According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients aged 65 and older are more likely to have problems swallowing dietary supplements and vitamins. Older adults may be more likely to choke on pills, especially when they are large.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated on the study, and their researchers reported that nutritional supplements are used by up to 35% of older adults, and that they have higher rates of swallowing issues than younger persons. A statement from the FDA notes, “Older adults should be mindful of possible choking or other swallowing problems from taking supplements.”
These findings recommend that older adults should “avoid extra-large pills or capsules.” But, patients have alternatives!
To meet the growing need for an easy-to-swallow solution for supplements and vitamins, Tishcon has introduced ETS Softgels®. Their size, shape, and unique soft gel composition make them exceptionally easy to swallow for older patients, very young patients, and anyone who has difficulty swallowing.
Because an easy-to-swallow capsule will benefit millions of older adults, we are making our proprietary ETS Softgels® available to all supplement manufacturers. For products where a chewable tablet is feasible, we will also offer palatable chewable tablets in popular flavors.
We are also introducing our own line of ETS dietary supplements.
Designed to fight inflammation and improve cardiovascular health, Freedom Anti-Inflammation Easy-to-Swallow Softgels® were shown to reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular function in an LA Biomedical Research Institute study. In a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind study conducted at UCLA, Freedom Anti-Inflammation Easy-to-Swallow Softgels® showed a significant reduction of hs-CRP levels and a blunting of the increase in IL-6 level in adult subjects in just 28 days.†
Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties.
It impacts as many as 15 million Americans.
Many people are unaware of how common it is to be unable to successfully swallow pills. The young, the elderly, and people with neurological conditions may have difficulty swallowing pills, but many healthy people of all ages can have trouble as well. The problem, known in medical terms as Dysphagia, can be caused by many factors including stroke damage, physiological abnormalities, medical conditions such as Parkinson’s, or by psychological factors. If pill swallowing is a problem, one of these pill-swallowing techniques may help.
Tips for successful pill swallowing
Two methods that can help achieve a successful pill swallow are the ‘pop-bottle’ method and the ‘chin down’ method.
The ‘pop bottle’ method
The ‘pop bottle’ method uses the normal swallowing routine of drinking from a bottle to assist in swallowing a pill:
The ‘chin down’ method
The ‘chin down’ method is based on keeping your esophagus straight by having your chin touch your chest. This removes the arch in the throat caused by tilting the head back during swallowing, allowing pills to flow easily from the mouth downward:
Having a large pill in your mouth can be intimidating and cause someone to hesitate when trying to swallow. By masking the location and size of the pill with the flow of a liquid, the process becomes easier. There are several other methods that assist in pill swallowing, including hiding pills in soft foods such as applesauce. However, the pop bottle and chin down methods seem to have the widest success.
There are other methods of taking medicines, supplements, and vitamins including gummies, powders, and liquids. However, some of these alternate methods don’t deliver the bioavailability of today’s capsules. The term “bioavailability” refers to how well the nutrients from foods and supplements are absorbed by the body. Cutting up or crushing pills and tablets is one way people have dealt with pill swallowing difficulties. However, this can change the way the pill’s ingredients are absorbed by the body, sometimes in adverse ways. For these reasons, it’s preferable to have an individual become comfortable with swallowing pills, capsules, and tablets.
One simple approach that has proven successful is to simply make the pill, tablet, or capsule smaller. This is the strategy behind the Tishcon Freedom Softgel ETS (Easy-to-Swallow) capsule. By allowing the user to swallow two small capsules instead of one large one, swallowing difficulties are greatly reduced and any apprehension caused by having to swallow pills is greatly reduced. In addition, the capsule format used to create Freedom Softgel ETS generally provides far greater bioavailability than pills or tablets.
Swallowing involves both voluntary and involuntary muscle movements. Those with swallowing difficulties can benefit from swallowing therapy and exercises offered by medical professionals, but there are limits to what these therapies can overcome.
There are three phases to swallowing, and pill swallowing difficulties can occur at any of the phases. The first phase is the oral phase in which the tongue and / or the liquid pushes the pill to the back of the mouth. This triggers the second or pharyngeal phase, in which the epiglottis closes off the trachea (windpipe) to prevent the pill (or food) from entering the lungs. The final, or esophageal, phase occurs when the pill and liquid enter the esophagus, the tube that leads to the stomach. Some people experience difficulty with the oral phase and are unable to swallow the pill at all. Other may experience difficulty when the larynx doesn’t close fully, which causing choking. Still others experience trouble in the esophageal phase and report that the pill seems stuck in their throat. If a pill bypasses the epiglottis and becomes lodged in the trachea, it may be necessary to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
There are many medical conditions that can cause pill swallowing difficulties including neurological, muscular, pathological, and psychological disorders. People experiencing pill swallowing issues can consult their family physician who may enlist help from a specialist such as gastroenterologist, otolaryngologist, or speech pathologist. If difficulty in swallowing extends beyond just pill swallowing, it can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, or pneumonia caused by bits of food being misdirected into the lungs. Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a serious medical issue and needs to be treated as such.
The Division of Developmental Disabilities has prepared this advisory to share important information regarding choking risks; foods commonly identified as contributing factors in choking; and emergency response to choking.
Contact us to learn how ETS Softgels can benefit you and your company.
Manufactured by Tishcon Corp. in Westbury, NY
in a cGMP-certified USA Facility
50 Sylvester Street, Westbury, NY 11590
Phone: (516) 333-3050
Toll Free: (800) 848-8442
Fax: (516) 997-1052