Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Guide to Pill Splitting

Some people are able to split their pills in half in order to save money on prescription drugs. If your doctor can double your normal dose, and you split the pills, you may be able to get a 2-month supply of medicine for the price of one.

But many medications cannot be split safely. The FDA has issued warnings about the risks. So have professional societies representing pharmacists and doctors. This article looks at when pill splitting is safe, and when it’s not.

Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

Over 40, Fit, and Ready to Bare Arms

Madonna and Michelle Obama seem to have little in common. But together, they have awakened American women of a certain age to the allure of tight, toned arms. They've sent the message that those arms and toned, taut bodies may be within reach for other 40-somethings and older. That message has been helped along by a legion of other celebrities who have passed their 40th birthday, yet remain virtually flab-free. The list includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Barkin, and Mary Tyler Moore. But leading...

Read the Over 40, Fit, and Ready to Bare Arms article > >

Pills You Can Split Safely

It's important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start cutting up your pills. In general, however, look for these three signs that a pill is safe to split:

  1. FDA approval. If the FDA has approved a drug for splitting, it will be printed on the package insert.
  2. Thumbs up from your doctor or pharmacist. Before splitting any pill to save money, talk it over with your health care professional or pharmacist.
  3. Scored down the middle. Scored pills are easier to split evenly. But a line down the middle does not automatically make a pill safe to split. Check with your doctor or pharmacist, or look for the FDA approval.

Pills Not Suited for Splitting

If a pill has any of these four qualities, you should not try to cut it in half:

  1. Hard outer coat. Splitting a coated pill can make it harder to swallow and may change the way your body absorbs the medicine.
  2. Extended release. Pills formulated to release medication slowly throughout the day may lose this capability if split in half.
  3. Capsules. Because they contain powder or gel, capsules have to be taken whole.
  4. Small or uneven shape. Some pills are just too difficult to split evenly.

What Could Go Wrong With Splitting Pills?

Even if your doctor or pharmacist says your pills are safe to split, some people run into problems. Think about these potential problems before you decide to try pill splitting.

  1. Uneven dose. For some drugs, the dose has to be so accurate, even a small difference in two halves of a split pill could put your health at risk.
  2. Crushed pills. Some pills can easily turn to powder. A pile of crumbs will be very difficult to break into two equal doses.
  3. Miscommunication. Your doctor may write "1/2 pill" and your pharmacist may see "1 - 2 pills."
  4. Confusion. If you forget to split pills before taking them, you’ll take twice as much of the drug as your doctor intended.
  5. Physical limitations. If a medical condition has made your hands weak or unsteady, or if your vision is impaired, it will be tough to split pills cleanly by yourself.

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing