Splitting Tablets Can Result in Dose Deviations

Use of a splitting device reduces the weight deviation and weight loss of the resulting tablet parts

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Common methods of splitting tablets result in dose deviation and weight loss in the resulting parts, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Charlotte Verrue, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from Ghent University in Belgium, and colleagues compared methods of tablet-splitting to assess dose deviations and weight loss of the resulting tablet parts. Eight different types of tablets were split by five volunteers using three different methods: a Pilomat (a splitting device), scissors for unscored tablets and manually for scored tablets, or a kitchen knife. Tablets and their parts were weighed before and after splitting.

The investigators found that using a splitting device resulted in lower mean deviation from the theoretical weight for all tablets included in the study. There was no statistical difference between the other two methods. Use of a splitting device also resulted in significantly less weight loss than the other methods for splitting tablets.

"Tablet-splitting is daily practice in nursing homes. However, not all formulations are suitable for splitting, and even when they are large dose deviations or weight losses can occur. This could have serious clinical consequences for medications with a narrow therapeutic-toxic range." the authors write.

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