Swallow Large Pills Without Gagging: How To Do It With Ease

Trying to swallow large pills is one of the most frustrating parts of taking multiple medications. Here is a tip to avoid gagging on them and having them feel like they are stuck in your throat.

swallow large pillsHave you ever have some of those pills that look so big you think they belong to a large animal, not a human being? One of the biggest deterrents to my taking vitamins regularly is that some days I just can’t swallow those pills without the gagging reflex kicking in. Having to swallow those big pills can cause me to start even feeling panicky and that makes swallowing the large pill even worse–because then it does get stuck! And it’s an awful feeling when that happens.

I recently read this tip in a magazine about how to swallow large pills easily and it really does seem to help. Since I began doing it the way that is described below, I have had little difficulty when I must swallow large pills like those pain killers or magnesium supplements.

To swallow large pills, tilt your chin DOWN when swallowing instead of up. Even try looking down while you do this.

Although, tilting it up is what comes naturally since we are trying to swallow (it seems to make sense we would need to open up our throat) it will actually open up your trachea (the wind pipe) and close up the esophagus. This is exactly the opposite of what you want to do.

However, when you tilt your chin down the position of your throat opens up the esophagus. It also closes the windpipe so the pill can slide down more easily!

Want some more ideas (including some for children who have to take pills)? There are a bunch with animated graphics at How to Swallow a Pill: 12 Steps (no, there aren’t really 12 steps, but 12 ways, but that’s what they named the article.)


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21 Responses to Swallow Large Pills Without Gagging: How To Do It With Ease

  1. It’s called the “chin tuck” maneuver. I hear about it when they do swallowing studies and the patient is having trouble swallowing while in the normal position – sometimes they can swallow in “chin tuck” consistencies that they can’t while in normal position. Hope it helps someone.

  2. I just want to thank you for your help in swallowing a big pill by tucking your chin down. It works and this is an answer to my prayers! I find it helpful also to swallow the pill with some applesauce when I am tucking my chin down. I have had the hardest time swallowing this horse pill for so long. It would get stuck in my throat and take so long to go down. A couple of times thought I was not even going to be able to get it down it got so stuck and really scared me! It got to the point that last week I opened up the pill and put it in water and drank it down and wow was this a mistake! It tasted so bad I almost threw it up and it gave me a rush like you would not believe! I am not ever going to do this again and was told this could be dangerous doing it this way. Regular pills I have no problem with it is just these really big ones. Again thank you so much for your advice making this so much easier for me and God Bless You!!!

  3. This title sure caught my attention today. I’ve been using chewable multiple vitamins and (delicious) Mega Cal Calcium Chews for several years now. I also tried liquid Calcium, but had trouble with mixing it no matter how many times I shook it. Just recently I checked to see if either of the regular tablets were scored, so have been trying to swallow them by halves. I use a hammer on a sharp knife to break them as they’re too large to fit in the gadget I have for that purpose.

    Next time I’ll try the chin tuck method. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Great tips! I too, have had numerous occasions where the pill would refuse to go down. Here’s another one: Drink several big gulps of water before you take the pill(s). It helps prepare your throat for easier swallowing. Hope that helps.

  5. the chin tuck seems to work the best for me not only because it’s supposed to open the throat more but because most pills will float to the top which would put them farther in the back of your mouth. (if you already have sipped some water that is) I also hold my breath… not sure if that helps, it’s just something I’ve always done.

  6. ive tried the chin tuck and it really doesnt work its rubbish

  7. Thanks so much! I take at least 20 pills/day (vitamins and supplements) and until now, swallowing the pills was the least enjoyable part of my day. This technique is excellent, now my boyfriend doesn’t have to be on “choke watch” each time I take my vitamins.

  8. I have been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting
    article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  9. Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks
    for sharing!

  10. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over
    again. Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  11. AWESOME tip!!! Last night I got some new medicine and the pills were huge compared to anything i’d taken before. I choked it down and barely swallowed it last night but by tilting my head down I can take the pill with extreme ease. Thanks so much!

  12. omg this helped me so much! thank you!!!!!

  13. Thanks a lot it totally works

  14. Thanks a lot it totally workso

  15. This was awesome help for me tonight!
    I was skeptical, but this works!!! Thank you!

  16. Thanks so much for sharing this. I have to take a potassium supplement, and this pill has caused me the most trouble I’ve ever had swallowing a pill. It’s huge, it tastes terrible, it’s not coated at all and it’s sticky. Even when I broke it in half, it would still stick in my throat! I tried every way I could think of, but nothing worked until I tried your suggestion of the chin tuck. Oh my gosh, it went down so easily that I didn’t even know it was there! I take this pill twice a day and I dreaded it, but thanks to you, I don’t have to dread it now. Thank you thank you thank you!

  17. I put the water in before the pill, you rarely ever feel it!

  18. They need to regulate pills more efficiently. It should be a legal requirement to represent the size of the tablet/capsule/soft gel on the bottle and there should be limits when it comes to manufacturing the size of a pill. Many people just can’t swallow for various reasons. Even the chin-tuck maneuver would not work in those cases. It sounds like most people would rather take multiple pills if they were smaller in size. That should be an option for them.

  19. After 27 years… you finally solved it. I tucked my chin right down to chest and suddenly the pill was gone. Amazing.

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