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Theme of the Week: Large and Small Tablets

If you work in community pharmacy, you may come across hundreds of medications in your day-to-day practice. While tablets can take on any size, colour, shape and form, what really stands out is the size of these tablets!


A small subset of patients may have trouble swallowing large pills. Here are some notable “horse pills” that patients may complain about:

1) Glumetza (extended-release metformin) 1000 mg: consider switching to regular 500 mg metformin tablets

2) Clavulin (amoxicillin-clavulanate) 875 mg: consider the liquid formulation, but may be less tolerable

3) Lipitor (atorvastatin) 80 mg: consider 2 tablets of the 40 mg tablet

4) Valacyclovir (Valtrex) 1000 mg : consider 2 tablets of the 500 mg tablet


Other than large tablets, we have the other end of the spectrum: insanely small tablets which could be lost in an instant if you are not careful!

1) Ativan Sublingual (lorazepam) 0.5 mg: a small tablet makes it quicker and easier to dissolve for a rapid onset of action

2) Toloxin (digoxin) 0.0625 mg: these tablets are so small that it is hard to see the markings sometimes (not even in this picture)

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