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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

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Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Stretching prescription medication can prove deadly.

Whether you're treating a chronic condition or trying to stock your medicine cabinet with the basics, medications can be pricey.

To cut costs, you may be considering splitting pills or taking a medication after it has expired (though staring down a bottle of Tylenol purchased during the Clinton administration can make even staunch stomachs uneasy). You may well be wondering if cutting pills or ignoring use-by dates is really safe.

As if often the case in medicine, that's a simple question with a long answer.

Pill Splitting

It's basic math: Cutting pills in half can make a bottle of medication last twice as long. And if you only need half a pill to get the job done, splitting seems to make sense.

Some medications lend themselves to being halved, but certain others should never be split, says Dr. Norman Tomaka, a clinical consultant pharmacist in Melbourne, Fla. Splitting extended-release capsules, for instance, would cause a dose that's intended to be administered over several hours to be ingested all at once. In some cases, that might result in nothing more than a stomachache. But with drugs such as anti-seizure medications that need to be constantly active in the body, a sudden dose that then tapers off quickly could pose serious health risks.

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