I have trouble swallowing and need to take Tylenol. I am wondering if you can crush Tylenol?
At a glance
- Many Tylenol products can safely be crushed with certain exceptions, including those that are extended-release (e.g. Tylenol Arthritis) and certain dosage forms (e.g. capsules, liquid gels etc...).
Yes, many formulations of Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be crushed. This is commonly needed for those who have trouble swallowing or use a feeding tube.
It is important to note that are some exceptions to this and not all Tylenol products can be crushed. Tylenol products that should not be crushed include:
- Tylenol Arthritis
- Tylenol Gelcaps
- Tylenol Coated Tablets
- Tylenol 8 Hr
As a general rule of thumb, if the Tylenol product is 'immediate-release' (not extended-release) and is in a caplet or tablet form, it can be crushed. If you have questions about any specific product, be sure to ask your pharmacist (or us of course).
Extended-release Tylenol products (such as Tylenol Arthritis) contain 650 mg of acetaminophen that is slowly released over an 8 hour time period. Crushing this medication results in the complete dose being released at once, ruining the extended-release properties of the drug. This will shorten its duration of action of the drug and possibly increase the risk of side effects.
As mentioned above, in general, only Tylenol products that are in tablet or caplet form should be crushed. You should not crush gel caps, capsules or liquid-gels. These formulations are not intended to be destroyed and you will likely lose some of the drug product (as in liquid gels) or risk ingesting shards of the dosage form (e.g. from a broken capsule).
Alternatives To Crushing
An alternative for those with trouble swallowing pills is to use liquid forms of Tylenol. Although they may be marketed for children, adults can certainly take liquid forms as they will have the same analgesic effect of solid dosage forms.
Tylenol also comes in a chewable tablet form, which is a much more palatable way to use crushed Tylenol if you are administering by mouth. Taking chew tabs by mouth is recommended over using crushed Tylenol pills as crushed pills will have a bitter taste and chalky texture.