Your thoughts on the safety of cutting "do not cut" tablets in half

  1. Have a neighbor who called me this a.m. asking about how to cut a tablet that is once/day in half. The medication is an antidepressant - Pristiq. She said her pharmacist and doctor both told her she could if the dose she was originally prescribed continued to cause side effects because its not a "true" time released medication - that its made how it is to avoid the "dump" of the drug into the system so as to minimize side effects but is not dangerous in cutting in half as some other medications such as BP pills would be. She said he (not sure which one) told her it was like coated aspirin - there was no harm in cutting coated aspirin but the buffer effect on the stomach would not be the same.........

    I told her I personally would not recommend cutting a medication in half that the manufacturer's info. specifically states not to and told her to contact her MD tomorrow.

    In reality, I know medications like these are sometimes cut in half but I don't think its such a good idea. Am I wrong or dated in my knowledge on this?
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  3. by   netglow
    I just never answer health questions from friends etc. I just refer them back to their MD/pharm. It's not rocket science to cut a pill in half... Lots of people want to do things they shouldn't and they ask you so they can round-a-bout get "a nurse's OK" to do it. You bet they will tell their MD (or the ER) when scolded, that you said what ever they did incorrectly, was "OK", the nurse next door said it was OK.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    Funny this should be mentioned, as I just finished cutting 4 itty-bitty 20 mg Celexa tablets into even smaller 10 mg halves and cussing my psychiatrist the entire time I was doing it (I actually love the guy to death, I just get irritated at having to deal with these &%#@! pills every Sunday night). But at least the things are scored; I don't think pills are supposed to be cut if they aren't.

    I'm with you, netglow---I don't get into peoples' health issues either. I just plead ignorance and refer them to their own healthcare provider, and for the same reasons!
  5. by   sharpeimom
    I defer questions like that back to the health care provider.

    With our Vet's permission, we break our elderly dog's NSAID in half. He takes 10 mg. prn and those silly pills are EXPENSIVE! The 10mg and 20 mg pills cost the same per pill, and our Vet suggests using the 20 mg size and splitting them in half. One thing we've discovered though, is that as with many other things, you get what you pay for. A cheap-o pill splitter from the dollar store is worthless. After using one from CVS that cost about $3.00 and was just so so, we found one online for $4.9? that is like using a mini guillotine would be.

    I take 1000 mg Keppra daily. I can take the hs dose immediately before I hop into bed but if I take the entire 500 mg in the morning, I'm so dizzy and queasy that I can't walk safely. The pills are football-shaped horsepills that are scored down the middle. With my neuro's permission, I take a pill and a half when I get up and the other half with lunch.

    If a pill crumbles, we dispose of it and get another one, no matter how close the one half looks.
  6. by   beeker
    I'd refer her to her pharmacist.
  7. by   TerpGal02
    I take a med that says "do not crush" on the bottle from the pharm, but the pill is scored and the way the script is written is for me to take 1/2 a pill in the am and a whole one in the evening. I defer to my doctor on this, plus I know for a fact dosing on this particular medication is routinely done as getting to a therapeutic dose takes FOREVER.

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