Counter-intuitively, tipping the head back may exacerbate swallowing difficulties
Take pills with food
Place the pill in soft, mushy food that is meant to be partially chewed (e.g. bananas)
Swallow with water in a different way
Swallow the pill with water sucked through a straw or from a plastic water bottle
Use a lubricant
Spray lubricant (e.g. Pill Glide) in the mouth or spray onto pills (e.g. Spray'n Swallow)
Consider crushing tablet or opening capsule
Some medications may be modified (crushed, opened) and placed in food (e.g. apple sauce, chocolate syrup)
Discuss with pharmacist regarding specific medications
(2015) Presc lett 22(1): 6
Images: Related links to external sites (from Bing)
These images are a random sampling from a Bing search on the term "Difficulty Swallowing Pill." Click on the image (or right click) to open the source website in a new browser window. Search Bing for all related images
FPnotebook.com is a rapid access, point-of-care medical reference for primary care and emergency clinicians. Started in 1995, this collection now contains 6546 interlinked topic pages divided into a tree of 31 specialty books and 722 chapters. Content is updated monthly with systematic literature reviews and conferences.
Although access to this website is not restricted, the information found here is intended for use by medical providers. Patients should address specific medical concerns with their physicians.
This page was written by Scott Moses, MD, last revised on 1/9/2015 and last published on 3/3/2018.