How to swallow a bitter medicine: 8 steps (with pictures)

How to swallow a bitter medicine: 8 steps (with pictures)
How to swallow a bitter medicine: 8 steps (with pictures)

We live in a time when many illnesses and disorders can be treated with a few pills and spoonfuls of syrup. Unfortunately, many of these drugs have a bitter or unpleasant taste which makes it more difficult. However, there are ways to overcome the taste of the drug and stay healthy at the same time.


Part 1 of 2: swallow syrup

Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 1

Step 1. Check with your pharmacist before mixing any medications

The easiest way to make bitter syrup is to mix it with a drink that tastes better. This isn't a problem with most medications, but you still need to be careful. There may be interactions between the drug and certain fluids. For example, grape juice is known to inhibit the effectiveness of certain drugs, for example Lipitor, Zocor, and Allegra. Check with your pharmacist and ask him what drink he advises you to take with the syrup or if there are any juices that could interfere with the medicine.

Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 2

Step 2. Mix your syrup into a drink with a strong taste

Usually, fruit juices are the best option because they have a strong flavor that can mask the taste of the medicine.

  • Make sure you measure the exact dose of syrups. Pour it into a glass filled with juice or water and drink it quickly.
  • Drink the whole glass to make sure you have the full dose of medicine.
  • Soft drinks may not be the best choice for this method, as it will be difficult for you to swallow quickly due to the bubbles. The milk may also not work well, as mixing it with the medicine may upset your stomach.
  • You could also "rinse your mouth" after taking the syrup by drinking a drink with a more pleasant flavor to make the bitter taste go away.
  • Never mix drugs with alcohol. Alcohol interacts with many medicines, and it can be harmful to drink alcohol while you are taking medicine.
Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 3

Step 3. Ask your pharmacist if they can add flavor to the medicine

Sometimes pharmacists can modify drugs by adding flavorings such as cherry flavor or chewing gum. This will eliminate the bitter taste and pass the medicine more easily. A trained pharmacist should be able to do this for most syrups, including those sold with or without a prescription. If you have trouble taking your medicine because of the taste, ask your pharmacist.

Ask the pharmacist what tastes he can give the medicine

Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 4

Step 4. Leave the medicine in the refrigerator before taking it

Medicines are generally less tasty when they are cold. If you cannot dilute the medicine, you can try serving it cold to reduce the bitter taste. Leave it in the refrigerator for about an hour before taking it to make sure it is cold enough.

Check with your pharmacist before doing this, as some medications may become less stable if they are cold

Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 5

Step 5. Suck on an ice cube or popsicle before taking the syrup

This will numb the mouth and make it harder to recognize the bitter taste. Once your mouth is numb, you can swallow the medicine quickly without having to taste too much.

  • Suck on an ice cube or popsicle until your mouth goes numb, usually after five minutes. Then drink the syrup quickly before the effect of the ice cream wears off.
  • Keep a glass of water or fruit juice handy. Drink it immediately after the medicine. If you do not drink anything, the medicine will taste bitter after the effect of the ice wears off.

Part 2 of 2: swallowing tablets

Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 6

Step 1. Check with the pharmacist before changing any medication

Many methods of taking a tablet are by powdering it or breaking it into small pieces and mixing it with food. Before doing this, you must confirm that it will not reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Some tablets are coated with a substance that dissolves slowly and can be poisonous if you powder it. For example, Oxycontin is coated in a substance that dissolves very slowly and can cause an overdose if you powder it. There are other common over-the-counter medications that you shouldn't squash like Motrin, Claritrin-D, and Bayer's Aspirin.

  • You will find on the internet lists of tablets not to be crushed (for example on this site). However, new drugs are constantly appearing, which is why you should check with your pharmacist before crushing a tablet. There are other options if you can't overwrite it.
  • For some drugs (like Oxycontin) there are forms which prevent abuse and which require the drug to be ingested whole, it would be inactivated if you crush or break it.
Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 7

Step 2. Crush the tablet and mix it with food

If you have seen a pharmacist and they have confirmed that it is safe to crush the tablet, use the opportunity to eat something you like. At the same time, be careful with this method, as adding a bitter medicine to your favorite food might change the taste and you might start to dislike it.

  • Before crushing the tablet, moisten it with a few drops of water. Let it soften for fifteen minutes.
  • Buy a tablet crusher. Alternatively, you can use a pestle and mortar or crush the tablet with a spoon. Do this carefully so that you do not lose any medicine.
  • Add the crushed tablet to your food. You can choose any food, but generally sugary foods work best. The sweet taste will be more effective in distracting your taste buds from the taste of the medicine. Try for example ice cream, chocolate or vanilla pudding, honey or chocolate syrup.
Swallow Bitter Medicine Step 10

Step 3. Suck on an ice cube before taking the medicine

If you have to take a tablet that tastes bad and you cannot take it with food, you can use the same method as with the syrup to numb your mouth. Suck on an ice cube until your mouth is numb. Then put the tablet in your mouth, chew it if necessary and swallow it with a sip of water.

If you are using this method, be sure to take a look in your mouth to make sure you have swallowed the tablet. If your mouth is numb, you may not feel the tablet


  • Drink a glass of water before taking the medicine. This will lubricate the mouth and make the medicine pass faster.
  • If your doctor gives you the green light, put butter on the tablet. This allows it to pass through the throat faster.
  • If you have trouble with the tablets, the following method will open your throat and make it easier for you to pass the tablet.

    • Place the tablet on your tongue.
    • Take a sip of water, but do not swallow.
    • Lean your chin towards your chest and swallow in this position.
  • Drink water before and after the medicine. If you are going to drink the syrup, pinch your nose and drink as quickly as possible so as not to taste too much.
  • Flatten a Krema candy and coat the tablet in it. The candy will coat the tablet which will remove the bitter taste and the candy will slide down your throat and not get stuck there.


  • Never take medicine that is not prescribed for you.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can use any of these methods of taking medicines. Foods can inhibit (or react) with certain drugs. Some medicines must be taken on an empty stomach. Always follow the dosage of the medicine you need to take to ensure that it is fully effective and that you get the result you want.

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