Home Health & Hospice

What are some approaches patients may try to implement themselves to overcome swallowing difficulties, and what are more effective alternatives?

Homecare Insider, September 28, 2015

People who struggle to swallow a capsule or tablet may try instead to chew, crush, or mix it with food or drink. However, some medications are long acting and may get released too quickly if they are not swallowed as ordered. In addition, failure to follow intake instructions may result in the destruction of the protective coating on the medication, causing gastrointestinal irritation. Finally, cutting pills that aren’t scored may also compromise the integrity of the medication. Instead of allowing patients to adopt these homegrown approaches to overcoming swallowing difficulties, providers should consult their speech therapists to assess each affected patient’s specific set of swallowing issues, as well as consult with the individual’s pharmacist to see whether the drug is available in liquid form.