Are All Drugs Chewable?

Most parents teach their children to chew their tablets even if they are bitter, most parents who are ignorant about pharmacology justify their actions by bluffing words like, “chewing makes the drugs work faster”

It is expedient that we have adequate knowledge as nurses to administer 100% care to patients. During drug administration, a nurse can face challenges due to the patient’s inability to swallow food or tablets. This occurs mostly in a geriatric setting, and pediatric setting. At the point of a helpless patient asking the nurse to help him, she is forced to crush all tablets, and mix with water for the patient to take. The first exercise turns the crushing method into a regular mode of administration, and patients are affected on the long run.

Why you should not chew, crush some tablets.
Chewing tablets could be harmful, a handful of it do not get absorbed as required. Chewing or crushing tablets, could be harmful to the lining of your stomach.

Below are a classification of indications of some drugs you should not chew.

  • Controlled Release: Controlled release drugs are released into the body in specific amounts over a specific period.
  • Enteric Coated: Enteric coating permits pathway through the stomach before the medication is released. It helps hold tablet together, to protect the stomach for the medicine. Disruption of the enteric coating may increase the likelihood of stomach irritation or damage. Examples of enteric coated drugs, diclofenac and naproxen.
  • Long Acting: Long acting drugs are slowly effective after initial dosage, but maintaining its effects over a long period, being slowly absorbed and persisting in the tissues before being excreted. Example: Salbutamol
  • Modified Release: These drugs are released over prolonged period, if absorption rate is manipulated, there might be damage on the patient. Example: Propanolol.
  • Sustained Release: These drugs helps to maintain the concentration of the blood level, plasma level for a specific period. Example, Nifedipine.
  • Extended Release: These are formulated such that the drug is released slowly over time. Example: morphine.

The standard for the most oral drugs is to be swallowed.
Nurses should educate parents on chewing tablets. If a child complains of swallowing tablets, or a patient finds it difficult to swallow, other forms or routes of drugs/administration like syrup sublingual, suppository can be prescribed.

It is your responsibility as a nurse to know if a drug can be crushed in different scenarios.

Do you have any questions? Drop your questions in the comment box.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Updated: February 18, 2019 — 1:52 pm

The Author

Olayemi Adeola

Hi there, I am Olayemi Adeola, a professional nurse and content writer. I love to write about health, lifestyle and self discovery. I have a lot of dreams, and aspirations, one of which to be able to create solutions to women's health challenges in Nigeria and Africa at large. You can connect with me on my social media platforms Facebook: Olayemi Mary Adeola Twitter: Iam_theola Instagram: @nurseolayemiadeola Email: adeolalm@gmail.com

2 Comments

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  1. Thanks for this tip. My question is, in a case of patient with mental health problem, what should be done?

    1. Thanks for reading all through and dropping your questions.

      Most antidepressants can be crushed or chewed whichever way you choose. That is why they are very great at interacting with foods and drinks.

      In the case of a psychiatric patient, you could crush the tablets in juice, tea or foods.

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