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Pros and Cons of Different Pill Sizes and Coatings

pill-varietyPills come in a number of sizes and coatings. Why? For several reasons; pill size can prove to be an issue for many people. There are different types of pill coatings for different purposes too. Each may have its own advantages and disadvantages.

Pill size can cause problems for those with swallowing issues like a sensitive gag reflex or weakened swallowing capabilities. Some pills are rather big and may be a result of fillers and binders added to the pill during manufacturing. Pills can’t be too small either. They must be large enough for human hands to handle them. Pill size can be directly related to dosage also. Many pills are offered in 2 smaller capsules or tablets to help with this issue. Liquid or powder supplements can be good alternatives to pills also.

Coatings have different functions whether it’s for vitamins or medications. Depending on where a pill’s contents need to be absorbed in the body coatings vary. Some coatings can permit substances to be immediately or slowly absorbed. Compression type coatings are used for time released pills. Enteric coatings prevent a pill from being dissolved until it’s passed through the stomach. The contents of some pills can damage the stomach or decrease its effectiveness. Enteric coatings are not recommended for those who are recovering from gastric surgery though. Coatings can help to mask disagreeable flavors and odors too. Gelatin coatings are used to enhance swallowing and slipperiness. It can also help protect against stomach upset. Pill coatings also enhance the shelf life of a product. They can also help to contain pill contents that are brittle or crumbly which prevents the substance from dissolving in the mouth.

Pill size and coatings may differ from one to the other but the intent is for the right amount of contents to be absorbed at a specified area of the digestive tract. If coatings are disagreeable to your stomach there are other alternatives like liquid, dissolvable, chewable or powder forms of supplements.


Works Cited

Gray MD, FRCPC, James R. and Attara, Gail. “Are the Coats on Your Pills the Right Fit for Your Gut?” badgut.org. Feb. 2008. 10 Jun. 2013.

McNally, Mary. “What Are Coated Vitamins.” 24 Jul. 2011. 11 Jun. 2013.

Gelatine for Vitamin Coatings. Gelita.com. 2013. 11 Jun. 2013.


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