Patients with dysphagia: experiences of taking medication

J Adv Nurs. 2010 Jan;66(1):82-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2009.05145.x. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Aim: This paper is a report of a study exploring the experiences of taking medication for older people with dysphagia.

Background: Dysphagia is a common problem, especially amongst older people, and affects ingestion of food, fluids and medicines. With the number of elders in the population increasing, and currently accounting for one-third of prescribing volume in the United Kingdom, dysphagia is becoming a major problem in terms of medicine administration and therapy.

Method: In 2007, we carried out interviews with 11 patients in one county of England who had different degrees of dysphagia. The interview transcriptions were analysed using Colaizzi's technique.

Results: Six inter-related themes were identified from the data: (a) the wide spectrum and variability of dysphagia; (b) medication formulation; (c) information exchange between patients and healthcare professionals; (d) factors affecting medication adherence; (e) strategies used to improve swallowing; (f) the central function of swallowing as eating and drinking.

Conclusion: It is vital to ensure that each patient has an individualized medication regimen, and for patients with dysphagia the formulation of the medicine is as important as the active ingredients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Deglutition Disorders / psychology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy
  • Dosage Forms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Physician-Patient Relations


  • Dosage Forms