Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

SAVVY SENIOR ; Pill Splitting Dos and Don'ts

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

SAVVY SENIOR ; Pill Splitting Dos and Don'ts

Article excerpt

Dear Savvy Senior,

Is pill splitting safe? I have several friends who cut their pills in half in order to save money, but I have some concerns. What can you tell me? - Cautious Kim

Dear Kim,

Pill splitting - literally cutting them in half - has become a popular way to save on pharmaceutical costs but you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist first, because not all pills can be split.

The reason pill splitting is such a money saver is because of a quirk in the way drugs are manufactured and priced. A pill that's twice as strong as another may not be twice the price. In fact, it's usually about the same price. So, buying a double-strength dose and cutting it in half may allow you to get two months worth of medicine for the price of one. But is it safe? As long as your doctor agrees that splitting your pills is OK for you, you learn how to do it properly and you split only pills that can be split, there's really no danger.

Ask your doctor

If you're interested in splitting your pills, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if any of the medicines you use can be safely split. It's also important to find out whether splitting them will save you enough money to justify the hassle.

The pills that are easiest to split are those with a score down the middle. However, not every pill that's scored is meant to be split. Pills that are most commonly split include:

* Cholesterol lowering drugs, like Crestor, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol and Zocor.

* Antidepressants, like Lexapro, Celexa, Serzone, Paxil and Zoloft.

* High blood pressure medicines such as, Accupril, Zestril, Diovan, Avapro, Norvasc, Tenormin, Toprol and Cardura.

* Erectile dysfunction pills, like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

Use a splitter

Having the right equipment is very important too. Don't use a knife or scissors to cut your pills in half. …

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