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Companies Warn Against Tablet Splitting

Posted - May 20, 2004 at 7:20 a.m.



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NEWARK, N.J., May 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Consumers who split their pills may be getting anywhere from one-half to one-and-a-half times the amount of medicine they thought they were taking.

Researchers at Rutgers University studied back and neck pain sufferers who divided the most frequently prescribed muscle relaxant, using either a knife or a tablet splitter. When they analyzed the tablets, they found splitting them tended to deliver inconsistent dosages of the medication. This suggests the practice could place them at an increased risk of encountering side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue from too much medication, the researchers said.

"Ideally, an evenly split 10 milligram tablet should have 100 percent of the half tablet weight and 5 mg of the medication," explained study investigator Thomas J. Cook, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics. "In this study," he said, "the variance in estimated drug content due to uneven tablet splitting ranged anywhere from 50 to 150 percent of the ideal targets, meaning a patient would have no guarantee of receiving a full half-dose consistently throughout the course of therapy."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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