A Hard Pill to Swallow

fix for swallowing pillsIt was winter.  I was eight years old, and my ten-year-old sister and I had both been diagnosed with bronchitis.  Our family had a country doctor, who at the time prescribed antibiotics at the same pace that mothers requested.  Our mother was handed two grey slips scrawled in handwriting only a pharmacist could decipher.

Since we had both dealt with bronchitis before, we knew what was coming.  We loved our prescriptions for amoxicillin; each spoonful tasted like liquid bubble gum.  As our mother walked out of the pharmacy with our medicines, my sister’s horror could not be contained: her bag contained a canister of tablets instead of suspension.  Because of her age, her recommended dosage had gone up, and she was now required to swallow a pill.

The drama that ensued at home was somewhere between comical and horrible.  The tablet gagged her. Apple juice spewed all over the kitchen table.  Mom encouraged her to try again, and this time, the tablet had begun to dissolve, and it stuck – leaving a bitter taste that lingered in her throat.  She cried and protested.  Swallowing a pill seemed a fate worse than death.

I remember my mother crushing the pill into powder and stirring it into a tablespoon of grape jelly. Finally, my sister was able to choke down the medication.

Obviously, we both survived the bronchitis.  But it took many months before my sister was able to swallow a pill without great difficulty.

Is there someone in your family who has trouble swallowing a pill?  Brian’s Pharmacies has some great solutions for you.

Learning to Swallow a Pill

A good way to learn to swallow pills is by starting small.  Stop by the cake decorating aisle at the supermarket and select sprinkles and another package of slightly larger decors.  On the way out, pick up a package of tic-tacs in a favorite flavor. Start your child out with a sprinkle on the back of his or her tongue, followed by a drink of water.  If he or she is successful 5 times, work up to a larger decor, then finally the tic-tac.  If your child is able to swallow a tic-tac successfully, chances are very good he or she will have success with most prescription medications.

Alternate Solution from Brian’s Pharmacies

If there is no success after practicing, or if there are other reasons that your loved one can’t swallow a pill, talk to one of our staff about compounding.  Many medications can be crafted by hand into the form that the patient needs.  Some patients need a liquid suspension instead of a tablet; others need a dosage that is not mass-produced; still others may need a compounded medication because of an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the mass produced form.

Brian’s Pharmacies is here to help your family.  If compounding sounds like it may be the answer to the pill problem, talk to us about crafting a medication that works for your patient.

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