Healthcare professionals do not often discuss swallowing difficulties, particularly a patient’s ability to swallow solid oral dosage forms.

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • identify patients who would benefit from a discussion around altering medicine dosage forms
  • discuss considerations that need to be taken into account before crushing and dispersing medicines, i.e. dosage form modification
  • describe the role of the pharmacist in providing patients and carers with education on the risks and benefits of altering medicine dosage forms.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1.1, 1.1.3, 1.1.4, 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 2.1.1, 2.2.2, 3.1.2, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, 3.2.5, 3.3.1, 3.3.2.

Competencies (2010) addressed: 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 6.1.2, 6.2.1, 6.2.2, 7.1.2, 7.2.1, 7.2.2

Case scenario

Matthew has come into the pharmacy to ask for your advice. His 91-year-old mother, Mrs Jones, is a regular patient of your pharmacy and takes around 11 medicines each day.

Previously she had not reported any problems taking her medicines; however, lately she has had problems swallowing some of the tablets. Matthew intended cutting up some of his mother’s tablets so that they would be easier to swallow but wants to check whether this would be okay.

Want to learn more? PSA members can access the full article and assessment questions here to earn up to 1.5 Group 2 CPD credits.

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