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Pill Swallowing Tips for Kids with ADHD

Parenting Tips


Updated January 26, 2008

Since many kids can't begin to swallow pills or capsules until they are about ten years old, it can be a difficult to get a child with ADHD to take their medicine.

Fortunately, these tips work for many parents:

  • ask your Pediatrician to prescribe a medication that can be opened and sprinkled on applesauce, etc., such as Adderall XR, Ritalin LA, and Metadate CD
  • consider getting a prescription for Methylin Chewable Tablets or Oral Solution, which are short acting forms of Ritalin
  • see if your pharmacist has a 'recipe' to turn the pill or capsule into a liquid. Some people are already doing this with Strattera, but you will likely have go to a compounding pharmacy to get it done.
  • teach your child to swallow pills, which is not always as difficult as it sounds.
To teach your child to swallow pills, it may help to:
  • have your child put the pill in his mouth and then drink a glass of water through a straw. With this method, many kids concentrate on the straw and don't think about the pill, so it goes down easily.
  • in addition to the pill, put a spoonful of applesauce, yogurt, or pudding in his mouth and then have him swallow it all together.
  • have him chew on a piece of bread or a cookie and then put the pill in his mouth just before he would swallow it
  • put the pill under your child's tongue and then have him drink a glass of water
  • have your child practice swallowing smaller things first, before moving on to a pill
  • put the pill on your child's tongue and then have him fill his mouth with water, so that his cheeks are full and puff out, and then have him swish it all around and then swallow it all

These tips were submitted by Vincent Iannelli, MD from Dallas, Texas

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