Common sense of taking medicine – capsules should not be broken open

alopah Date:2021-10-08 15:13:53
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Recently, a patient said that when taking capsule drugs, he often got stuck in his throat and couldn’t swallow them. He asked if he could remove the capsule shell and take the drugs with water? I believe that in daily life, we have also thought about taking the capsule after removing the capsule shell. Some people feel it difficult to swallow the capsule, some people feel uncomfortable in the stomach after taking it, and some people are afraid that the heavy metals in the capsule shell exceed the standard. So can the capsule be taken apart? Let’s analyze them one by one:


What is capsule?

Capsule refers to the dosage form in which drugs and excipients are filled in hollow hard capsules or elastic soft capsules, including hard capsules, soft capsules, sustained-release capsules, controlled-release capsules and enteric coated capsules. The capsule shell is mostly made of gelatin. It is a common food additive and has little harm to human body.


Why are drugs made into capsules?

1) Drugs with bad odor and unstable structure are generally made into hard capsules, which can play the role of shielding, protection and stability.


2) Hydrophobic drugs with volatile components or poor bioavailability generally encapsulate liquid drugs directly into soft capsules to avoid drug volatilization and improve bioavailability.


3) Drugs that need to be administered several times a day and have serious adverse reactions or toxic and side effects are generally made into slow and controlled-release preparations, which can improve patient compliance and reduce adverse reactions.


What is capsule


4) Drugs that stimulate the stomach or need to exert their efficacy under alkaline conditions are generally made into enteric coated capsules, which can protect the gastric mucosa and release the efficacy at specific parts.


Can the capsule be taken separately?

1) The drug powder has pungent smell or bitter taste, so it can not be swallowed directly, and the compliance is reduced.


2) Soft capsules are usually oily volatiles in liquid state. Don’t break them off, otherwise the drug will fail.


3) The drug powder will stimulate the throat and gastric mucosa, cause discomfort, and even lead to serious adverse reactions such as mucosal damage.


4) After the enteric coated capsule is broken, it is affected by gastric acid, resulting in the inactivation of efficacy.


5) If the slow and controlled release capsule is broken, the drug will be released in a large amount in a short time, causing adverse reactions, especially the slow and controlled release preparation for lowering blood pressure and blood glucose. Breaking it will cause hypotension, hypoglycemia and even life-threatening.


Remind everyone not to open the capsule unless necessary. If it is really difficult to swallow or the dosage is small, consult a doctor or pharmacist in advance to change other dosage forms, such as effervescent agent, granule, oral liquid, etc.


Tips for taking medicine:

“Swallow the pill with your head up and swallow the capsule with your head down”. The density of tablets is higher than that of water, which will make the tablets sink in the water of taking medicine, and the rise can make the water pass through the pharynx with the tablets. The density of the capsule is smaller than that of water. It is easy to float on the surface in the water taking medicine. Lowering your head can raise the pharynx. With the swallowing action, the capsule will float across the pharynx with the water, so you don’t have to worry about the inability of the tablet or capsule to swallow.

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