For many people taking tablets or capsules can be difficult.. This guide contains tips for swallowing bills.
I have to take extra calcium every day, I really have a hard time swallowing pills, especially the big ones. I found a solution, I put the pill between a paper towel and bang on it with a hammer until it is a fine powder. I sprinkle it every morning on what I am having for breakfast; i. e.: toast, cereal, eggs, etc. You can do this with any daily pill you have to take.
By Eileen from Yorktown, VA
Editor's Note: Slow release or capsule type pills should be taken whole to work correctly. Consult with your doctor before grinding up your prescription medications.
How do you swallow a pill? I am trying to swallow the smallest pill ever, but I just can't do it. I'm scared I will choke on it, because I have in the past. Any ideas?
By A K
I didn't see this until tonight, but I have 2 ideas for you, which I and my friend Bill have used to give pills to pets. 1 - You can coat the pill with a little butter and it will go down easier. 2 - There is a product called Pill Glide which is available in drugstores and grocery stores that does the same thing.
I have a lot of difficulty taking pills and vitamins - they would get stuck to the roof of my mouth or they would end up in the front of my mouth when swallowing water. I had better luck just swallowing them with saliva. I was thinking I have no trouble swallowing food, so what I do is when I'm eating I take my pills just before I swallow my well chewed food. I put a pill or 2 in my mouth closer to the back of my mouth and I swallow everything goes down perfectly, no more choking or pills rolling around and not going down.
If you have trouble swallowing pills, there is a very easy solution. Place the pill in your mouth, then drink your water (or other liquid) through a straw. There's something about the closed-mouth sucking motion that helps the pill go down. Make sure to continue drinking (with or without the straw) after the pill has gone down. Most medications should be followed with a full (6-8 oz.) glass of water.
By AuntieBim from Tehachapi, CA
Swallowing pills can be hard for some people. Here are some tips to help. Post your ideas.
A great trick/solution with concrete step by step advice!
My new 14 year old stepson had never once been able to swallow a pill. His major problem, as I assume it is with most people, was that his tongue kept involuntarily pinning the pill against the roof of his mouth when he went to swallow, keeping it from traveling to his throat. Therefore it occurred to me the key must be to control the tongue reflex.
Here's what we did if you want to try the same:
1. Pour a medium amount of water into your mouth, tilt your head back and let it settle back towards your throat
2. Pop the pill into your mouth as far back as you can toss it, hopefully to the point where it's submerged in water
3. Gently hold your tongue between your teeth, letting it stick out just a little
4. Swallow the water SMOOTHLY in one gulp while holding the tip of your tongue softly between your teeth until your done swallowing.
If you don't seize up and swallow in jerky motions, the pill will slide down easily before your tongue can slip back and trap it in your mouth. If you need to, stick your tongue out a little farther.
We practiced the above first with water only, then with progressively bigger candies, and finally with a pill. Ultimately we solved an 8 year problem in about 20 minutes. Give it a shot.
When I have to take a large pill I get a little pat of butter and coat the pill. It goes down very easily. No more cutting the calcium pills into small pieces.
Source: I got this idea from my dog's vet. This works good with animals too.
By tatsie from Montgomery, Al
When you are trying to take a capsule, you should put it in your mouth with a sip of water then tilt your head forward (down). When the capsule floats to the back of your mouth, swallow it.
Swallowing pills can be hard for some people. Here are some tips to help. Post your ideas.
An easy way to swallow pills (aspirins etc.) is to tilt your head down, that way the pills will float to the top and can be swallowed easily. Works great!
By Granpa Bill (04/05/2005)
Take a sip of water first to moisten your mouth. Leave a little sip of water in your mouth before taking the pill. It will help it go down faster and keep the bitter taste off your tongue. God Bless. (04/05/2005)
What I always did for my kids was to smash them up and put it in apple sauce. Then you don't have the taste of the medicine. (04/05/2005)
When my kids where young I bought some Tic Tacs. I had them learn to swallow with these. So they wouldn't eat them all, I told them that once they had swallowed three in a row they could have the rest of the pack. I am so glad they learned so early. They are better at swallowing than I am. I still remember being in high school and gagging to swallow any meds. (04/05/2005)
I find that if you lift one arm above your head, elbow bent - it works! Not sure how. (04/05/2005)
I find that taking pills with milk helps. The milk is a heavy liquid and helps to push the pills down. A carbonated beverage also helps. It seems that the carbonation keeps the pill afloat and goes down much easier. (04/07/2005)
I have tried everything you can imagine--water, seltzer, tipping my head forward and back, elbow above my head, pudding, yogurt, ice cream, jello and many other tricks. What I have found to work EVERY TIME is using fruit roll-ups. I just rip off a small piece and wrap the pill in it. Then I put another small piece in my mouth and just kinda pretend to chew it and swallow--it has worked for me every time. I think it works because the fruit roll-up doesn't fall apart like pudding, ice cream, yogurt or jello. It's strong enough to stay together and easy enough to swallow. Good luck! (05/18/2005)
By Pam K
Even the smallest pill gets stubborn for me. I take a piece of food - any kind - and get it chewed up and ready to swallow and put the pill in it before I swallow. Works great. Even the big "horse pills" work great this way - at least for me. (05/18/2005)
Pills, particularly ones that taste awful, can be easily swallowed when pushed into a piece of jello gigglers. The extra thick jello does not fall apart like regular jello, does not need chewed, goes down smoothly and dissolves quickly. My doctor said that this method is even acceptable for "empty stomach" medications. Makes giving children pills a breeze. (07/02/2005)
My 9 year old daughter argued with me for about 2 hours and would not even try to swallow her pills. As a last resort, I left her alone with your website and she came up with her own method based on some of yours. Here goes: "Put a hole in a marshmallow and stick it in (the pill). You slowly take bites of the marshmallow, until you can see the pill. Then you bite it out quickly, stick it in the back of your mouth and swallow it." It worked for her and she was thrilled that she got to eat extra dessert! (04/12/2007)
I have a GREAT tip! I can swallow most pills just fine. But this one pill I just got is impossible to swallow. You literally can't swallow it! Every time I try, it just gets all powdery and leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. I end up spitting it out and the pill turns into powder. I take the powder and put it in pudding, applesauce, yogurt etc. Mix it up and you can't even tell you are eating the pill! Hope this helps! (01/24/2008)
By Rainbow Confetti
This has always worked for me when I can't get the pills down. Get a tasty cake or any type of pastry and lightly shove the pill into it and take a decent sized bite. Chew around the pill until the pastry is ready to swallow and just swallow normally. It feels like there is nothing there. (03/27/2008)
My little sister CANNOT swallow pills without gagging and freaking out, but tonight after trying many of the suggestions on this site, she found that massaging her neck downwards, as if coaxing the pill helped her a great deal. (05/03/2008)
Actually, I have been taking vitamins lately. What I found out that helped was I tried drinking V8 tomato juice instead of Gatorade, which was a lot thicker (V8).
Also, I think what helped me was not having my mouth full of the beverage. Just maybe a little less than a mouth full. This made the pills not float up to the top of my mouth, which when I swallowed, it made me gag a little. (06/09/2008)
By personal experience
I have been struggling trying to find something that would work for me. I tried everything, milk, marshmallow, titling my head back and forward. But they didn't work for me. Then I tried sticking a tic-tac (my fake pill) in a grape. I put it in the top center and then chewed for a bit and breathed and just swallowed the grape and the pill. Sometimes the pill slipped out but with my tongue I pushed it back into the grape. I hope this helps! (06/22/2008)
You don't know how much I've struggled to take pills for years. I would sit in a room on my own for literally hours just staring at this stupidly tiny white thing that I just couldn't swallow cause it'd disintegrate and taste horrible, or just not go down with water because I was thinking about it so much and worrying all the time because they had to be swallowed whole. It was the worst part of my day which I would dread.
I tried swallowing with head down, head up, with coke, with apple sauce etc., and I found that if you took it with chewed up food it was easier but you still knew it was there so my throat would seize up.
However, once my friends, my grandpa, my parents etc. had all laughed at me, told me I was a wimp, teased me about how small it was, and so on, I couldn't take it. I sat down with the pills and a new determination, took a gulp of water and forced it to the back of my throat and swallowed. Miraculously, it went down. And the other one. And so far, it's all good.
And I know it sounds cheesy and won't help you if hundreds of people have told you it before, but it is mind over matter. You can do it, everybody! (08/15/2008)
I tried to find that darn Jello gigglers that Becky suggested but couldn't find it. The people at the store said to try a health food store. So tonight I went and bought those Jello cups and just placed the pill on a spoon full of jello and drank some water, too, and it worked. Also, I had the pill cut in half with a pill cutter for extra easy swallowing. (09/13/2008)
By Pam G.
I found a way that worked AMAZINGLY for me, and the other person I told. What I did was just use ice water to swallow the pill down. My brain was too busy trying to stop the ice from getting in my mouth that even a horse pill went down without any problem/effort. That was the first horse pill I've ever taken as well. After a week of using the ice water method, I was able to swallow horse pills fine with just water, and the same happened for the other person I told this method to. I was 20 years old at the time, and I never expected to be able to down horse pills. I hope this helps you guys as much as it did for me. (10/30/2008)
I hate swallowing pills! The best way I have found just involves a piece of carrot. I chew the carrot up (but not so much that it turns into bits that are too little), shove the pill in amongst it all and swallow. Because the carrot it still a little hard and crunchy, you can't distinguish the pill amongst it. And voila! It goes down with the carrot before you even notice. :) (01/27/2009)
Ok, so I know it sounds gross, but if you put your pill in grits it works like a charm. I have always been afraid of swallowing pills because I hate the feeling of swallowing a huge, hard pill. The grits kinda soften the pill without messing up the structure of the pill. Try it, it worked for me at least! (11/12/2009)
I had the worst time swallowing pills until I tried with food and it went down like a charm. It helps if the food is hot too, because if it's hot, all my brain is thinking about is getting it down my throat and not the tablet, so it just went down with the food. (05/04/2010)