FDA Warns Against Tablet Splitting to Save Money

FDA Warns Against Tablet Splitting to Save Money

While many consumers split pills in half in order to save money, even if the tablets are not scored down the middle, the FDA is warning against the practice as the dose in each half can vary significantly, potentially leading to taking too much medicine.

FDA researchers tested whether a score on a tablet impacted the uniformity of the dose in drugs, Norvasc (amlodipine), which is used to treat high blood pressure, and Neurontin (gabapentin), an anticonvulsant used to treat seizures.

Tablets were purchased from 5 amlodipine and 6 gabapentin drug manufacturers, Monthly Prescribing Reference reported. Both drugs are available as a generic.

When unscored amlodipine tablets were split, the variability in the dose of the two halves were significant. In addition, none of the split tablets met established criteria for “content uniformity.”

With gabapentin, the fully scored tablets met criteria for acceptable weight and dose of the active ingredient.

Overall, splitting tablets produced more variability in doses in both of the drugs, though the change in amolodipine was more significant.

The FDA warns against splitting tablets to save money, and in its own guidance, says that splitting “can affect how much drug is present in the split tablet and available for absorption.”

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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