How to Safely Split a Pill

If you’re prescribed a medication that comes in tablet form, there may be occasions when you need to split the tablet into halves or quarters. Knowing how to safely split a pill at home can help you reduce costs and make it easier to take your medications. Read on to learn more about when not to split a tablet and what type of tablets can be split.

Why Split Tablets

Splitting tablets can help you save money or allow you to take a lower dose if needed. For example, if the dosage of medication comes in 10 mg tablets and 5 mg tablets are available at a lower cost, it could be more economical to split the 10 mg tablet.

What Type of Tablets Can Be Halved?

Most non coated tablets can be safely split but it's best to double check with your doctor or pharmacist first. If the tablet is scored (has a cut line) then it is normally safe to split the tablet.

When Not to Split a Tablet

Not all tablets are safe for splitting, so it’s important to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before attempting this procedure. Tablets that are coated should never be split because the coating is designed to either protect the stomach (enteric Coated) or to allow for slow absorption (Time released) . Extended-release or time-release tablets should never be split as they are formulated for slow absorption of the medication over an extended period of time.

Some tablets are also very fragile and if attempting to split they will splinter into many pieces. These should not be split.

As medications may not always split exactly evenly it is important where the dosage is critical you do not split these types of medications (for example - certain blood thinning and cancer medications)

Three ways  to Cut a tablet in half

  • Using your fingers
    • To split a tablet that is scored, grab the tablet in both hands between the thumb and index finger, and break it outwards on the score line. It should easily snap into two halves.
  • Knife or Sharp Blade
    • When using a knife, it’s important to ensure that it is clean and sharp. It is best to place the pill on a flat surface and use the back of the blade to press down against one side of the tablet in order to create an even split. If the tablet splinters then rather use a pill splitter
  • Pill Splitter
    • The safest way to split a pill is to use a pill splitter, which can be purchased at most pharmacies or online drug stores. This device has two pieces that fit together and have razor-sharp blades on the underside which makes splitting pills very easy and ensures the halves are equal in size.


Split pills can offer many benefits such as cost savings and convenience but must always be done following proper instructions from healthcare professionals. Never attempt splitting any kind of coated pill or extended release pill; these types of drugs must never be divided into smaller pieces due to their special formulations for slow absorption and long-term release into the body. Always double check with your doctor or pharmacist before attempting this procedure so that you understand which pills are safe for splitting and which ones should remain whole! By following these tips, you can safely and effectively manage your medication regimen without risking any unwanted side effects from incorrect dosages!

Medications that should not be split - See Science Direct

Also, see this Blog Post