If you are having trouble swallowing your medicine because it’s a big pill or because it tastes unpleasant, here are a few tips that can help.
Having a hard time swallowing big pills?
Some medicines can be chewed before swallowing. In some cases, you can also crush pills or open capsules to mix the medication with a bit of fruit sauce or yogurt.
But whatever you do, consult your pharmacist before cutting or crushing your pills as, in some instances, the pill coating may be key to its effectiveness or may serve to mask its unpleasant taste. Your pharmacist will also tell you whether you should avoid taking the medication with certain foods.
You may also be able to get around the problem by switching to a different formulation, like a syrup or suppository, where available. If needed, your pharmacist will contact your doctor to find an alternative solution.
Dealing with the unpleasant taste
The longer a medicine stays in your mouth, the worse it tastes. That’s why you should swallow it quickly and chase it down with a big swig of water. It’s also best not to cut, chew, or crush the pill.
You can also try to mask the taste of medication by taking it with a bit of honey or maple syrup. Be careful with children. It’s not always a good idea to mix medicine in food, as they may subsequently refuse to eat that food, even when it’s not mixed with medication. Instead, try asking your pharmacist whether they can add a flavour to the product. This may be an option with liquid medicines (syrups or suspensions).
Another approach is to temporarily dull your tastebuds by sucking on an ice cube just before taking the medicine or, alternatively, stimulating them with a strong flavour, for example, by rinsing your mouth with mint-flavoured mouthwash beforehand.
Since the sense of smell plays a key role in the perception of taste, sometimes pinching your nose can help reduce the unpleasant taste.
If you’ve tried everything and are still having trouble, talk to your pharmacist. Whatever happens, don’t stop your treatment! Your pharmacist will find a solution for you.