Is Pill Splitting Safe?
Pill splitting is a common method of saving money on prescriptions. The idea is that you can order double the dose of your medication (usually for a similar price) and then split the pills in half so they last longer. However, there are some special considerations for splitting pills. Here’s what you need to know about the practice so you can do it safely.
Which Pills Can Be Split?
Most pills approved by the FDA for splitting will be scored down the middle, indicating where you should cut the pill. Even if there is no mark on the pill, you can check the patient package insert. This will tell you whether the FDA approves splitting for this pill. You can also talk to your doctor or ask your pharmacist about whether pill splitting is a safe option for any of your medications.
Generally, these pills are not able to be split:
- Pills with special outer coatings
- Extended release or time-released medications
- Unevenly shaped pills
What Is the Best Method for Splitting Pills?
A pill splitter is the best way to cut your pills in half. This will give you the most even cut. Using a knife is not recommended, since you want to make sure the halves are as equal as possible. You can find pill splitters at many pharmacies.
Additionally, make sure you only split one pill at a time. Never split all of your pills at once. This exposes the inside of the pill to the air, and may affect potency.
Is It Dangerous to Split Pills?
There are some risks associated with pill splitting, including:
With any medication, there is the possibility that the dosage is distributed unevenly throughout the pill. When you cut the pill in half, you risk taking uneven doses. This is especially risky for medications that need a precise dose to work.
Mistakes with Dosing
You may forget to split a pill and accidentally take double the dose. Or, there may be a miscommunication on dosing between the doctor and pharmacist. Make sure that you verify the dosage and ask for instructions on splitting when you go to pick up your prescription.
Crushing Pills by Accident
You may accidentally crush your pill when you try to cut it, or the pill may crumble when cut. This makes it hard to get the right dose.
It’s also important to consider your own physical and mental condition. If you have poor eyesight, arthritis, or memory problems, pill splitting might be difficult or risky for you.
If you’re looking for ways to save on your medication, pill splitting may be an option. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether your medication is able to be split. Ask for instructions on how to do it so you can split them safely.
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