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How to Split a Pill Without a Pill Splitter

By James Clark ; Updated July 27, 2017

Splitting a pill may be necessary when a medicine is not available in the required dosage, or when using a smaller dosage would be sufficiently effective, such as relieving a headache with half an aspirin rather than a whole one (which would also save money). Pill splitters are available at pharmacies, but if you haven't got one handy, there is another easy way to split a pill.

Determine if the pill has a pre-scored notch to guide you when you cut. If it does, proceed to Step 3.

Place pill on cutting board. Create a notch to guide you when you cut the pill. Hold the edge of the pill with the fingertips of one hand and place the blade of a sharp knife over the center of the pill. Press down and slowly drag the knife edge toward you to form a notch in the middle of the pill.

With the pill on the cutting board, place the knife blade in the notch and cup your free hand over the blade and the pill, with the palm and fingertips resting over the knife and the pill. This will prevent the two halves from skating off the cutting board when cut.

Press straight down through the pill to split it in half.

Repeat Steps 1 through 4 with each half if quarter-doses are needed.

Tip

Use a sharp knife to prevent the pill from splintering or crumbling.

Warnings

Consult with your doctor to find out if splitting your particular medication will cause serious, even fatal, results. And never change the dosage of any prescribed medicine without talking it over with your doctor.

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