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Guide to Safe Pill Splitting

There is no official or complete list of medicines that can be split. It can actually be dangerous to split some drugs. Generally, the following kinds of pills should not be split:

• Anti-seizure medicines
• Birth control pills
• Blood thinners (Coumadin, warfarin)
• Capsules of any kind that contain powders or gels
• Chemotherapy drugs
• Pills with a hard outside coating
• Pills designed to release medication over time in your body
• Pills that are coated to protect your stomach (enteric coating)
• Pills that crumble easily, irritate your mouth, taste bitter or contain strong dyes that could stain your teeth and your mouth
• Combination tablets that contain two or more medicines

Some medications that can be split are listed below. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before pill splitting. Your situation may require something different. If you plan to do pill splitting, only do so with a high quality pill-splitting device; never use a knife or your fingertips.

• amlodipine (Norvasc)
• atorvastatin (Lipitor)
• citalopram (Celexa)
• doxazosin (Cardura)
• finasteride (Proscar)*
• levothyroxine (Synthroid)
• lisinopril (Zestril)
• lovastatin (Mevacor)
• paroxetine (Paxil)
• quinapril (Accupril)
• sertraline (Zoloft)
• simvastatin (Zocor)
• tadalafil (Cialis)
• vardenafil (Levitra)

Consumer Reports offers the “Shoppers guide to prescription drugs: Pill splitting” on its website.
This article gives helpful information about splitting pills to save money and was published in 2006.


*WARNING regarding finasteride (Proscar)
Women should NOT handle crushed or broken tablets if pregnant or possibly pregnant. Broken tablets lose some of the protective outer coating, thus allowing absorption of finasteride through the skin. The drug may cause a male fetus to be born with abnormalities of the sex organ.