You’re not alone. It is estimated that 30%-40% of the population has some sort of difficulty swallowing a tablet or capsule.
Food is normally chewed before swallowing, and swallowing a tablet whole requires us to consciously override this normal behaviour as well as dealing with the gag reflex which nature has provided to help prevent us from choking.
Children can usually begin to manage this process at the age of 10 but for a lot of people, for a range of reasons, they are never able to swallow a tablet or capsule whole, and it remains an embarrassing secret for the whole of their adult lives.
Anyone, at any age, can have an aversion or inability to swallow tablets, although the incidence increases over the age of 50. This is due to the rise in health conditions associated with dysphasia, or swallowing difficulties.
Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia, some cancers, multiple sclerosis and many neurological conditionsare just some of the health problems that can cause dysphagia.
Your pharmacist is perfectly placed to be the health professional to open up to, if you, or someone you care for, has this problem.
Many medications cannot just be crushed or opened because it may markedly affect how the medication works and may even cause dangerous side effects. Your pharmacist is able to advise you on which medications are safe to crush and which are definitely not.
Your compounding pharmacist can go even further. We are often called upon to solve this dilemma for patients ranging from babies, to the elderly, and even to those patients with fur or feathers.