Patient choice and needs
Patients unable to swallow
People who are unable to swallow medicines whole, or who do not like taking tablets, may prefer to take crushed tablets or capsule contents with food or thickened fluid, than with water.
Patients who need thickened fluids
Giving medicines with soft fluid and thickened fluid is a practical and safe option for people who need thickened fluids or texture-modified foods:
- People who need thickened fluids cannot safely swallow thin liquid medicines or medicines with or dispersed in water.
- Thickened fluids travels more slowly, allowing the patient more time to co-ordinate their swallow response.
- Administering medicines with food or fluid of the appropriate texture is generally a safe and practical option for people who need thickened fluids or texture-modified foods.
- Soft food is more palatable than thickened fluids. Patients who need thickened fluids are likely to prefer to take medicines with soft food of the appropriate texture.
- Medicines should be administered in food with the patient’s knowledge and consent, and following the recommendations of food texture by the speech and language therapist.
- Hiding medication in food is considered ‘covert administration’ and is only condoned in certain circumstances.
- Use our resources: Covert administration of medicines in adults: legal issues and Covert administration of medicines in adults: pharmaceutical issues
Other specific areas
- Links to covert administration resources added
- 'General advice' removed as duplicated summary