There are many reasons for wanting to crush a tablet or pill before taking it, for example if you have difficulty swallowing the medicine or if it has an unpleasant taste. By being careful about drugs that can and cannot be crushed, you can easily pass the drug by crushing it and mixing it with food or drink.
Part 1 of 4: check if the medicine can be crushed
Step 1. Consult your doctor or pharmacist
Before going any further, check whether the medicine can be crushed. In some cases, it is simply forbidden to crush the drug. This could prevent it from working properly and it could even become dangerous in some cases.
- Long-acting drugs should never be crushed. If you crush them, you could interfere with the release mechanism of the active substances and cause too much dose to be absorbed at one time.
- Medicines with delayed effects should not be crushed either. These medicines are coated with a substance that is designed to protect the medicine from stomach acids or to prevent it from irritating the stomach. You will alter this mechanism by crushing it.
Step 2. Read the dosage of the drug
You should be able to identify which drugs should not be crushed by checking the dosage. Observe the presence of certain prefixes or suffixes which indicate that the tablet should not be crushed.
- Here is a list of the main prefixes or suffixes that you will come across on the dosage of drugs that you should not overwrite: 12 hours, 24 hours, CC, CD, CR, ER, LA, delayed, SA, Slo-, SR, XL, XR or XT.
- Drugs that are resistant to gastric juices sometimes have the prefix EN- or EC-.
Step 3. Ask for alternative medications
Many drugs are available in other forms, for example liquid or by injection. If it is not possible to crush the medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is another form of your medicine.
- Oral solutions allow you to drink the medicine. If they are not available, your doctor or pharmacist will tell you whether it is possible to prepare a liquid form of your medicine.
- In some cases, it is possible to obtain an injectable form. Consult your doctor or your pharmacist.
Part 2 of 4: Obtain the materials
Step 1. Obtain a dose of the medicine
It is best to crush the medicine one dose at a time so as not to spoil it or worry that it is no longer working. Also, avoid crushing different medicines together unless you have had the permission of your doctor or pharmacist.
Step 2. Obtain the tools
There are several ways to crush a tablet. All are the same.
- Buying a tablet crusher is perhaps the easiest method.
- A plastic freezer bag with a small hammer or heavy cup. Make sure the plastic bag is dry and clean before using it.
- A small bowl or cup with a sturdy spoon.
- A mortar and a pestle.
Step 3. Obtain water, if necessary
You can soak the tablet in water. This will soften it and it will be easier for you to crush it.
Step 4. Choose a food or drink to mix in the crushed tablet
Make sure that it is possible to take the medicine with food or drink other than water. Some drugs could interact with food or drink and cause food poisoning or other harmful effects.
Part 3 of 4: crush the tablet
Step 1. Make sure the tools you are using are dry and clean
You don't want to contaminate your medicine. It could have harmful effects.
Step 2. Use a tablet crusher
For this method, follow the manufacturer's instructions. There are different types depending on the brand. Find out which works best for your needs.
Step 3. Use a freezer bag
Place the tablet in a clean, dry freezer bag. Close the bag and place it on a flat, hard surface.
- Crush the tablet with a hammer or heavy cup.
- Rescue the bag. Make sure you have crushed the large pieces of tablets.
- Crush the tablet again. Hit less hard this time. You may have to start over several times before the pill is completely crushed.
Step 4. Use a small bowl and spoon or mortar and pestle
Place the tablet in a clean, dry cup or mortar. Soak the tablet in a little water for a few minutes. It's optional, but it softens it. You will then need less force to crush it.
- Crush the tablet once with the spoon or pestle, hitting hard. Make sure the tablet does not come out of the container.
- Scrape off the ends of the tablets hanging on the walls.
- Crush the tablet again. Use less force this time. You will have to start over several times before the tablet is completely crushed.
Step 5. Clean the tools
You should clean the leftover tablets from any utensils that you are going to reuse, as they may react with other medicines in the future. Again, mixing several drugs could have harmful effects.
Part 4 of 4: ingest the crushed tablet
Step 1. Make sure the medicine can be taken with food and fluids other than water
Some drugs interact with certain foods and drinks, affecting their effectiveness and can even cause food poisoning or other side effects. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
Step 2. Mix the powdered medicine with food or drink
If you can mix the medicine with food or drink, choose the food you want. It is best that you consult your doctor or pharmacist to find out whether the medicine should not be mixed with certain foods.
- For food, try applesauce, pudding, peanut butter, etc.
- For drinks, try chocolate milk, fruit juices, etc.
Step 3. Take the equivalent of one dose of medicine
It is extremely important that you take a dose of the medicine, not more and not less. The doses of drugs are calculated precisely and you have to follow them.
- If you mix the resulting powder with a tablet in a whole jar of applesauce, you need to eat the jar whole.
- If you mix two crushed tablets in a jar of applesauce (two doses, one in the morning and one in the evening), eat half the jar in the morning and the other half in the evening.
- To make it easier for you to collect the powder, cut out one of the corners of the freezer bag.
- If you are not sure whether or not the medicine can be crushed, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
- Leaning forward can also help you swallow a pill in case you can't crush it. This will help you take the tablets and pills. Put the medicine on your tongue, drink some water and tilt your head forward as you swallow.
- When you cannot crush the medicine, it might be easier for you to swallow it with the plastic bottle method. It is all the more useful for large tablets. Place the tablet on your tongue, then close your lips tightly around the neck of the bottle. Inhale the water while tilting your head back and swallowing.
- Only crush one type of medicine at a time. Some drugs interact with others, making them less effective and could even cause side effects.
- If you prepare more than one dose of medicine, you can store the rest in a closed container at room temperature for 24 hours. Throw away the crushed medicines with water after 24 hours.
- Be careful with high concentration herbal supplements. They could burn your tongue or leave an unpleasant feeling on your tongue.
- When taking medicines crushed with food or drink, for example milk or applesauce, be sure not to mix them so as not to cause food poisoning or other side effects.
- Never crush a tablet to sniff it.
- Be sure to see your doctor if you have trouble swallowing your tablets. You may have problems with your nerves or muscles that prevent you from swallowing.