Diana: Problems with multiple medicines (I) – Difficulties administering medicines

Listen to patients and health professionals speak about their experience with taking multiple medicines.

Age at interview: 22
Number of medicines: 13
Cultural background: Anglo-Australian

Diana finds it difficult swallowing so many tablets. To help with this, she now buys supplements in different forms that do not need to be swallowed.


Due to the natural size of some of the medications, trying to swallow them, I can't take tablets with water because they'd start to dissolve, I'd feel the taste of them and it would just be a natural gag reflex. If any of them would go sideways in my throat, I'd start choking on them. It was also partially a mental aspect of it, of okay, I'm on this many, I'm trying to swallow all this many, and it would just be, okay I've swallowed five, now the sixth, now the seventh. It would really get to me, especially when my thyroid started swelling up as well and impacting on my throat. It wouldn't be easy. So I work around it, I go for the chewable tablets, the effervescent ones. I've learnt different methods of getting around it.


What kinds of methods?


Like with ... I'll take the effervescent tablets, I've got a packet of the magnesium effervescent ones for if I think, okay, my throat's sore, I don't think I'll be able to swallow one of the full, normal-sized capsules today. I've also got the gummy tablets ... gummy ones to try and control that because I'm not swallowing this giant tablet to get down. So if I'm feeling like my throat's a bit closed up, I can just chew it a bit more, really.

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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with Healthtalk Australia.