How to swallow pills more easily

How to swallow a pill

A study by researchers from the University of Heidelberg in Germany may help people with pill swallowing difficulties. They suggest two techniques that can help people improve their ability to get medicine down. Their report was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.


Pop-bottle method to swallow pills

Image Credit: Annals of Family Medicine

The pop-bottle method is designed for swallowing tablets:

  • Fill a plastic water or soda bottle with water.
  • Put the tablet on your tongue and close your lips tightly around the bottle opening.
  • Take a drink, keeping contact between the bottle and your lips and using a sucking motion to swallow the water and pill. Don’t let air get into the bottle.

Researchers asked about 140 people with difficulty swallowing pills to test this method with their eyes closed, swallowing large and very large pills. The result: a 60% improvement in swallowing over the old method of just taking a sip of water from a cup and trying to swallow.

Study participants had even more success with a technique for swallowing capsules called the lean-forward method:


lean-forward method to swallow pillsImage Credit: Annals of Family Medicine

  • Put a capsule on your tongue.
  • Take a sip of water but don’t swallow.
  • Tilt your chin toward your chest.
  • Swallow the capsule and water while your head is bent.

This technique showed an improvement of 89% over the old method of taking a sip of water from a cup and trying to swallow.

You can download a handout demonstrating these techniques from our downloads section.

Thanks to for this info.

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Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the gullet and gastric cancer is cancer of the stomach. Combined, they are medically known as oesophago-gastric (OG) cancer. The oesophagus (more commonly known as the gullet or food pipe) is the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. In Northern Ireland in 2016, a total of 226 people were diagnosed with oesophageal (gullet) cancer. In the same year, 214 people were newly diagnosed with gastric (stomach) cancer.

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