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Anyone split pills?
Old 12-03-2010, 12:59 AM   #1
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Anyone split pills?

Looking for real world experience in pill splitting.....easy to do? longevity
of splitter? any real world surprises, learning curve, etc? Downside?

My doc suggested a similar but lower cost medication for hypertension.
After a wk, it doesn't appear to be working as well as the older one which costs 2x as much. There was a suggestion that a higher dosage of the new
one might be necessary but I'm always a bit leery of changes due to my past history.

The pill splitting was suggested as another option by my health plan and my old medication seems to be on the approved splitting list. That would cut the cost in half since only half as many pills would be required and to me seems like a less radical change than changing the medication itself (even tho the new medication is supposed to be in the same family = antireceptor blocker,
losartan vs older Diovan).
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:15 AM   #2
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Do you mean the actual mechanical gadget used to cut the pills? I had a cat with bad kidneys, and the vet prescribed a human OTC tablet which had to be cut into quarters to be a small enough dose. It's very simple to use and did a good job cutting the pills in half, but that's not surprising because many pills are manufactured so they are easy to break in half by hand. Cutting the halves in half again was not quite so easy, and sometimes produced unequal pieces. I think it would take quite some time to wear out the device. Mine is just a blade mounted in the lid of a box, with a molded groove on the bottom to hold the pill in place. Closing the lid cuts the pill. I think the only part that could wear out or break is the hinge.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:19 AM   #3
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Hello kaneohe - it is not recommended to split pills unless discussed and approved by your clinician. Pharmacotherapy can be quite complex (type of meds, side effects, interactions, type of coatings, etc.). Please be careful when doing so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Looking for real world experience in pill splitting.....easy to do? longevity
of splitter? any real world surprises, learning curve, etc? Downside?
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:44 AM   #4
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I split Cialis 20 mg which is quite difficult as Lilly makes them almond shaped and coats them to try to discourage the practice. I also use the hinged razor blade type splitter.

Don't think I would be keen to do it with my daily ARB which is also losartan + hctz. My BP is well controlled, the copay for the generic losartan is modest, and it would be a hassle to split a daily med. I only split the Cialis because my health plan does not cover it and it is still under patent.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:00 AM   #5
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I am prescribed 25mg of Atenolol daily ( for A. Fib.) but purchase the 50mg tablet. I do this to save on the co-pay. I have been splitting them with the same device for over five years without noticing any wear on it. It is a simple device that I bought at Walgreen's for (IIRC) less than ten bucks.

Once in a while, a pill will kinda crumble but I don't blame the spitter.

Anyway, this particular tablet is designed to be split; with a groove in it for that purpose. I have no experience with pills lacking such a groove.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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Thanks, all, for the comments to date.
ky.....during a brief search, I found it interesting that many of the comments on splitters came from pet owners

obgyn......thanks for warning; this is not a DIY project; I just got the idea last nite and doc is on vacation; fully intend to get approval first; so far it is encouraging that the provider has a site on splitting and a list of "approved" meds; diovan is on the list

ron, chemist.....one of my concerns is the diovan is not round and does not have a groove in the middle; it's kind of pear-shaped......wider on one side.....well, after looking at a real almond, I guess it is actually closer to that since it doesn't have the inflection pts that a pear has........so your comments are not encouraging (tho not overwhelmingly encouraging). No coating tho that I'm aware of so there's still hope.......
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:49 AM   #7
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There is generally no problem with the mechanical splitting part, especially if the tablet is scored. But some pills are designed for slow release in the digestive system and splitting can mess that up. As mentioned a quick discussion with your doc is in order before splitting.

Some mail order pharmacies are pesky if they see you are getting refills less often than they calculate you need them and will verify the dispensed amount with your physician -- they want your co-pay. But IMHO they usually come around if you stand firm.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Some mail order pharmacies are pesky if they see you are getting refills less often than they calculate you need them and will verify the dispensed amount with your physician -- they want your co-pay. But IMHO they usually come around if you stand firm.
A number (5-6?) years ago, I was 1,500 miles from home and was horrified to discover that I only had two more days of my Warfarin medicine. It was a real hassle to get that taken care of... not to mention the inconvenience.

I have never used mail-order for medications because of our large amount of travel -- yeah, the Insurance company sends me a nastygram every couple months.

Anyway, my suspicion that someone would figure out my pill-splitting manuever prompted me to do it this way: I get a new prescription and take it to Wal Mart (telling them I do not have Insurance). I, then, wait six weeks and get a new prescription that I take to Walgreen's (using Insurance). That way I always have a "backup" supply. So far no one has questioned me.

The biggest flaw in this procedure, so far, is that Walgreen's is much more expensive ($5-$10) than at Wal Wart.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:14 AM   #9
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Man.... I think I can not read anymore.....


I was wondering why someone wanted to spit pills...
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:25 AM   #10
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OP, to answer one of your questions: the splitters last a really long time.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:07 AM   #11
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My husband and I both recently had to switch to losartan as our new prescription plan doesn't have our Avapro and Atacand in their formulary. He takes a much larger dose than I do.

The price for the losartan has dropped dramatically in the last few months. His went from $68 for 30 days/$235 for 90 days to around $30 for 90 days. Mine also dropped to around $20 for 90 days.

Luckily the switch to losartan was easy for both of us. No problems and it seems to be effective.

He uses a pill splitter like others have descibed for another medication. I also used that splitter for cat pills.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:17 PM   #12
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I use a splitter for the many pills my dog takes. Her "blood pressure" pills require a split as she gets 1.5 in the morning and 1.5 at night. Her SSRI requires a splits. Sometimes she also takes a tranquilizer, and this requires a 4 way split of one pill. Some of these pills are scored and some are not. It does not seem to effect how well the splitter operates. I foun that there is a way to hold the splitter that works better than other ways. I suppose that depends on what kind of splitter you are using.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:34 PM   #13
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I take Crestor daily. My doctor suggested getting the higher dose and splitting them to save 50% on copays. I use the same razor-in-the-lid splitter and it works very well. The pill is quite small, round, coated, and lacks any groove. It doesn't seem to always split them perfectly in half, but close enough. Sometimes I split one pill at a time (every two days), sometimes I'll split a handful and not worry about it for a while. Either way is easy, splitting takes almost no time at all.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I use a splitter for the many pills my dog takes. Her "blood pressure" pills require a split as she gets 1.5 in the morning and 1.5 at night. Her SSRI requires a splits. Sometimes she also takes a tranquilizer, and this requires a 4 way split of one pill.
Now that's a dog with issues. Was it a rough toilet training situation?
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:41 PM   #15
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Now that's a dog with issues. Was it a rough toilet training situation?
I didn't even mention the pills we don't have to split!

Since she went deaf she has fear and anxiety problems when I am not home and she has a much harder time traveling.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I didn't even mention the pills we don't have to split!
Since she went deaf she has fear and anxiety problems when I am not home and she has a much harder time traveling.
Poor pup. She's lucky to have you.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:12 PM   #17
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I split my statin 4 ways - getting it down to 20mg. The first split is easy, the second problematic. I find that holding the meaty part of finger and thumb under the edge of the splitter lid as i press down helps a bit - maybe gives some resistance before suddenly delivering the splitting action.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I didn't even mention the pills we don't have to split!

Since she went deaf she has fear and anxiety problems when I am not home and she has a much harder time traveling.
Sorry to hear about that. Our dog ended up being deaf and blind and we were giving her several pills a day - just wrapped them in American cheese and had very few spit out after she licked off the cheese. We made the mistake of loving her too much and keeping her alive way past the point where we should been more humanitarian. She lived to 18 1/2 before the Vet said we were hurting her more than helping .
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:19 AM   #19
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The price for the losartan has dropped dramatically in the last few months. His went from $68 for 30 days/$235 for 90 days to around $30 for 90 days. Mine also dropped to around $20 for 90 days.
This is due to other manufacturers entering the market. Thanks to Hatch-Waxman Act the first generic company to challenge a patent gets a 6 month exclusive window to market their generic. That has caused a 'sub-generic brand' where the new generic has come out - but since there is only one generic (and sometimes the brand name's own subsidiary generic company will market their own) the price only drops about 15%.
6 months later when the exclusivity ends, the generic price drops accordingly or if you are gouging the consumer, it only lowers another 15% and the pharmacy makes some dough (sounds like you are going to a reputable place based on the above prices).

Now some of the bigger problems I have seen is 'old' generics quadrupling in price because many of the generic manufactures have withdrawn from the market or there have been market shortages. Potassium Chloride and Nitrofurantoin come to mind....
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:11 AM   #20
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BTW the Diovan patent falls in 2012 so you may not have to split for very long.
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