It’s not unusual for people in Kentucky to be told by their physician that they need only half the dosage of their prescription. He or she writes a new script for the revised dosage and may tell them to break their tablets in half until the current bottle is empty.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association, and various other medical organizations advise against such practices, though, unless splitting the tablets is included on the medication’s label. The FDA emphasizes that splitting tablets can be risky.
Why Patients Split Tablets
Besides finishing up a current prescription to avoid wasting it, an individual may discover that a 100 mg. tablet costs the same as a 50 mg. tablet. Why not buy the higher dose tablet and break it? According to a survey taken by the American Pharmacists Association, pharmacists report that this is a common practice.
What Are the Risks?
Although splitting tablets seems practical and thrifty, the FDA points out the following risks:
- You may forget to split the pills. If you intend to split your tablets and forget that you bought the higher dose, you will be taking a higher dose than your doctor prescribed.
- Splitting the tablets may not divide the medication into equal portions. Even when tablets are scored, studies have shown that the dosage can be different in each section.
- Some tablets do not split easily. Tablets may be too small to split, have an unusual shape, or crumble easily.
- Some tablets should not be split. Capsules, time-release medications, and coated tablets must be taken whole. The coating on tablets prevents the drug from being released too quickly; if you destroy the coating, the drug may get into your system too quickly or not at all.
To Quote the FDA…
Following is the FDA’s statement regarding tablet splitting:
FDA does not encourage the practice of tablet splitting unless it's specified in the drug’s professional prescribing information. If a patient is considering splitting a tablet, FDA recommends that the patient get advice directly from his or her doctor or pharmacist to determine whether it is appropriate or not for a particular drug.
We all make mistakes. If a doctor or pharmacist made a mistake in the type or dosage of your prescription, and you have suffered injury because of his or her error, contact the Louisville medication error lawyers at Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.