Skip to content

    50+: Live Better, Longer

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Cutting Pills in Half Could Pose Problems

    Pharmacists Suggest Pill-Splitting Practice Can't Be Mandated
    By
    WebMD Health News

    May 19, 2004 -- Cutting pills in half is a widely accepted strategy for lowering the cost of prescription medications, and there has even been talk by some insurers of mandating the practice for certain drugs. But a new study involving a commonly prescribed muscle relaxant suggests patients may not be getting what they think they are getting when they split pills.

    In pill splitting, a doctor may prescribe a pill with double the needed dose of medication, telling the patient to split the pills and only take half of a pill. This doubles the amount of medication the patient purchased, thereby saving the patient money.

    Researchers found that uneven tablet splitting resulted in varying dosages of the split pill, ranging anywhere from 50% to 150% of appropriate levels. Researchers say this occurred regardless of whether a commercial available pill splitter or a kitchen knife was used to cut the pills.

    Pharmacy professor Thomas Cook, PhD, who led the study, tells WebMD that while pill splitting may be an acceptable practice in certain situations, it could easily lead to problems if used on the wrong drug or for the wrong patient.

    "You may realize a cost savings in terms of the price of the drug, but there are also questions of efficacy and safety when people don't end up taking the prescribed dosage of a drug," he says.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    blueberries
    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.
    smiling after car mishap
    9 things no one tells you about getting older.
     
    fast healthy snack ideas
    Article
    how healthy is your mouth
    Tool
     
    dog on couch
    Tool
    doctor holding syringe
    Slideshow
     
    champagne toast
    Slideshow
    Two women wearing white leotards back to back
    Quiz
     
    Man feeding woman
    Slideshow
    two senior women laughing
    Article