Saturday, April 16, 2016

Pill Splitting Malarkey

One of the common bits of hokum you will sometimes hear, is that splitting a heartworm pill for a 50-pound dog, in order to treat two 25-pound dogs, is somehow bad, or even "dangerous".

How will you know which half of the pill has the medication?


If anyone who works in a vet's office tells you this nonsense, find a new vet.

Pills are not made with magic elves putting little drops of active ingredients on blank tablets with an eye dropper.

Pills, like dog food, spaghetti, and a thousand other things, are made in massive machines holding thousands of  pounds of drug goods and chemicals that are mixed into a uniform slurry. That slurry is then extruded through a nozzle, or stamped in a mold, and then baked or dried to final shape before being tumbled with a preservative or coating.

The video below shows the process. It's important to note that there is no medication given in tablet, capsule, or caplet form whose dosage is so critical that a slightly sub-strength or extra-strength pill or  from an uneven mix will have any  negative health impact.

Here's a hint:  Every drug store in America sells pill-splitters so that senior citizens and others can save money doing exactly what some halt-wit on the Internet is telling you is dangerous and wrong for your dog.

If you want to know how they make capsules and gel caps, use the Google or the search engine on the YouTube web site.  It's all the same.


Viatecio said...

Just like buying a large-dog dose of flea medicine and dosing it out for smaller dogs, it's off-label use. I don't tell people not to do it, but I tell people that it's not supposed to be done and if they mess it up somehow (lordy know how, but I know there are a few individuals out there who do it in spectacular ways), it's totally on them because wherever I work will not sell them the product to do it. Since I work at brick-and-mortar vet hospitals, they must go elsewhere.

With prescription things like heartworm prevention, I would love to see companies and clinics allow the use of buying in bulk. We do it for custom-dosing smaller patients (e.g. heart medication, thyroid medication, pain medication, etc). It's simply a ploy to be able to sell someone a discrete amount for a 12-month period when the pet will next be due for it's "annual" heartworm test (since we have to make sure the meds are working and they are being given to a HW-negative dog), and if they say "Oh, I have some left over at home" in 12 months, then we know there is a compliance issue. And companies offer rebates when bought in 6- or 12-month supplies, but the product must be under the same patient, so the person who buys 3 or 6 months for similar-sized dogs is not eligible for $$ back--the product is prescription, so it has to be invoiced under the individual pet. It would be amazing to sell someone an entire BOX of the 272mcg (51-100lb) version of any popular ivermectin product with direction to split into quarters for monthly [I know how you feel about this, but play along] administration to a pet that only needs the 68mcg dose; that's 4 YEARS of product at a very nominal price, especially with the generics available today.

But you must know someone I know, because that exact question was stated multiple times as an incentive to get the dog to eat the WHOLE PILL that was (you know it) dosed appropriately for size and paid for via money that some owners don't have to prevent against an infection that may not even be endemic to that part of the country. Next time I hear it, I'll imagine your elves hard at work, fooling the public by putting the medicine in the ONE PART of the pill that the dog will crunch and spit out. Because that'll teach those silly owners to trust vets, when their dog gets heartworm infection because it was picky or sick and spit out or vomited up the ingredient so carefully applied with an eyedropper...

PipedreamFarm said...

The one place where splitting meds can be an issues is where the meds are compounded to be timed released. Most people won't take the time to evenly split the colored beads in each capsule

jeffrey thurston said...

There should be a special concentration camp just for anyone who had anything to do with today's American pharmacy industry. Out in the Sacramento Valley- all those executives and doctors and chemists working themselves to death in the hot sun... with short hoes...