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Medication Management for Patients With Trouble Swallowing

Understanding that patients with dysphagia may have complex healthcare needs.

Algorithm for the medication management of adults with swallowing difficulties [1]:

View the algorithm


  • Doctors should ensure that known swallowing difficulties are taken into consideration when prescribing medication. [1]
  • Patients with dysphagia may have complex healthcare needs, requiring the administration of medicines. However, the convenience of prescribing a tablet or capsule that can be swallowed will not be appropriate for these patients. Alternatives should be considered. Patients with established dysphagia may require an assessment by Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) to establish the extent of their problem and the most appropriate formulations for them. A licensed liquid formulation should be used preferentially [2].
  • Before recommending a tablet is crushed or capsule opened, it is also advisable to check that it is safe with a pharmacist. Certain medicines should never be crushed or opened including: [2]
    • Modified release preparations
    • Enteric coated preparations
    • Buccal or sublingual tablets
    • Cytotoxics or hormonal products


Algorithm for Dysphagia

ROS000051-004 DOP September 2023