How do tablet properties influence swallowing behaviours?

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2014 Jan;66(1):32-9. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12155. Epub 2013 Oct 16.


Objectives: Behavioural performance of tablet swallowing was evaluated with different tablet conditions in terms of size, number and surface coating.

Methods: Four different types of tablets were prepared: small or large, and with or without a surface coating. Fourteen normal male adults were instructed to swallow the prepared tablets with 15 ml of water. The number of tablets in one trial was changed from one to three. To evaluate swallowing and tablet transport, electromyographic activity was recorded in the left suprahyoid muscles, and videofluorographic images were examined.

Key findings: All tablet conditions (size, number and surface coating) affected the swallowing performance in terms of total number of swallows, electromyographic burst patterns and location of remaining tablets. Increases in the size and number of tablets increased the number of swallows and electromyographic burst area and duration. In addition, all of these parameters increased while swallowing tablets without a coating compared with tablets with a coating. Location of the remaining tablets was mainly within the mouth.

Conclusions: This study only clarified the normal pattern of tablet swallowing under several conditions in healthy subjects, but the results may facilitate comprehensive evaluation and treatment planning in terms of administering medication to dysphagic patients.

Keywords: dysphagia; electromyogram; human; swallow; tablet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth
  • Particle Size
  • Tablets / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Tablets