Another Medication question

My fiancee was given a prescription for sublingual disintegrating tablets. Problem is, she has chronically dry mouth. How is it going to affect the medication’s effectiveness if she just pops them as she would any other pill?

The medication is Ondansetron 4mg, if that is relevant.


The dryer the mouth, the slower the dissolution and absorption of the med thru the mucous membranes of the mouth. A good rinse with water just prior to taking the med can minimize that problem and speed dissolution. And if some fragments get swallowed with a sip of liquid, if the volume is small, a lot of it will be absorbed in the esophagus. But the pill may not be quite so effective if it reaches the stomach.

I’ve found that Biotene mouthwash is really helpful when my throat is really dry. I don’t have a chronic issue, but when it’s dry to the point that it’s bothering me, rinsing with that (and maybe swallowing a tiny bit of it) gives me some relief for a little while.
She might try swishing around something like that to see if it helps with her dry mouth long enough to let the ODT dissolve.
And based on you’re mentioning of popping it like she pops any other pill, I’m assuming she doesn’t have a problem swallowing pills, ondansetron comes as a ‘regular’ pill as well. She might ask her doctor about that.
In addition to what QtM mentioned, you could also ask your pharmacist, though I suspect you’ll get roughly the same answer.
I’m curious if the regular pills an the ODTs are formulated differently such that swallowing an ODT would cause it to be less effective.

Depends on how the uncoated medication itself stands up to stomach acid, basically. Not sure how ondansetron does in this regard, and my sources don’t speak to that issue, other than saying dissolvable pills meant for bucca/linguall absorption shouldn’t be swallowed.

Many thanks to you both. FTR, she rinsed her mouth and successfully took the medication (and it helped). She’s definitely going to be mentioning the dry mouth issue to her physician instead of refilling this script, so it shouldn’t be coming up again…

She might want to consider continuing the rinse/ODT sublingual formulation. It tends to get the nausea relief to you faster than through the stomach route. Plus she is not also adding something to an already stressed tummy, adding to her woes.

Another option is chewing it. Still letting it dissolve, but chewing it first. One of my migraine meds is ODT. It doesn’t work quite as well as my other one, but I have it on hand because I can keep it next to my bed. If a migraine wakes me up in the middle of the night, I don’t have to turn on lights and stumble around the house, I can grab it and pop it in my mouth. However, it takes a minute or so to dissolve, but if I chew it, it dissolves a lot faster, plus I don’t worry about choking if I fall back asleep.
It does help that Maxalt ODTs taste like breath mints. If Zofran happens to be bitter or chalky, it might not be very pleasant.

I’ll take your word on that one. Kaylasdad99 seemed to suggest that he (or his wife) would talk to her doc about getting the regular pills, but it’s such a common med, I’m guessing someone (pharmacist, provider etc) has the ‘correct’ answer. Also, if her doc is an oncologist (WAG there, no idea, my prescribing doc is a neurologist), they’re probably handing it out like candy and know all the ins and outs of it.

Glancing at the prescribing info, it says “The tablet should be gently removed and immediately placed on the tongue to dissolve and be swallowed with the saliva.”, that would imply, I think, the pill could be swallowed whole. A quick Ctrl-F search of the PDF didn’t locate any instances of words like sub-lingual, absorbed (sub-lingually) or under (the tongue). Very possible I missed something though.

I see they also have it in liquid form and if my math is correct and based on GoodRx, it’s roughly the same cost.

Actually, she said that it tasted like raspberry.

Usually, I have enough presence of mind to offer her a glass of ginger ale laced with Angostura bitters. Next time she needs a Zofran, I’ll suggest the chewing thing.