Crush This

When the doctor first told me that my husband was going to have a feeding tube, I had many questions.  Among them, how would he take his medications?  The doctor simply replied, “Crush them.”  That sounds very simple but my odyssey into crushing pills has evolved over several months.  (Note:  always check with your doctor to assure that your medications can be crushed.)  I watched the nurse in the hospital crush Hubby’s medications each day and asked questions.  When we got home, I pulled out a pill crusher I already had and got to work.

The evil hand crusher

To use this crusher, I could only put one pill in at a time and had to twist till I thought my arms would fall off.  There had to be a better way.  In the hospital, the nurse used this industrial looking crusher.  She would put all the pills in a plastic pouch and crush them together.  I searched online and found the same one.  It’s called the Silent Knight and is available from Medline medical supplies.  It’s costly, but it sure did the job in record time.

This worked pretty good with the exception of coated tablets and harder pills.  When Hubby went to mix his medications with water to take them, the coatings floated in the water and some of the harder pills didn’t dissolve completely.  I thought a mortar and pestle might work to finely crush the pills.  I began a search for one.  I found what I needed at a local kitchen store.  It’s a small one used for crushing herbs.


My junior mortar and pestal
The partially crushed pills







The finely crushed pills

This worked great!  I put the partially crushed pills from the plastic pouch in the mortar and ground them with the pestle.  I was left with a powder of finely crushed pills.  However, the coating on some pills still remained.  I needed some way to strain them out.  I found a small tea strainer at the kitchen store also.  And using a plastic cup from my craft supplies, I placed the strainer over the cup and scraped the powder out of the mortar.  I use a metal spoon because the plastic one made a horrible screeching sound.   A few taps on the strainer and all the pill powder sifted through and the large pieces remained in the strainer. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t just put the pills in the mortar and crush them with the pestle and skip crushing them in the plastic pouch first.  That can be done but some pills will just shoot out of the mortar when you press down and other pills, like vitamins, are very hard to crush.  It can be done, but since I have the industrial crusher, I might as well use it.

I dipped into the craft supplies to devise a system for storing the crushed pills.  I found a bead storage box with 24 small screw-top containers.  I labeled seven with AM and seven with PM and placed them on the tray.  I also got two 2-ounce travel containers to use for dissolving each day’s pills.  I colored coded the PM containers blue and made sure to get one blue-lidded travel container.  I usually crush pills for one week at a time.

A week’s worth of meds ready to go
My pill-crushing set-up

This method has worked well for us.  It may not be the solution for everyone because each of us has different circumstances.  I only hope I have given you some ideas on how to make your situation better.  Always check with your doctor on matters regarding your medications.




  1. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for the tip on the Silent Knight. We have several pill crushers for Joe, but anything that is time release gets stuck in his PEG tube (and we make a trip to the ER). So several of his meds have to be compounded. I have more medicine in my fridge than I do food.

    Good luck to both of you!



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