Taking pills properly

Some people have to take pills daily, others only from time to time. But how do you take them properly? General practitioner Diego Rossi from the Uitikon mediX practice has the answers.

Text: Michelle de Oliveira; photo: iStock

When is the right time to take medicine?

“Before meals” means around 30 minutes before eating, “with meals” means while eating or directly afterwards. “After meals” is usually defined more precisely by the medical professional. Once a day means taking a tablet every 24 hours, always at the same time.

What makes swallowing pills easier?

Pills should be taken in a relaxed position while standing or sitting. It’s best to lay the pill on your tongue first, then swallow it with plenty of water.

What are common side effects?

To prevent side effects, pills should always be taken with water. Coffee, tea and alcohol can influence the effect. The same applies to certain foods. For example, rhubarb, spinach and chard inhibit the absorption of iron. Some medicines don’t work so well if they are taken together with dairy products, while grapefruit juice can enhance the effect and cause side effects. It’s best to clarify the interaction between individual medicines with a medical professional.

Can pills be split?

Not all pills can be split. Some pills are only supposed to work in a certain place in the intestine or over a longer period of time. If you destroy the protective coating, for example, the active ingredients may be released too early or too quickly. Even the central grooves on some pills don’t necessarily mean that they may be halved. Therefore, you should only split pills after consultation with a medical professional.

How can I remember to take medication?

To ensure that you don’t forget to take your pills, you can make an entry in your calendar or download the TOM app on your mobile to get a reminder.