Like all other forms of medicines, tablets consist of a carefully measured dose of the active ingredient, which has a biological effect on the body, and excipients that give the drug volume. Excipients are not only colors, flavors, sweeteners and stabilizers that protect the medicine from oxidation and destruction, but also drug delivery vehicles that allow you to control the properties of the medicine. The means of delivery are either included in the tablet itself or the contents of the capsule, or form its shell. They determine exactly where the tablet will dissolve – in the stomach or in the intestines, and the speed with which it will do it. The delivery vehicle used in a particular tablet or capsule determines whether it can be divided into parts or not. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that drug companies leave tips for patients. Tablets that can be divided, the department advises to make them flattened and apply notches on them so that it would be easier to carefully break them in half. All pills can be conditionally defined into two groups: those that can be divided without loss of effectiveness, and those that, after separation, become less effective or even dangerous. Sometimes they can be distinguished by their appearance, but you should not count on it. In order not to get confused, it makes sense to focus not on the appearance of the tablet, but on the instructions. There are only two types of tablets and capsules that most pharmacological experts do not recommend separating:
- Tablets and capsules with an enteric, that is, enteric coating. This is a shell that prevents the tablet from dissolving in the stomach, so the drug is absorbed only in the intestines.
- Modified release tablets. Medicines have different characteristics of action. This means that the active ingredient from different tablets can be released: immediately, prolonged, delayed.
So, why can’t you share all the pills:
- The tablet contains the required amount of substances and has a certain dosage. If it is broken, then an uneven distribution of substances will occur, and the efficiency will drop to zero;
- When dividing, we use only one part, and leave the other for the next time. In this case, during this time, the second half will simply lose its properties under the influence of sunlight, high humidity or other factors;
- There are tablets that are coated with a special protective shell that keeps liquid inside, or a mixture that can affect the functioning of gastric juice, or disrupt the gastric mucosa. Such tablets are strictly forbidden to break in half.