S H O P P E R ’ S G U I D E T O P R E S C R I P T I O N D R U G S — N U M B E R 1
w w w . C R B e s t B u y D r u g s . o r g
If you take prescription drugs to treat a chronic illness, you could save money
by splitting your pills — literally cutting them in half. Not all pills can be split,
so pill splitting cannot be used in the treatment of every chronic disease. But
in the face of mounting costs for prescription drugs, many doctors and health
can be safely split if done correctly.
authorities are advising this strategy with more and more medicines. Most
notably, all the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins can be split as can
many of the drugs used to treat high blood pressure and depression.
Essentially, pill splitting allows you to buy two doses of medicine for the price
of one — or get two months’ worth of medicine for the price of one month.
There is no danger in splitting pills as long as your doctor agrees that it’s a good
idea for you, you learn how to do it properly, and you split only pills that can
be split. Simple pill splitting devices are now widely available.
B AC K G R O U N D
SOME MEDICINES THAT
to split their pills. Initially, this was not
CAN BE SAFELY SPLIT
to a patient’s exact needs, or to lower
prescribes the 50mg pill, it’ll cost you
pill and instructs you to cut it in half,
these days involves good old aspirin.
tablets and children’s aspirin comes in
Medicine and Daily Dose
Savings if Larger
Monthly Cost 1
Dose Split in Half 2
with Split Pills
P R AC T I C A L A DV I C E
Consult your doctor about pill splitting.
(1) Prices are nationwide retail averages; information derived by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs from data
provided by Wolters Kluwer Health. (2) Dose used for calculation is double the dose listed in first column. Priceof that dose is not given here.
should not split your pills in advance.
ing the first half. Then take the remain-
Don’t split your pills with a knife. This
kinds of pills should not
pharmacies and large discount stores.
insurers will send you a pill splitter for
free so check with your health plan.
burn, and cetirizine (Zyrtec) for allergies.
Parkinson’s disease, it might be diffi-
periods after being split. Therefore, you
THE SHOPPER’S GUIDE TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS SERIES
This series is produced by Consumers Union and Consumer Reports Best Buy
a public information project supported by grants from the Engelberg
good candidates to split their pills.
Foundation and the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of
The easiest pills to split are relatively
Health. The project’s free Web site is www.CRBestBuyDrugs.org
flat round ones with a scored center.
This brief should not be viewed as a substitute for a consultation with a med-
That’s a slightly indented line that runs
ical or health professional. It is provided to enhance communication with your
doctor, not replace it. Neither the National Library of Medicine nor the National
Institutes of Health are responsible for the content or advice herein.
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