How can I get help if I have trouble swallowing pills?

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Difficulty swallowing pills is a common problem. Be sure to discuss your problem with your doctor when s/he is prescribing a medication for you. While the medication may not be available in a chewable form, it may come in an alternate form such as liquid, powder, sublingual (placed under the tongue to dissolve), orally dissolving (when placed on the tongue), suppository (inserted in the rectum or, for females, in the vagina), nasal spray, injectable liquid, cream, ointment, or patch. These options can allow you to avoid swallowing pills altogether. Your physician also may be able to treat the cause of the swallowing difficulty.

A word of caution: Do not crush pills or empty capsules to make them easier to swallow without first checking with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on the medication, this may alter the effect of the drug and/or may cause serious, possibly fatal, side effects. Unless your doctor or pharmacist has approved doing so, avoid crushing your medications to make swallowing easier.

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