According to health care experts, the practice of crushing pills to make them easier to swallow can actually do more harm than good. The intake of crushed pills can cause serious side effects, and can sometimes even result in death.
The experts found that over 60 per cent of the older people generally resort to crushing their pills as they are unable to swallow them. In fact it was also found that eighty per cent of the nurses in care homes were found to crush pills to help the elderly take their medication more easily.
The pills are usually coated with special coatings which regulate the release of the medicines in the body. Crushing the pills can result in disturbing the delicate balance of the compounds present in the pills and making them unstable. It can result in quicker release of the drug in the body than desired causing serious side effects. Also, the coating helps in the slow absorption of the drug in the body so that the patient has to take the medication only once in a day. This purpose of coating is also defeated if the pill is crushed and then taken.
The experts suggest that the patients who face difficulty in swallowing the whole pills should instead take the drugs in liquid, patch or in inhaler form rather than crushing the pills. This would help in reducing the 75 million adverse drug reactions that are reported every year.