Medication swallowing difficulties in people without dysphagia

ABSTRACT Objective: to assess the difficulty in swallowing medications and correlate it with age and gender in healthy adults and elderly. Methods: a total of 439 asymptomatic healthy volunteers (270 females and 169 males), who were not taking any medication on a regular basis, aged from 20 to 84 years, were questioned as for dysphagia, by using the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10). Question number five of the EAT-10, specifically, approached the difficulty in swallowing drugs, considering zero as “no swallowing problem” and 1 to 4 as “some degree of difficulty” (4 as great difficulty).The chi-square test (x2) was used for the statistical analysis. Results: a total of 365 (83%) volunteers reported having no difficulty in swallowing medications (89% of men and 80% of women), whereas 74 (17%) reported some degree of difficulty (11% of men and 20% of women)(p = 0.01). These represented 20% of those aged between 20 and 49, and 9% of those aged 50 and over (p = 0.02). Conclusion: in this study, it was observed that both age and gender influence on medication swallowing, a difficulty more frequent among women and young adults. Some degree of difficulty was reported by 17% of the volunteers.