How to swallow large tablets and capsules

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BY ADAM SINICKI/HEALTHGUIDANCE

Sometimes it seems as though the average tablet size is getting larger and larger and that manufacturers have no regard for how usable their products are.

These days many tablets are actually only slightly smaller than the average gullet size, meaning one has to develop the skill in order to get it right. In fact, the inability to swallow is actually a recognized condition in itself called “dysphagia.”

Swallowing is actually a pretty complex feat too—utilizing a total of 25 pairs of muscles in the mouth and throat.


Sadly, it’s unlikely that drug companies are going to change their ways any time soon. However, there are a number of techniques to make this a little easier.

Tilting the head down. One tip is to try tilting the head down. While most assume that the head should be tilted back in order to help swallow the water and tablet, the reality is that doing this actually causes the esophagus to close up and the trachea to open. So instead, try tilting the head forward and to force close the windpipe and open up the gullet. This will help the pill to slide down more easily.

The pop bottle method. Another option is to try a technique referred to as the “pop bottle” method, based on research conducted by the University of Heidelberg in Germany. In the study, it was found that this method led to an improvement of 60-percent versus the traditional method. Fill a plastic water bottle and then place the tablet on the tongue as normal. Now close lips around the bottle opening and take a gulp using a sucking motion without letting any air into the bottle or the mouth.

Grinding and splitting. Still another way is to grind the pill down or to split it in half. Discuss with the medical practitioner if the pill is scored down the middle as this is encouraged at times for the user to take a lower dose of the given medication. If it turns out that the pill can be split, then consider grinding it. Many pills that can be split can also be ground up and added to a yogurt or sandwich to make it that much more palatable.

About the author: Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his ti n me in the coffee shops of London, has a BS Psychology degree and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self-improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training as well as writing for websites and magazines.

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