We know medicine should make you better, but if you pop your pills incorrectly, it can have a different effect.
There are many different shapes and sizes of medicines in tablet, pill or capsule form. Some are designed to release medicine slowly into your body over a period of time.
On the other hand, some medicines have a special coating and may be difficult to crush. Sometimes, these will not work properly, or may even be harmful, unless they are swallowed whole.
What happens when you crush medicines
When crushing a tablet or opening a capsule, the whole dose is released after 5 to 10 minutes. Some medicines are designed to release the medicines quickly after taking them, and crushing or opening them is not causing any problems.
But, if your medicine is designed to release the medicine slowly, crushing or opening it could lead to an initial overdose.
Medications that are most often misused are the once-a-day blood pressure medications, which work over 25 hours. Many older people find it hard to swallow the large pill. However, splitting this pill will cause a sudden decrease in blood pressure, which can cause fainting.
If you are not advised to crush, chew or break your medicine, it could release all of the active ingredients into your body immediately. This could be very dangerous.
Some tablets are coated in order to be swallowed easy or to protect the stomach lining from the medication. Because of the coating it is difficult to crush these tablets. Also, the contents might taste unpleasant or irritate the stomach lining.
What if I can’t swallow tablets or capsules?
If you or your child cannot swallow tablets, pills or capsules, ask your doctor for some alternative. There may be a liquid medicine or a tablet that can be dissolved in water, which may be more suitable.
If there is no other alternative, crushing tablets is normally advised by your doctor. For example, he can tell you whether you should: