• How to administer tablets

How to administer tablets

When administering tablets to a patient it is generally best to advise them to swallow their tablets whole with a glass of water (orange juice, tea or coffee are also frequently suitable). This is particularly important for modified release and enteric coated preparations as chewing these tablets would render the formulation ineffective. If the tablet needs to be taken on an empty stomach, you should advise the patient of this and explain it is important to ensure the drug is absorbed properly. An empty stomach is usually found at least an hour before or after food.

Similarly, if the tablet is best taken with or after food, should remind your patient of this and explain why it is important to do so.

Many patients experience difficulty swallowing their tablets, but simple interventions can sometimes remedy the problem. Instinctively, most patients will tip their head backwards when swallowing a tablet but this actually narrows the oesophagus, making swallowing more difficult. Encourage your patient to tilt their head down rather than back when swallowing their tablets as this will widen the oesophagus and may remedy difficulties taking tablets.