays, chewies, melts and effervescents are being offered by more and more companies so keep checking.

Do try alternative therapies

Whether it’s acupuncture, going to the gym regularly, making spa appointments, or cooking healthy meals enriched with nutrients, there are different things to try to help your overall health that don’t involve swallowing pills. These activities can help release energy, manage stress levels and help support your wellness so there will be less need for gagging down that horse pill.

Do stick with what works

You can always try to mask the pill in yogurt, apple sauce or ice cream and try to swallow it that way. There are also flavor enhancers for liquids that taste like S*#! so they can be helpful too.


Do not be bullied

Don’t let anyone talk you into taking a medicine in a form you know won’t work for you. It’s pointless to do nothing just because you’re embarrassed that you can’t take a pill. It’s more embarrassing to not be your own health advocate.

Do not avoid going to the doctor

There are so many options available across the board that your doctor should be able to find a suitable substitution for the pill they would normally prescribe. It may just take them a little longer to find the proper form and dosage, but as their patient, that is their responsibility to you. If they don’t take your needs seriously in helping you find alternatives to pills, or if they mock you or tell you to get over it, it’s time to find a new doctor!

Do not crush or cut your pills without speaking to a doctor or pharmacist first

Some prescriptions, OTCs and supplements are timed released. This means that the nutrients are released at certain times in the body so that it can work with the digestive system to aid in maximum absorption. By cutting or crushing the pill if it is timed release it will become less effective and your body may not get the desired effect. So make sure to speak to a medical professional before you crush your pill to put in applesauce or cut it in pieces to make it a size that is easier to take/swallow.

Do not get frustrated by everyone else’s advice

Whether it’s practicing with M&Ms or tic tacs, putting the pill on the front of or the back of the tongue, or taking a big gulp or a small sip of water, it doesn’t matter if it works for anyone else if it doesn’t work for you. Keep searching until you find something that works for you… unless nothing works, rest assured there are so many options now available for people like us so we can still take our prescriptions and vitamins.

Jumping cartoon

Swallowing your medication doesn’t have to be a daunting task, though for some people it is. Take comfort in knowing that patience and practice can be key to learning how, but there are thankfully other options available if nothing works. The most important thing to remember is to be open and honest with your physician and pharmacist so a comprehensive plan can be made and one that you can actually adhere to following.

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Hallie RichFounder and President

Hallie Rich is the third generation in her family to be involved in the vitamin industry. She worked side by side with both her father and grandmother at Evergood Products Corp, her family’s business, whose subsidiaries were responsible for th...

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