Drug and Supplements

Pill Splitting Guidelines

Written by
Dr. Hemalatha
and medically reviewed by Dr. Velusamy M.p

Published on Oct 17, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  2 min read



This article discusses the Do's and the Don'ts of pill splitting, which is one of the most common doubts that everyone has.

Pill Splitting Guidelines

Pill splitting means splitting a pill. There is no danger in splitting pills when your doctor agrees. One should learn to do it properly and should split pills only on recommendation. Pill splitting will be considered both in case of giving small dose and multiple doses.

Advantage of Pill Splitting:

  • The main advantage of pill splitting is, it is cost effective. A person can collect less number of tablets and can have it for more number of days. That is, two doses of medicine for the price of one. It is also helpful in people who find it difficult to swallow tablets.
  • Pill splitting is not suitable for all drugs. The tablets which are suitable for splitting will be available pre-scored. That is, a line runs across the pill. But, all lines are not meant for splitting. Mostly round pills are suitable for splitting.

Pill Splitter

One should not use scissors or knife to split the tablet. Some tablets will get crushed while splitting. If the tablet does not split into two equal halves, then the incorrect dosage may result in health risk. So, it can be done through a simple, inexpensive device called pill splitter. In pill splitter, the tablet has to be placed and pressed in order to split it into equal halves or quarters or multiple small doses.

Drugs Suitable for Split:

FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has issued a list of drugs which can be split and also the warnings and risks. Most of the drugs which are prescribed for the treatment of high cholesterol (statins), high blood pressure and depression will be suitable for split.

Medicines suitable for safe split are as follows: (a) Atorvastatin, (b) Lovastatin, (c) Rosuvastatin, (d) Pravastatin, (e) Simvastatin, (f) Amlodipine, (g) Atenolol, (h) Doxazosin, (i) Lisinopril, (j) Metoprolol, (k) Quinapril, (l) Citalopram, (m) Clonazepam, (n) Olanzapine, (o) Paroxetine, (p) Sertraline, (q) Finasteride, (r) Sildenafil, (s) Tadalafil, (t) Vardenafil, (u) Levothyroxine, (v) Metformin

Drugs Not Suitable for split

Medicines not suitable for split are Oxycodone (pain), Omeprazole (heart burn), Cetirizine (allergy), anti-seizure medications, birth control pills, blood thinners such as Warfarin and Coumadin and chemotherapy drugs.

Factors That Affect Pill Splitting

  • Hard outer coated tablet - Hard outer coating will make it tough to split and it will also alter the absorption in our body.
  • Extended release pill - This tablet will be formulated such that it will release the medicine slowly in our body throughout the day and this property will get affected because of splitting.
  • Small pills, which cannot get split.
  • Capsules have to be taken as a whole always as it contains gel or powder in it.
  • One should not split a vial. If medicine is exposed to oxygen it may degrade the content and affect the drugs.

In general, it is considered as a risky practice. But, medical advisors encourage this and it should be followed according to the guidelines. Whenever you decide to split a tablet, it is a must to get consent from your specialist doctor. One should not split the pill in advance. It should be split only during the time of intake.

For further information regarding pill splitting, consult a general practitioner online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/general-practitioner

Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read




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