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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Taking medicines when swallowing is difficult

Te kai i ngā rongoā ina taumaha ana te horomi

If swallowing is difficult, you might have trouble taking medications. Liquids may not wash down a pill, or dissolvable pills may start to melt on your tongue and stick.

If you place a pill at the back of your tongue, your drink or food will gather it and push it to the back of your mouth so you can swallow it.

Capsules might be easier than pills. Place these at the front of your mouth and let them float down with your drink.

It may be easier to take pills by placing them in a spoonful of smooth food such as yoghurt, custard, stewed fruit or porridge.

Your speech-language therapist can give you some tips on how to make taking your medications easier.

Some medications are available in different forms. Talk to your pharmacist about other ways you can take your pills. For example, crushed, chopped or as a liquid. Do not crush them or make any other changes until you have cleared it with your pharmacist. Altering pills can affect how the medication works and can be dangerous.

Written by speech-language therapists, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Waitaha Canterbury. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2023.


See also:

How to take medicines

Page reference: 336776

Review key: HISWD-121957