A new medical device designed to help people who have problems swallowing their tablets is now available in the UK.
Med-Easy™ is described as a breakthrough product by its manufacturer Fagron, the world-leading pharmaceutical compounding business.
The liquid has been developed for people who suffer from dysphagia: a difficulty in swallowing, which might occur after a stroke or if a patient has cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
It will also help people who find it difficult to swallow because their medication gives them a dry mouth.
Med-Easy™ is aimed as well at people who struggle to take large tablets, children making the transition from liquid medicine to tablets or capsules and people young and old who suffer from pill anxiety.
“We believe Med-Easy™ provides a breakthrough for all those people who up to now have to suffer in silence,” said Dan Barton, the Marketing Communication Manager of Fagron UK.
“They or their carers have had to resort to crushing tablets or disguising them in food. Both practices are ill-advised and if medication is not taken properly the condition for which it was prescribed is unlikely to improve.”
Med-Easy™, which has a slight cherry taste, has been available in Europe under a different brand name. It is now on sale initially in 22 Knights pharmacies throughout the North East of England. Peter Horrocks, Superintendent Pharmacist at Knights Pharmacy Group said: “We are delighted that our pharmacies are the first to offer customers this much-needed product. Like some of the best ideas it seems so simple, but it works and has the potential to help a very large number of people.”
There are no confirmed figures, but it is thought that dysphagia and pill anxiety affects millions of people in the UK.
“A cure is not always possible, meaning the condition needs to be carefully managed. In a care home, for example, there might be many residents affected by dysphagia. So having an easy-to-use solution on hand is incredibly important,” said Mr Horrocks.
A tablet is placed on a medicine spoon and covered in 10ml of Med-Easy™. It wraps around the tablet and suspends it in liquid, helping it flow freely down the oesophagus. Med-Easy™ is gluten free and can be used with any tablet or capsule which is normally taken with water.
A senior NHS speech and language therapist, whose daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome, has described Med-Easy™ as a “lifesaver”.
Sonja Jacobs, the Lead Speech and Language Therapist for Complex Needs at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, said her 19-year-old daughter Chané had never been able to swallow tablets. But that had not been an issue because she had only ever taken medication which was available in liquid form.
“That was fine, but because of quite severe anxiety – and sleep problems which just got worse and worse – she was prescribed medication that was only in tablet form. Her anxiety was getting really, really out of hand – so much so that so that she was housebound,” said Sonja.
“She’s really, really sensitive to taste – that’s part of her autism – but luckily she absolutely loved the taste of Med-Easy™, so otherwise I think we would have had some problems.”
With the help of Med-Easy™, Chané was able to take her medication which successfully addressed her problems with sleep and anxiety.
“If it wasn’t for that period – those two months when she needed it – she would have still been in an incurable position,” said her mother. “Now anxiety is managed, sleep is managed and she can swallow the tablets because she’s not so anxious.”
“Med-Easy™’s been an absolute life-saver. Without that we would have been down a terrible, terrible path.”
Med-Easy™ is also available through Phoenix Healthcare and Chemist 4U. For more details visit www.med-easy.co.uk/