Reduce the Cost of Medicine with Pill Splitting

by Annie on January 5, 2011 · 3 comments

in Healthcare & Health Insurance

Previously I discussed how to reduce the cost of prescriptions with generic drugs. Today I want to talk about how to reduce cost of medicine with pill splitting. Many prescription drugs cost the same regardless of the tablet size. That’s right — 20 mg of Lipitor cost the same as the 40 mg version. Why not take advantage of pills splitting?

Warning: not every patient is physically or mentally capable of pills splitting. You should have someone else split pills if you have vision problems, physical disabilities (i.e. severe arthritis), and cognitive problems. You should never split pills without talking to your doctor.

What kind of pills can you split?

Pill splitting can be safely practice by many patients to reduce the cost of medicine. However, not all medications are meant to be split. You should never pill split the following type of medications:

  • Capsules
  • extended release drugs
  • tablet with coatings
  • non-oral medications (i.e. liquids)
  • asymmetric tablets
  • tablets that crumble
  • drugs that require precise dosage

Could you reduce the cost of medicine with pill splitting?

Even when pill splitting is physically possible, sometimes it may not save you any money. Though you should always talk to your doctor about pill splitting, your doctor will not know enough about prescription drug pricing to tell you if you will save money with pill splitting.

The person you want to talk to is your pharmacist. Your pharmacist can tell you if a prescription drug is appropriate for pill splitting and whether the cost of medicine for the double dose can actually save you money when split into single doses. Before you fill your next prescription, why not have the conversation with your pharmacist about saving money with pill splitting? If your medicine is a candidate for pill splitting, just have your pharmacist call your doctor for new prescription.

Tips for pill splitting

1. take split pill immediately.

The resulting pieces of a split pill are much more likely to crumble if not taken immediately. You should never split a large quantity of pills or ask your pharmacist to split them for you and store them for future use.

2. Invest in a pill cutter.

Though you can split pills with a sharp knife or a single edge razor blade, a pill cutter would be the easiest way for dividing your pill in half. You can find a pill cutter in every drugstore. Pill cutters come in various designs to accommodate the size and shape of pill you are trying to split. Here are some examples of pill cutters available. As you can see, most of them are less than $5 each.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Zahra Brown January 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

It’s typical how buying a bigger packet costs the same as a smaller one, but the medicine industry keep it quiet…

I don’t take pills besides paracetamol for ‘monthly pains’, so I don’t have any need for this. My packets lasts for ages, so money is fine. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for the future if I’m given a prescription for anything else/more serious.


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