What is Pill Splitting

Pharmacies are able to split pills in half, to lower the amount of inventory they carry, or to help patients or customers accurately split pills on their behalf, to ensure proper dosage. Many medications cannot be split safely. The FDA has issued warnings about the risks, and so have professional societies, representing pharmacists and doctors. This article looks at when pill splitting is safe, and when it’s not.

When is Pill Splitting Safe?

Many pharmaceutical companies are able to advise as to if the pill can or should be split. However, in general, there are signs that you can look for to determine if the pill is suitable for splitting.

  1. If the FDA has approved the pill for splitting, it will be printed on the package insert.

  2. If it is scored down the middle. Scored pills can be easily split evenly. Note: Not all scored pills can be split, so make sure to look for the FDA approval.

When isn’t Pill Splitting Safe?

There are limits to what pills you can safely split. Many medicines are not designed to be split, particularly due to specific ingredients. So, what drugs can’t be split? Drugs with an enteric coating, that are designed to protect the stomach, cannot be split because the interior of the pill could irritate the stomach. You cannot split pills that are time-release, as it will destroy the effectiveness, and you could get too much of the medication too quickly. It is also recommended that medication that is in capsule form or prepackaged medication, like birth control pills, should not be split.