Always consult with your physician before making changes to how your medication is administered. This method may not be appropriate for all medications and could be dangerous if used with the wrong medication.
High medication costs getting you down? Pill splitting may be just the answer you are looking for. According to Dr. Carl I. Cohen, professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, this method may save consumers an average of 37% off their prescription costs. With some medications this savings may be as much as 56%.
To see if this method is right for you, you will first need to do your homework. Begin by consulting the list provided or ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medication is available in a dose double your normal dosage (for example, if you normally take a 20 mg dose, is a 40 mg pill available). If it is, ask whether there would be any problems with splitting the tablets or capsules (read further for specific methods to be used). Certain medications require a finely tuned dosage or their pharmacology may be altered if their protective coating is damaged. Zyprexa (olanzapine) is one such medication. It must be used within seven days after being split. Another example is the pain medication Oxycontin. This medication is a time release formulation. Splitting the pill would cause you to receive several hours worth of medication all at once and could be dangerous. Finally, do a cost comparison between the two dosages. If the higher dose is anything less than double the cost for your regular dose then you will be saving money by having your doctor prescribe the higher dose and then splitting it.
To split tablets you will need a pill splitter. Most pharmacies should stock these. You can also purchase them online at many locations. If your medication is in capsule form, you may be able to split it as well by emptying the contents of one capsule into a glass of juice. By drinking half and saving half for the following day you are effectively cutting the dose in half. Remember to refrigerate the mixture.
According to Dr. Cohen this method is appropriate for many psychotropic medications because small differences in dosage do not affect their effectiveness. Please check with your doctor or pharmacist for specifics about your own medication.
This method is not appropriate in cases where patients have no social support, poor eyesight, diminished cognition, disorganized thinking, or impaired dexterity.
Clinical Psychiatry News 27(9):10, 1999.
Pills That Can Be Easily Split
|Effexor||25 mg, 37.5 mg, 50 mg|
|Luvox||25 mg, 50 mg|
|Paxil||10 mg, 20 mg|
|Risperidal||1 mg, 2 mg|
|Serzone||50 mg, 100 mg|
|Zoloft||25 mg, 50 mg|
|Zyprexa||2.5 mg, 5 mg|