Swallowing vitamins as well as medications in pill form can be hard for some individuals. Children in particular often baulk at taking anything but liquid or chewable forms of vitamins, and even those may be rejected if the taste is not to their liking. The problem may be psychological – a pill sticks once, and after that throat muscles clamp tight at the sight of the pill bottle. Or, it may be anatomical – some individuals just have a smaller oesophagus, making it more likely that pills will stick. This in turn can lead to an overactive gag reflex, and psychological problems swallowing pills.
Researchers led by Dr. Bonnie Kaplan at the University of Calgary in Alberta were concerned about swallowing problems because of potential dropout rates in clinical trials. So they developed and published a method to train children in how to swallow pills1. They have also produced a video showing their methods. It should be useful to adults too. Check out the video at http://www.ucalgary.ca/research4kids/pillswallowing
BJ Kaplan, RA Steiger, J Pope, A Marsh, M Sharp, SG Crawford Paedriatr Child Health 2010;15 (5):el-e5