What are orally disintegrating tablets?

December 02, 2019

What are orally disintegrating tablets?
Oral disintegrating tablets are also known as meltlets, melt-in-mouth tablets, repimelts, rapid disintegrating tablets, freeze-dried wafers, mouth-dissolving pills, fast melting tablets and oral dispersible tablets.
Orally disintegrating tablets get dissolved when in contact with saliva and get in the blood stream through the oral mucosa.
Cross section of orally disintegrating tablet shows why meltlets get absorbed so quickly by the body
How oral disintegrating tablet gets dissolved by saliva
Mouth melting tablets are easy to use by children

Orally disintegrating tablet is a pill that contains some form of medicine, which dissolves quickly when being placed on the tongue. These mouth melting tablets are different from normal pills and capsules, which require swallowing the entire tablet. In fact, normal tablets and capsules usually taste so bad that it would be nearly impossible to keep them on your tongue or in your mouth for an extended period of time.


What is the difference between meltlets, rapid disintegrating tablets, mouth-dissolving pills and oral disintegrating tablets?


Oral disintegrating tablets are known by many names like meltlets, melt-in-mouth tablets, repimelts, rapid disintegrating tablets, freeze-dried wafers, mouth-dissolving pills, fast melting tablets and oral dispersible tablets.


Why do we need orally disintegrating tablets?


For many years, physicians have preferred the oral administration of medicines compared to other options available. Tablets and capsules are easy to make in standard dosages and come in convenient, compact forms.

Pills that need to be swallowed in whole don’t cause compliance issues with the patients. However, there are many people (mainly children and the elderly), who find it difficult, or even scary, to swallow a whole piece of tablet.

These are usually patients diagnosed with a condition called dysphagia, which manifests with difficulties in swallowing. Dysphagia affects around 35% of the population of elderly individuals.


When pills, capsules and tablets are difficult to swallow, a serious problem can follow for the patient and the people around. Imagine, for instance, that this patient has a contagious disease, which can be treated and cured by this particular medication. But that medication only comes in the form of a capsule that has to be swallowed. If the patient finds it uncomfortable, or perhaps even fearful to swallow the capsule, they may not follow the prescribed treatment regimen. Therefore, they may end up spreading their ailment to other people around.

Oral disintegrating tablets are found to be as safe, if not safer, than traditional capsules and tablets.

What are orally disintegrating tablets used for?


Orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs) are tablets that dissolve in your mouth, aided only by saliva, and normally within 60 seconds. ODTs are especially useful for children, elderly adults, or anyone who has difficulty swallowing pills. They are currently the only pill or medicine that rapidly dissolves and that is recognized by the FDA.


How do you take orally disintegrating tablets?


ODTs normally come encased in foil. Remove the tablet from the foil with dry hands and place it on your tongue (or wherever the included instructions indicate; in some cases, you may be directed to place the ODT under your tongue).

Once it is on your tongue, simply let it dissolve. No water is needed, and do not chew or swallow the tablet until it is completely dissolved.


Can you cut orally disintegrating tablets in half?


Only take a partial dose if instructed to do so by your doctor. Some OTDs come with a line down the middle to aid in cutting in half. If the tablet is large enough to get a good hold on, you may be able to break it apart by using your dry fingers. Otherwise, you should use a specialized pill cutter, available for purchase at most pharmacies.


Can you swallow an orally disintegrating tablet?


ODTs are meant to be completely dissolved in your mouth, but you may find that you either forget, or accidently swallow one. In this case, you may want to call your pharmacist and ask them what steps, if any, you should take.


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