I Can't Swallow Pills!

One of the ‘big’ steps that typically occurs as children grow up, amongst other things of course, is the transition from liquid or chewable medicine to hard tablets and capsules that you swallow. However, this transition is easier for some than for others. In fact, some people grow up and never quite get comfortable with the idea of swallowing pills at all. They can’t do it.

First, if you are one of these individuals, I want you to know that this is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Some people are just born with a very strong gag reflex, and this often contributes to difficulty in swallowing pills. Others have had a frightening experience with a pill getting stuck, and they simply are not willing to try it again.

It is, however, possible for many people to learn to swallow pills even as an adult. As a pharmacist I have talked many people through this process. It can be learned, the fear can be overcome, and you can get on with swallowing pills like everyone else.

Here are some things to try:

1) Cookie crumbs. Seriously. Take the smallest piece of a soft cookie and swallow it without chewing. Place the piece on the center of your tongue and swallow at least half a glass of water. Only think about the water. Concentrate on getting half the glass down, thinking nothing about the crumb. Once mastered, move on to larger bits of cookie.

2) Candy Nerds. Nerds are very little candy bits that come in a box. Practice swallowing with these.

3) Tic-tacs. These are slightly bigger than Nerds, and should be used after you are comfortable with the Nerds and/or cookie crumbs. They can be cut in half if you want.

4) Trying with a real pill. Once you have built up your confidence, follow these steps to try swallowing your first capsule or tablet:

A) Drink some water to wet your mouth

B) Place the pill in the center of your tongue

C) Drink a full glass of water thinking ONLY about drinking the water. Forget the pill. It will, I assure you, go down completely on its own.

5) If these techniques fail, consider purchasing a GREAT device known as an EZ Pill Swallowing Cup.

An example of such a cup can be found on Amazon.com.

Soon you will be swallowing pills like a pro! I hope the information provided has proved useful.