How do you take pills?

I hate taking pills. I don’t gag or anything, but I just hate the feel of them sliding down my throat. I hate the smell. I hate counting them out every day.
With the exception of my birth control, they’re all vitamins. Giant, honking vitamins.
I’ve tried crushing them into yogurt, but that’s a lot of effort put into every day. So I turn to the Dope for suggestions and ideas.
How do you handle your daily pills?

Put it on my tongue, drink some water. Done.

I’m not aware of the pill sliding down my throat. I don’t really even think about it.

I take a boatload of vitamins too. I haven’t found any better way than to just take them. I put them in my shirt pocket and take one or two every few minutes (well, as often as I remember to) on the way to work. It takes almost an hour to drive to work, so I eventually get rid of them all.

The weight loss surgery I had 14 months ago has a strong component of malabsorption (my innards were re-wired so I fail to absorb most of the fat that I eat, as well as about half the protein, and some of the complex carbs), so supplements, a lot of them, are part of my daily routine. My regimen consists of:
1 Multi vitamin (I use Viactiv chewables for this; they taste like tootsie rolls if you don’t think about it too hard)
1 Dry A&D capsule (tiny)
1 iron (tiny)
1 acid reducer (tiny).
I toss the A&D, iron and acid reducer in all at once, consciously don’t think about it, and swallow them down with something flavored (Crystal Light, chocolate milk, iced tea, something like that). Then I eat the multi.

3 Citracal + D (huge, but surprisingly easy to swallow, as long as they don’t turn sideways in my throat)
1 acidophilus (strawberry flavored chewable)
The Citracals go in my mouth one at a time. Again, I make a conscious effort not to think about how they feel going down my throat. Again, I swallow them with something flavored.

3 more Citracal + D
1 more acidophilus
1 acid reducer
2X a week, dinner includes a prophylactic antibiotic

The acid reducer and antibiotic are both small, and so can be taken together. The Citracal, again, one at a time.

2 Xanax (.25mg)
4 ducosate sodium
The Xanax are tiny, but bitter. I have to take them one at a time. The ducosate sodium are pretty small, but somewhat bitter tasting. I can take them two at a time.

So, to review: never think about swallowing them. It’s a sure invitation to gag. Take them with something other than water. Oh, and place as far back on the tongue as possible. And opt for chewables when it’s feasible to do so.

My doctor told me a trick for making swallowing pills easier. Point your head down while you’re swallowing the pills/water; it seems counterintuitive, but it works like a charm.

On a side note, I don’t get why vitamins have to be so big; a lot of it’s filler, anyway…why can’t they make smaller pills with less filler?

Interesting. I guess it’s because the throat opens up that way. I always tell singers to put their heads down when they sing. Standing on your toes and tilting your head back will not help you reach the high notes.

First of all. . .if you hate it so much, look into whether you really need to be taking those vitamins.

That said. . .this is a technique I came up with when I was a kid, and I’m not aware of other people doing it.

  1. Fill mouth with a bit of water

  2. Push pill between your lips

  3. Swallow the whole thing

You can’t even tell that there’s a pill there. You never put the “raw pill” on your tongue. It doesn’t move around in your mouth as you take the drink.

It’s a great technique if you’re at a drinking fountain, too.

I used to try to tilt my head back while swallowing, which was terrible. I think the theory was to let gravity help somehow.

What works for me is to put the pill(s) toward the front of my mouth and just try to swallow the water normally. Trying to swallow a pill on the middle or back of my tongue often results in it hitting the roof of my mouth and getting stuck to my tongue.

Also, if you are taking huge horse-pill vitamins, you might look into taking more smaller vitamins. Two 500mg go down easier than a 1000mg.

Only way to go. I can’t stand putting pills on my bare tongue. They taste horrible. Sometimes I will tilt my head back and open my mouth enough to drop in the pill so that I don’t have to touch it with my lips.


usually i’ll just put the pill on the back of my tongue and swallow with water - occassioanly said pill will bounce off my uvula and end up back in my mouth, which means i have to either quickly swallow more water, or fish it out with my fingers, reposition on back of tongue, and try again.

this was annoying and unpleasant, until i devised this nifty trick:

once a week i will snort my pill (uncrushed). most pills are too big for me to airlift into a nostril using my sniffing powers alone, so after a few futile snorting attempts, i’ll tilt my head back and put the pill up my nose, then kind of ram it home with a spoon or a knife handle (note: do NOT use knife blade) i usually have to physically massage it through my sinus cavity (and oh, it burns! it burns!!) and then have to spend a good half hour snorting and making all sorts of weird nose-noises to coerce pill through the inside of my head (note: do not attempt in public). eventually it gets through my nasal passages and drops down my throat (just like it would had i swallowed it normally) but by this time most of the coating has worn off, so bitterer to the nth degree. and usually coated in mucus.

after snorting my pill in this manner, my throat is generally pretty sore, and my nose feels REALLY weird (and not always in a good way). i usually will gargle with yogurt for the better part of an hour (best way to get rid of the tast -milk isnt thick enough- and if your yogurt is cold, it can be really soothing on your poor denuded esophagus). if you dont like yogurt, melted ice cream works just as well, but i STRONGLY advise against drinking anything carbonated for atleast three or four days. you’ll probably want to stay away from anything overly acidic (like orange juice) or pointy (triscuits, i’m looking at you.)

snorting my pill is generally an all-day activity, and it may seem like an awful lot of trouble and effort, just get in a pill, but if you have problems swallowing your pill, try my method just once, and swallowing will seem infinitlely easy by comparison.

oh, and IANAD, so please consult your friendly physician before snorting your own pills, lest they contain some sort of nasal melting factor and your nose ends up sinking into your face.


I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at **yams ** post.

I just pop them in my mouth, take a drink, and swallow. I can take them without water, as well - it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

What I can’t do is what one of my best friends can - open a pack of Goodies headache powders, pour the entire contents on his tongue, and swallow it without water. It has to be wrecking his stomach.

No cite, but I’ve heard this is a bad idea, as if you swallow them without water, they don’t go all the way down to the stomach quickly enough, and can irritate the esophagus.

yams!!, that’s disturbingly funny! :smiley:

I dry swallow my pills. No need to carefully place them, just pop them in my mounth, and swallow. Job done. OK, some taste nasty as hell. So what? Sooner down, sooner done with the taste.

Well, I was laughing uncontrollabley enough to almost cry, so there’s always the “both” option.
As for the OP, have you ever tried just putting a spoonful of yogurt in your mouth, and then putting the pill on top of that? That works for me. I don’t even feel (or taste) the pill going down.

I do that with big pills too! Does anybody know why ibuprofen pills are so large? Are pharmacists afraid I’m not going to be able to see them if they’re the size of an aspirin or something?

Wouldn’t surprise me. I tried taking my pills without water once–I think I ended up choking them back up. Either way, it’s hard to swallow dry pills.

Personally, I’d kinda suggest to just take them with water/milk/whatever each day. Yeah, it sucks at first, but it gets easier with time. Like most things, practice makes perfect. Granted, I only take a couple pills, and neither is particularly big, so YMMV.

The title of your OP made me want to say “why, I swill them with booze, of course!” :slight_smile:

But seriously, someone advised me years ago to try taking them with Coke…since the liquid is denser than water, the pill slides down easier. I find this has worked for me.

I use the same method as Trunk…fill my mouth with water, then drop the pill in and wait for it to land at the back of my mouth and then swallow. Very rarely do I have troubles with this. My six year old kids can now swallow gelcaps the same way.

That’s the way I do it. Take a swig of liquid, tilt my head back and let it make a little lake in my mouth, plunk the pill in, and swallow. No icky pill taste. It’s the only way I can take pills.