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August 14, 2011

BehindTheMedspeak: Pill-splitting tips


I wasn't sure whether to instead slug this post "Experts' Expert" or "Helpful Hints from joeeze" 'cause it would fit under either rubric just as well as "BehindTheMedspeak."

No matter, let's cut to the chase.

From time to time you might find yourself wanting to take half a pill as opposed to the whole dose.

There are many possible reasons this might be the case but I'm not here to analyze your back story but instead aim to simplify the mechanical act of splitting a pill such that you obtain the best possible equal division with the least effort.


To that end, you will want a dedicated pill splitter as opposed to using your fingers or a knife.

I've tried a number of pill splitters over the years and the best one I've found is the Apex Ultra, pictured above and below.

It has a sharp blade that's covered by a retractable piece of plastic when not in the process of cutting.

Equally important, it has a nicely designed platform upon which to place your pill,


with rubbery side guards next to the firm base, such that the pill is securely gripped before being cut.

Scored pills are best cut along the score line.

Egg-shaped (more precisely, prolate ellipsoid) pills should be placed such that the long axis of the pill is perpendicular to the blade: this results in a shorter cut edge than if the long axis were parallel to the blade, and thus minimizes loss of pill material.

Occasionally you may wish to quarter a pill: this is trickier than dividing an intact pill because you're working with a cut edge.

The best result (most even division of pill half) will be obtained if you place the previously cut edge AWAY from the first contact point of the descending blade.

If instead you advance the cut edge into the "V" of the platform, the blade will tend to fragment that edge as it divides the pill in half, leaving more of the pill's contents on the platform.

By having the intact surface of the pill serve as the initial contact point for the blade, you'll find the blade causes less of the pill's substance to break off from the previously cut edge.


There, that didn't hurt too much, did it?

Too much attention to detail is never enough, in my opinion.

Some say that's my worst trait while others consider it my best.

August 14, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Thank you, Joe. I have this same pill splitter and it is just as wonderful as you say it is.

Posted by: Amy R | Aug 19, 2011 11:04:42 PM

This same model is available in some chains as a store brand as well.. it works quite well...

Posted by: Rocketboy | Aug 14, 2011 11:34:43 PM

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