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How To Safely Split Your Pills At Home | Ken’s Capsule

Splitting your pills can be a great way to save money, but there are some things that you must consider when deciding if it’s right for you. In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about splitting your pills; the do’s and don’ts and especially how you can do it yourself at home without special equipment.

Quick note: Some insurance companies will allow you to split you medication and offer savings to customers, so please ask your insurance carrier if they do offer savings incentives for pill splitting.

What Is Pill Splitting?

In the past, pill splitting has been the subject of debate, but that doesn’t mean it’s something to be afraid of.

The concept is simple: you get the same prescription at a higher dosage, then divide the pills into smaller pieces to get the dosage recommended by your doctor, which saves you money per pill. 

Here are a few examples of savings that you can achieve through pill splitting.

Generic Lexapro (escitalopram) tablet (prices may vary).

5mg #30 ~$9.00  
10mg #30 ~$7.20 <- price after pill split
20mg #30 ~8.60 <- price after pill split

Generic Zoloft (sertraline) (prices may vary).

25mg #30 ~$8.30  
50mg #30 ~$7.20 <- price after pill split
100mg #30 ~$6.60 <- price after pill split

First, Ask Your Pharmacist

Ask your pharmacist which of the pills you are currently taking can safely be split at home.

Your pharmacist is the expert here, and will take many different factors into account, including:

  • The brittleness of the tablet
  • If the tablet is scored
  • Does the table have a protective coating
  • If the tablet is too hard for splitting
  • If the table is too soft for splitting
  • If the table is timed or extended released or not
  • If the medication uses capsules, which can’t be split

The FDA also provides guidelines on best practices for splitting pills that you can read.

How To Safely Split Pills At Home

Option 1: Try using a pill splitter

Pill Splitters are the easiest way to split pills. BUT, pill splitters can be aggressive on delicate and sometimes expensive pills.

If you choose to use a pill splitter, make sure the tablets are durable enough to be split this way.

What are the signs of a pill that isn’t suited for pill splitting? You’ll noticed:

  • The pill crumbles
  • The split isn’t even
  • The tablet easily turns to powder

If you notice these things happening, try using one of the next two options.

Option 2: Split softer, curved tablets with your fingers

how to split curved pills

If your pills are curved, soft and scored then a great alternative to a pill splitter is to use your fingers. Softer pills split very easy with even pressure on each side of the score mark.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing how many people are surprised that this technique is so successful.

Option 3: What to do for flat, scored tablets that aren't too difficult to split

how to split flat pills

One trick that I have always used, is to place the score mark along a plastic ink pen and use the pen to evenly split the pill.

Press the tablet with your fingers evenly on each side of the score mark until the pill splits in half.  Sometimes this will take a decent amount of pressure. Just make sure that you’re using the tips of your fingers to apply even, steady pressure and it will result in a clean break.

Unevenly shaped pills need to be accurately split in half, long ways. I do not recommend this practice due to inconsistent results.

Make sure you keep safety in mind

  • Wash your hand before starting.
  • If you are splitting tablets for others, use surgical gloves. Also ask about latex allergies before using latex gloves.
  • When using a pill splitter, clean the pill splitter between different pills. (cross contamination can result in incorrect dosing).
  • Ask you pharmacist or physician if it is ok to split your dose. (There have been many dosing mistakes made when  a physician writes for 1/2 tablet and pharmacies fill the prescription with the directions saying fill for 1-2 tablets...please review your dosing with your physician.
  • If you current tablet does not have a score mark, ask you pharmacist if they have a manufacturer that does offer a scored tablet.

Little savings add up. Pill splitting is a great technique and easy way to make the price of your medication easier to swallow. And remember: your doctor and pharmacist are your partners. They’re there to care for you in the way that fits you best. Talk to them, have the conversation and take another important step to taking control of your healthcare.

Ken Rose, RPh.

Ken is a multidisciplinary pharmacist, with over thirty eight years’ experience within Pharmacy and the Managed Care industries. He is a pharmacy savings gurus—helping people with all the ways they get their medicine: mail, retail, and hospital pharmacy, clinical programs, specialty pharmacy and health plans. 

Drug Patents Expiring in 2020 | Ken’s Capsule

It’s almost always cheaper to opt for a generic medication instead of a brand medication. However, generic medications aren’t always an option for drugs whose patent hasn’t expired yet. Pharmaceutical companies use patents to protect their R&D investment and try to maintain the exclusivity period as long as possible.

But that doesn’t mean you’re trapped with a brand drug. Patent terms for brand drugs expire every year, which means a more affordable option might be right around the corner.

First Ask: Does Your Brand Drug Have A Generic Equivalent or Alternative?  

When a patent expires, generic drug makers can enter the market with an equivalent generic alternative. These medications must meet strict FDA guidelines and must have the identical active ingredients and strengths as the originator drug. 

So how do you know if your brand prescription’s patent is on the verge of expiring?

The easiest way to do this is to search for your brand name medication patent expiration date.

Why take the time to search? After a generic equivalent comes out, you can expect the price of the generic to be 15-25% less than the brand drug. After 6 months and multiple generics makers have launched equivalent generics, the price should drop another 20-50%!

Biggest Brand Name Patents Expiring Next Year

When it comes to the biggest patent expirations in 2020, we’ve already done the hard work for you. Below are the most popular drugs that will be receiving a generic alternative in 2020.

Afinitor tablets

Brand prescription name: Afinitor 
Generic name: Everolimus
What it treats: Cancer
Expected savings per month: $3,000
When the generic gets released: Early 2020

Omnaris nasal spray

Brand prescription name: Omnaris
Generic name: Ciclesonide
What it treats: Nasal allergy
Expected savings per month: $185
When the generic gets released: Early 2020

Absorica capsule

Brand prescription name: Absorica
Generic name: Isotretinoin
What it treats: Acne
Expected savings per month: $1,600
When the generic gets released: Late 2020

Atripla tablet

Brand prescription name: Atripla
Generic name(s): Efavirenz; Emtricitabine; Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate
What it treats: Antiretroviral
Expected savings per month: $800
When the generic gets released: Late 2020

Chantix tablet

Brand prescription name: Chantix
Generic name(s): Varenicline Tartrate
What it treats: Helps you quit smoking
Expected savings per month: $225
When the generic gets released: Late 2020

Ciprodex ear drops

Brand prescription name: Ciprodex
Generic name(s): Ciprofloxacin; Dexamethasone
What it treats: Ear infections, swimmers ear
Expected savings per month: $180
When the generic gets released: In 2020

Dulera Inhaler

Brand prescription name: Dulera
Generic name(s): Formoterol Fumarate; Mometasone Furoate
What it treats: Asthma
Expected savings per month: $240
When the generic gets released: Late 2020

Noxafil tablets

Brand prescription name: Noxafil
Generic name(s): Posaconazole
What it treats: Anti fungal
Expected savings per month: Unknown
When the generic gets released: Early 2020

Thalomid capsule

Brand prescription name: Thalomid
Generic name(s): Thalidomide
What it treats: Cancer
Expected savings per month: Unknown
When the generic gets released: In 2020

Zortress tablets

Brand prescription name: Zortress
Generic name(s): Everolimus
What it treats: Transplant
Expected savings per month: $600
When the generic gets released: Early 2020

Other Ways To Save On Your Prescriptions

Check out our article 7 Insider Tips To Save Big On Prescription Drugs for some easy, quick techniques you can use the next time you go to fill a prescription. 

Generic Alternatives

If your brand name drug doesn’t have an exact match generic, look for generic “alternatives” within your medication drug class. A drug class is the broader category your prescription falls into. For example, Beta Blockers which treat heart disease, ACE Inhibitors which treat high blood pressure, or Lipid Regulators which treat high cholesterol. This can be a potential savings discussion with your physician with regards to a therapeutic alternative. 

Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist

Ask your pharmacist about alternative medications or any potential savings that they may know of for a particular medication or class of drugs.

Remember, don’t be afraid to actually discuss your physician’s medication choice for you. It can be a great savings to you, and enjoy your new collaborative relationship with your physician. Every time you ask questions, you take another step closer to being in control of your health care. 

Ken Rose, RPh.

Ken is a multidisciplinary pharmacist, with over thirty eight years’ experience within Pharmacy and the Managed Care industries. He is a pharmacy savings gurus—helping people with all the ways they get their medicine: mail, retail, and hospital pharmacy, clinical programs, specialty pharmacy and health plans.