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Researchers in Germany said they have come up with techniques that could end my pill-swallowing troubles for good, I was intrigued.

Almost one-third of people have trouble swallowing pills, saysDr. Walter Haefeli, a pharmacology researcher at the University of Heidelberg. He wanted to figure out a way to help them.

“Some of the patients avoided the recommended dosage because of this problem,” he tells Shots. “And that’s not good.”

Haefeli poked around and found techniques to help patients swallow pills, but they hadn’t been tested. So he rounded up 150 patients who had trouble taking large pills and had them try two methods. The results, published Monday in the Annals of Family Medicine, look promising.

The Pop Bottle Method

The first, called the pop bottle method, is designed to help people with large, dense tablets. The idea is to put the tablet on your tongue and then close your lips tightly around a plastic bottle filled with water. Suck water from the bottle as you tilt your head back, and the pills should go down easy.


Senior science editor Alison Richards

About 60 percent of participants in Haefeli’s study felt it helped them.

The Lean Forward Technique

The second technique worked even better: Almost 90 percent of participants in the study liked the method. And even I felt it made the process of taking pills a bit less traumatic.

The lean forward technique is designed to help patients swallow capsule-style pills. You’re supposed to put the capsule on your tongue, take a medium sip of water, and lean your head forward as you swallow.

“The idea is the capsules are less heavy than water, which means they are floating on the water in your mouth. If you recline your head, the capsule will float toward your teeth,” Haefeli explains. Tilt your head forward, and the capsule will move toward your throat.

Maanvi Singh

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