Adults Who Can't Swallow Pills

  1. 1
    Where I work now we seem to have cornered the market on adults who can't swallow pills. I'm not referring to children or eldery people with dysphagia. I'm talking about gagging and crying like they were four or something. They whine and beg you. "Please don"t make me take that pill. I can't swallow it, I never have been able to."
    I swear I see at least one a week. I've tried everything, even crushing pills in applesauce. They just can't swallow the med. Of course they don't want an injection or a suppository either.
    Anybody else run into this in the ED?
    Roy Fokker likes this.

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  2. 100 Comments...

  3. 0
    I run in to it every day and I work LTC. These people are alert, orientated, educated people. I hear so many excuses...Can't you cut that in half, I hate the taste, It's still too big...... Makes fun for a med pass that can take up to 2.5 hrs for 26 people. I swear some times I'd like to yell at them and threaten to stick an ng tube in...
  4. 0
    I also in the same situation and dealing with psyche patients is harder these people looked like they want to have some control that's why they insist on a certain way to drink their meds
  5. 3
    Well, being an alert, oriented, educated adult doesn't mean that you don't have your own little psychological quirks. Until two or three years ago, I couldn't swallow pills, either.

    I know why I developed that quirk; it dated back to my first prescription for antibiotic pills for a sore throat. When I had difficulty swallowing them, my dad was going to "make" me swallow them. I coughed, choked, gagged, etc but never swallowed the pills. Until I managed to work myself out of the quirk, I never did, and round capsules are still sometimes difficult.

    I always could get things down with food. Chew up a saltine till just before swallowing, stick the pill in the bolus, and swallow. Now I can get most things down with liquid, and tiny things dry.

    Still, I would suggest a bit of compassion for people who can't swallow pills. Whatever their reason, I'm sure it's as valid as mine was; that doesn't mean logical. I knew for years that it made no sense to be able to swallow a bolus of food containing the pill but to be unable to swallow the pill alone. Knowing it's illogical does not help, nor does knowing that your quirk inspires impatience and contempt in those who are supposed to be helping you. Believe me, this is *not * designed to drive you crazy!

    When I say I worked myself out of this quirk, it was literally that, work. I made a conscious effort, started by taking very small pills with water, caplets, etc. I'm still careful to buy things like Tylenol in caplet form.

    Other than the pill thing, I think I'm reasonably well adjusted.
    tewdles, animal1993, and suanna like this.
  6. 0
    I have a 14yo daughter that couldnt swollow pills. I have no idea where her block about pills came from or why but we decided if she could swollow a bolus of food she could swollow a pill. She does it just like you do santhony and it works for her. I just havent been able to teach that trick to my 21yo niece. She cant swollow pills either, weve tried everything. Her mom says she never would take larger bits of food either and chews things until they literally cant be chewed any more.
  7. 0
    The smallest pill i can swallow is the BC pill. Everything else has to at least be snapped in half, liquid form, or crushed.

    The last time i was in the hospital i brought my own crusher and spliter to do it myself.

    So far i haven't heard anything from a doctor or a nurse about this, thank goodness, because i feel really sorry for the person that would ever belittle me by saying i need to get over it or to stop being a baby. But i'm pretty sure something is said behind my back.
  8. 0
    Unfortunately I have the same problem. I normally just crush them up and take with applesauce.
  9. 0
    I have recently started having problems swallowing pills myself. I can still manage it, but it seems lately they get stuck and I sometimes gag. Don't know know what's up with that, I've never had that problem before.

    My daughter, on the other hand, from the time she has been a small girl, cannot take liquid medicine. She will immediately vomit. She could never tolerate chewables either. She learned at a very young age to swallow pills and preferred injections to oral liquid meds. That's how strong her aversion to the liquids was. Even now at age 15 she can't get the liquid meds to stay down.
  10. 0
    Food bolus is definitely the way to go for two good reasons. First, you don't taste the pill at all. Second, a mouthful of cracker or whatever is slippery; no powdery pill sticking inside your throat.
  11. 2
    Guys, a lot of people can't swallow pills - it is no big deal.

    The only way I learned to do it, is to do the dysphagia swallow. You know, tilt your head forward and swallow, like patients that have had CVAs do. It opens up the esophagus and closes the windpipe (which is why they have stroke patients do so, so that they do not aspirate).

    But if you watch, most people do it the opposite way, by tipping their heads way back and trying to swallow. Which, if you think about it, anatomically, is probably the worst thing that you can do.
    tewdles and trixie333 like this.

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