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Pill Splitting

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You can potentially save a ton of cash by talking to your doctor about pill splitting. In many cases you can save up to 50% on your medications, because pills with twice the strength are not twice the price! In order to help patients obtain the treatment they need, many doctors are more than willing to write prescriptions for double strength. Because pharmaceutical companies often use flat pricing regardless of potency, this is the perfect solution for pricey meds and ongoing treatments. If you and your doctor are discussing pill splitting, there are a few things you should know first.

Not All Pills Are Created Equally

A capsule cannot be split. Only a scored pill should be split. The line across the pill (score) indicates that the potency on both halves of the pill are equal. It’s the manufacturer’s guarantee that the medication is safe for dividing, sometimes up to four times. As insurance companies and doctors continue to recommend pill splitting as a way for patients to obtain expensive meds, the FDA has taken measures to maintain a standard[1] by which to name, label, and evaluate scored medications.

If a pill is not scored, it can be more difficult to split. Other drugs are not appropriate for splitting due to modified drug release, coating, pre-packaged doses, or pills prescribed more than once per day. To be sure your pills are safe to split, confirm with the pharmacist before attempting to split pills.

Splitting Pills Correctly

If you’re saving money by splitting pills, you may consider investing about $5-$10 in a pill splitter. A pill splitter purchased at a drug store is designed to split an appropriate pill in a controlled way, making the halves precise, and keeping any dust or molecules contained and out of reach of others. Using a knife to split pills can lead to a loss in drug potency, unequal halves, and a mess!

In some cases, a patient is not able to split their own pills because of poor eyesight, improper equipment, and developmental or physical disabilities. Some pharmacists will split scored tablets, and they can do so more precisely than you, especially if you are not comfortable splitting your own.

Tips and Tricks

If you have discussed pill splitting with your doctor and your pharmacist, you can save money and continue treatment by purchasing a pill splitter and taking time to split pills carefully.

  • Buy a pill splitter that has good reviews
  • Ask your doctor about pill splitting when you discuss medications
  • Wait until the dosage time to split the pill to avoid pill deterioration

You may not be able to afford a medication that is important to your health and treatment, but by using specific cost-cutting tactics, you can still get your medication at an affordable cost.

[1] https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/guidances/ucm269921.pdf

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