Do you have to chew chewable tablets?

I have a couple of chewable tablets - one an antiacid, the other acidophilus - that I really dislike chewing up. I discovered yesterday that the acidophilus breaks up easily, and it’s not difficult to swallow with a sip of water once it’s been quartered.

But do these pills need to be chewed? Do they work less well if not exposed to saliva and/or not crushed with your teeth? Or is the chewable factor supposed to be something people just prefer to non-chewables?

No, they don’t need to be chewed. Chewable means they have a pleasant taste added to them so you can chew it up without gagging on the taste. Some people hate swallowing pills, or in children’s cases, can’t do it at all.

I agree with EvilTOJ. Chewable tablets are highly friable, and should dissolve quickly when ingested without being chewed; the chewability is there simply to help folks who can’t swallow pills. And, frankly, I can’t imagine an acidophilus chewable ever being palatable. Bleah.

Nature’s Bounty brand acidophilus chewable tablets taste all right to me. Sort of like a strawberry milkshake. They certainly taste a heck of a lot better than any live culture yogurt I’ve tried.

I’m not sure this works for the antacid, unless it breaks up easily, as well. Part of the purpose is to increase the surface area so it will react more quickly with acid in the esophagus and stomach.

My apologies that this is a less-than-factual answer to a GQ query. But ime, most chewables are labeled as to whether they need to be chewed. I have some all-natural sleep aids that clearly say on the package: chew or dissolve in mouth; swallowing whole may not give optimum results.

Likewise, I’ve had certain medications that clearly state “Must be swallowed whole; do not chew or crush”.

If I had a med that didn’t specify, I’d feel pretty safe going in either direction with it, but also, most medication packaging makes it pretty easy to find the manufacturer. You could always contact them and ask.

AFAIK, the FDA requires chewable tablets to meet the same requirements for dissolution and disintegration as regular tablets, precisely because of people like you. I don’t work with tablets, so I can’t personally verify this, and my info comes from industry message boards, so caveat lector.

And that’s *very *important advice to follow. There are two types of medication which should not ever be split, crushed or chewed: enteric coated and time release. Break the coating and you could digest the active ingredient in your stomach instead of intestine, rendering it ineffective, or you could irritate your stomach lining something fierce, or you could release too much medication at once, leading to overdose or the medication running out too soon.

Nametag, that’s what they told us in pharmacology class, as well. Chewables *may *be chewed, but they don’t have to be. The stomach acid will dissolve them in short course, even if swallowed whole. Of course, there are buccal or sublinguals like nitroglycerin or nicotine that should be left to dissolve in the mouth and not swallowed at all, but those aren’t “chewable”.

Very true! Oxycontin is a big contender in this category. Basically, it’s four doses of oxycodone in one tablet. So if you crush or cut it, you are getting four doses all at once, which could repress your respiratory system to a point where. . .you die! :eek:

New pills like OC and painkillers are almost impossible to abuse, they are super strong and even if you do break them they are all time released now and the substance is mixed with a wax coating making it inpossible to snort. you could go out of your way to melt it off but its a waste of time.

Most pharmaccies are just using up the last of their stocks, many pills pretty soon will not be possible to break up and split up

Really? I’ve never seen any products like the one you described in the R&D and QC labs I worked in, although I’ve been out of the industry for about 4 years now. Still, given the lead time in developing new dosage formulations, I expect I would have seen some. I don’t recall any products having even remotely “waxy” ingredients, with the exception of suppositories, of course! I’d be interested in getting more details on this.

IME time release tablets are such because of the coating or the way the active ingredient was granulated before being compressed into the pill, but they can still be rather easily broken and split (though not too easily; they still need to pass USP<1216> Tablet Friability!). Besides, for a tablet to release the drug, it still needs to dissolve, and so most dissolve in water or acids over time. A clever druggie can simply dissolve the pills, evaporate the water and then consume the powder, though I guess that’s a lot of work for an oxy hit!

I suppose it’s possible that the inactive ingredients make snorting painful and limit the uptake of the drug, but there’s nothing saying someone can’t crush them or simply take too many pills at once.

Jesus Feck. Wrong. There are several painkillers out there that will make you dead. I’ve seen it at work. Dead is dead. Using the word “impossible” borders on irresponsible - you can take Oxy, Roxy, or any of a number of drugs and shoot, snort, smoke, or eat. Wax coating doesn’t solve the problem - it just reduces the manufacturer’s liablility.

Sorry for sounding like a prick. This one just kind of hits my trigger finger.

Where can I find more information about these new pills? Do they have a name? And, yeah…if you can’t break them or split them, how does your gut digest them?

It doens’t you shit out the shell. The brand named drug Concerta, which is more or less adderal or ritilan had a hard shell around it that is super hard to break even with a hammer (I have tried) once you drop it in water the shell comes off. It is wraped in a large clear substance which makes the powder hold its shape. There is a laser cut hole on one side that allows your stomach jucies in which causes 1 side to expand pushing the medicine out the other side. You can cut it and mash it up but you cannot make a clean line out of it like coke. It is a very simple mechanical pump, I have seen it work as I dropped one in a bottle of water and watched it happen over the course of 8 or so hours at work at my desk.

The last OC pills I got from my pharmacy where half old half new because they were finishing their stock. Same exact pill except the “new” ones I got (40s I think I got 20s as well) are not easily broken up

That’s fracking amazing! It’s called (thanks wikipedia!) an Osmotic-controlled Release Oral delivery System, or OROSfor short. It’s patented until 2018 for Contera, however, so the other brands, including generics, won’t be “uncrushable” for many years.

What a cool system!