by Rajnish (“Raj”) Mago, MD (bio)
Why do patients sometimes need to cut medication tablets?
– When titrating up the dose of a medication, for example, escitalopram 10 mg tablets, I often ask the patient to initially cut the tablet in half and take a half dose for the first few days. This tends to reduce side effects.
– Patients (or “society”) can usually save money on expensive medications by using a higher-strength tablet and cutting it in half. For example, lurasidone 80 mg tablets can be cut in half if the patient is on 40 mg/day.
What to look for in a good pill cutter
I have been surprised to find some patients trying to cut tablets with a kitchen knife and complaining that the tablets get crushed while being cut! In my personal opinion (and experience), it is better to use a pill cutter.
But, I have also found that some pill cutters are problematic. A good pill-cutter should have the following characteristics:
1. The blade should be sharp. If not, it won’t make a clean cut and may crush the tablet.
2. It should hold the tablet firmly in position so that it can be cut precisely.
3. It should work using a hinge so that it can be used to quickly cut one tablet after another.
Recommended pill cutters
I bought 4 pill cutters that were highly rated on amazon.com and personally tested them. Two of the 4 worked really well and are recommended:
Pill cutters that I *don’t* recommend
1. “Apex Pill Splitter” is another pill cutter from the same company (Apex) that makes one of the pill cutters that I recommended above. But, I found that this one tended to crush the pills rather than cutting them cleanly.
2. “The Equadose Pill Cutter V2” was tested by me and is not recommended for more than one reason but mainly because instead of a hinge action, it has a lid that needs to be taken off for each tablet, replaced, and pressed. So, it is unnecessarily time-consuming to use. Also, I did not find it to cut tablets into “perfect halves” as was claimed on the sales page.
Are there pill cutters that you have personally used or tested and either strongly recommend or recommend against? Please do share your opinion and recommendation with us by posting it at the bottom of this page (under “Leave a Reply”).
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