Drugs

Best Practices for Tablet Splitting

At some point your healthcare or managed care company may have recommended tablet splitting for reasons such as to adjust the dosing of your medication or to reduce costs. In such cases, it is your healthcare professional’s responsibility to monitor the impact of risks associated with the practice of tablet splitting. You should always talk to your healthcare professional before splitting a tablet and not be afraid to ask him or her questions if you are considering splitting tablets.

When considering whether to split a tablet, you and your healthcare professional should bear in mind the following:

  • If a tablet is FDA-approved to be split, this information will be printed in the “HOW SUPPLIED” section of the professional label insert and in the patient package insert. Also, the tablet will be scored with a mark indicating where to split it.
  • If a tablet does not include such information in the label, FDA has not evaluated it to ensure that the two halves of a split tablet are the same in weight or drug content or work the same way in the body as the whole tablet. You should discuss with your healthcare professional whether to split this type of tablet.
  • If your healthcare professional asks you to split your tablets, do not split the entire supply of tablets at one time and then store them for later use. That is, make sure that both halves are taken before splitting the next tablet. This is important because split tablets may be affected by factors such as heat, humidity and/or moisture content. For example, a split tablet stored in a damp environment such as in a bathroom medicine cabinet could be affected.
  • Your healthcare professional may be able to recommend the best method by which to split a tablet. In many cases, a tablet splitter may be appropriate. However, some tablets may not be suitable for this method because of their unique shape and size—even if they appear to be scored. It is important to discuss this issue with your healthcare professional to determine what is best for you.
  • Most sustained, controlled, or timed release medications are not meant for splitting. In those rare instances where splitting is recommended for this type of medication, such information will be printed in the “HOW SUPPLIED” section of the professional label insert and in the patient package insert and will be scored.
  • When you switch from one brand of medicine to another, you and your healthcare professional should confirm whether the newly prescribed tablet is splitable, even if the original tablet could be split. The same medications can be manufactured differently, thus may not have been developed to be split.

REMEMBER: Tablet splitting should be done only
under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Additional Information

Page Last Updated: 08/23/2013
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