How to take tablets
- When taking tablets, it is important to take them as directed by your doctor. If you are unsure of when to take your tablets or how many to take, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
- Most tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. This is especially important for ‘modified release’and ‘enteric coated’ tablets as these tablets have a special coating that would be destroyed by chewing the tablet.
- Some tablets may need to be taken on an empty stomach and some are best taken with or after food. Pay careful attention to your medicines label or the information leaflet that you get with your medicines, as these should provide you with such information but if in any doubt, or if you have any other questions or concerns, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist. It is important to follow these instructions to ensure your medicines work properly and to protect you from unwanted side effects.
- Some tablets have special directions for how to take them. If your medicine has special instructions, it is important to follow these as not doing so may stop your medicine from working properly or may increase the risk of you experiencing unwanted side effects from the medicine.
- For tablets that should be taken on an empty stomach, you should take the tablet an hour before food. For tablets that should be taken with or after food, a small amount of food is usually sufficient.
Tips for swallowing tablets:
Many people instinctively tilt their head backwards when swallowing a tablet but this may actually make it harder to swallow as it narrows the pipe connecting your mouth to your stomach. Instead, putting your head down when swallowing will help to make the pipe wider and should make the tablet easier to swallow. If you have difficulty swallowing your tablets, you should speak to your doctor. It may be possible to switch you to a different medicine in a different form or a liquid alternative.
Many people are tempted to crush their tablets if they have problems swallowing them, however, this can often be unsafe, and therefore you should never crush a tablet unless you have checked that it is safe to do so with your pharmacist or doctor.