While it seems like an easy task, swallowing a pill is something that many adults as well as children have great difficulty doing. The fear of gagging causes the throat to tighten up so that the pill simply stays behind in your mouth.

Fortunately, there are various ways to approach the problem so that you can relax, overcome the fear of choking, and just let the pill slide down. Here are ten tips to help you next time you need to swallow a pill.

1.  Fill your mouth up with water and hold your head back

Fill your mouth up with water, hold your head back, open your mouth and drop the pill in your mouth with the water still in it. Then close your mouth, bring your head back to a normal position and swallow. Don’t try to swallow with your head back.

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2.  Take a slice of bread, chew it thoroughly

Take a slice of bread, chew it thoroughly, and then simply shove the pill into the soft bread mass. Since you have no trouble swallowing chewed bread, and the pill never comes in contact with your mouth at all, it is very easy to swallow the entire soft mass with the pill inside. Foods like bananas work as well.

3.  Try crushing or cutting up the pill

For some medications, try crushing or cutting up the pill into little pieces and swallowing them one at a time. However, do not crush or cut up the pill if it is a time-release pill. Breaking one of these can cause the pill to release its concentration at too fast a rate.

4.  Put the pill in a glass of water and wait for the pill to dissolve

Put the pill in a glass of water and wait for the pill to dissolve. Drink the water (and the pill). Do not dissolve a time-release pill.

5.  Take a sip of a carbonated beverage

Take a sip of a carbonated beverage after putting the pill into your mouth. The carbonation floats the pill and makes it easier to swallow. Check with your doctor to make sure that the beverage will not conflict with any medication you’re taking. Some antibiotics, for example, should never be mixed with dairy products.

For some people, using a straw to drink the water or beverage helps to swallow a pill, because the suction used to pull the liquid through the straw makes it easier to swallow.

6.  Rip up a mini-marshmallow

Take a mini-marshmallow, rip it in half and wrap it around the pill. Stick it in your mouth for a second or two to get it moist, then swallow.

7.  Try a spoonful of jam or apple sauce

Get a spoonful of jam or apple sauce, put the pill in it, and swallow the whole thing. Since it’s sweet, it will mask any bad flavour.

8.  Try to buy pills that are coated

Try to buy pills that are coated. They slide down more easily and are less likely to taste bad if they sit on your tongue longer than they should. Be aware that many chemical colourants are suspected or proven carcinogenics.

9.  Buy chewable pills

Check the label. Some pills are meant to be chewed. These are usually the larger ones with special flavouring. This may be a gentle step to introducing children to pills.

10. Explain to children

Explain to children that taking a pill tastes better than swallowing most syrups or liquid medications. Tell children to â??floatâ?? the pill like a boat in their mouth and then tell them to swallow.


  • Do not take a pill when lying down. Sit or stand up.

  • Keep all pills out of the reach of children. Never tell children that pills are sweets.

  • If you still have severe difficulty swallowing pills, you may have dysphagia, a swallowing disorder. Ask your doctor about it.


Most pets will love a spoonful of peanut butter and not even notice the pill hidden within it!
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