The Evolution of Taking A Bactrim Pill

October 24, 2013 in Medical Stories


— (Photo credit: felix.castor)

Back when Little Dude was first learning to take his Bactrim, I’d have to budget lots of time for his pill-swallowing.

And I do mean LOTS: one hour in the morning. And another hour at night. That’s the equivalent of two whole episodes of “Orange Is The New Black” that I could have watched. Yes, I am obsessed with that show, but that is currently how I measure my valuable time.

At first, we tried the liquid Bactrim, which was supposed to be a grape flavor.

According to Little Dude, it tasted like crap.

“Mom, this is going to make me throw up!”

And sure enough, he was right.

Then, the pediatrician suggested we try a different flavor. She sent us to a pharmacy that could make the Bactrim taste like almost anything: banana, cherry, bubble gum, popcorn, soda, you name it!

After forking over $40 for a second supply of liquid Bactrim (because it was so not worth the effort to try to get insurance to cover it again), I had high hopes for the cherry flavor.

My dreams went ‘poof’ as soon as he smelled it.

“Uch! I am so not going near this medicine!”

“Okay then, you are going to have to learn to swallow it in pill form,” I said, hoping he’d just chug the friggin’ liquid.

“Fine, I can swallow a pill,” he said confidently.

As soon as I showed him the pill, his confidence went down the drain, along with his puked up Bactrium liquid.

The pill was huge. And chalky.

I cut it in half and told him that half a pill would be much easier to swallow.

Except I was wrong.

We endured episodes of gagging, spitting it up, screaming (that would be me), and scraping it off his tongue.

Until finally, success.

Only one more half to go!

Yeah, right.

I forgot to mention that the Bactrim is prescribed for him to take it TWICE A DAY for THREE DAYS IN A ROW — and here’s the clincher: EVERY WEEK until his treatments are finished. That’s 46 weeks of torture, people.

I never would have predicted that taking the Bactrim pill would be more stressful and upsetting to Little Dude than the actual treatments, which consist of constant needles, occasional nausea, and incessant waiting in the hospital.

Luckily, our adventures in downing the Bactrim have evolved from a long drawn-out, stress-induced sit-down, to a more calm and efficient approach, although even that took a little while more.

We went from me placing it on his tongue, to counting backwards from 10, and now we’ve perfected it to this:

I turn my back and he takes both halves of the pill while I’m not looking.

Although this can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 20, it works for him. And me.

Unless of course his brothers happen to be nearby making noise. If that is the case, we are doomed because Little Dude needs complete and total silence when ingesting his Bactrim.

Only 29 more weeks of pill-taking to go.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie October 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

I remember as a kid first learning to take Tylenol in pill form when I was sick how awful I thought that was. And that was just Tylenol. Poor Little Dude and even more poor you. God knows what I will endure when both of my girls are old enough to swallow medicine in pill forms. I am sure with two girls it will be all that dramatic and a bag of chips, too!
Janine Huldie recently posted…Ode to Spaghetti with Gravy~October Daily #24My Profile


ohboymom October 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

Well, it’s hard to predict the drama. My oldest son became such a good pill swallower early on, that he can do it without any water now! Just have those bag of chips ready just in case.:)


Trish October 24, 2013 at 10:52 am

They make a pill glide spray you can get. Pretty sure walgreens sells it our pediatrician recommended it!


ohboymom October 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

Really? I had no idea that product existed! Will definitely look into it…thanks!


Ruchira October 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

keeping fingers crossed that the duration shortens, however; am proud of your little dude..he is a dodger and will knock this problem off the ramp too!

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ohboymom October 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I agree – he’s on his way to expert pill-swallowing! :)


Marina October 25, 2013 at 8:18 am

My not so little kids still can’t swallow. We use bannanas as the transportation vehicle for any pill. Bury it deep inside and hope for the best. There is a special device that our doctor suggested that helps with pill swallowing.

I think this is the link…..


ohboymom October 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

Bananas – wow, I never would have thought of that, but it makes sense! Will check out the link too – thanks!


Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. October 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

That. Sucks. I had asthma as a child, and I vividly remember how bad the capsules tasted when we sprinkled them over ice cream, so my mom taught me to swallow red hots. But the size and chalky factor make the swallowing thing way worse. I hope you have a major reward planned for both of you at the end of the pills! Hugs!
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ohboymom October 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Yes, we definitely have a BIG reward planned when this is all over!


Kristi Campbell October 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Oh jeez. Out of all the things. That sucks. While I can’t relate to the pill swallowing, I can relate a related story (and I just used relate three times – now four in a single sentence. There should be a law against that). Anyway, when Tucker had bronchitis last year, he was on 2 meds plus a fever reducer. Every time we’d try to get them (liquid) down his throat, he’d gag and puke and then we weren’t even sure how much he’d gotten. Putting it in his juice meant that he’d not drink his juice. Or a sip and again, not sure how much he got. When they wanted to give him antibiotics, I said no, unless they’d give him a shot. They said no. We waited. Anyway, I was complaining about it and somebody asked why I hadn’t requested suppositories. I was all “HUH?? That’s an option??” It was and the pharmacy can make almost anything into them. It takes longer but I’m telling you that for my kid, a butt bullet is WAY better. Anyway. Not good advice as I’m sure that’d make both you and Little Dude puke even more but well. Just my “my experience sortof a little kindof related to this” story. Sorry that the pills suck.
Hugs to you and all! xo


ohboymom October 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

That actually fascinates me a little that your dude would prefer a butt bullet (great phrase btw)…who knows, maybe mine would too, though who knows if it’s an option…believe it or not, I think we’re very close to perfecting the pill swallowing, with only a few setbacks here and there…I hope I didn’t just jinx us by saying that!


~she~ April 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm

I stumbled upon this post while Googling how my son can’t swallow his Bactrim. The kicker- he has to take 2 pills, twice a day! Yep, it took over a half hour and I was ready to shoot him. He said he’d rather have a shot. We tried practice M&Ms (epic fail), bananas, applesauce, and chugging water. One-half of day one is over, even though the result was chopping, gagging, and a threat that any vomit coming up must be swallowed. I dread tomorrow morning before school!!!
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ohboymom April 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

I can certainly relate, but hang in there. With practice, it does eventually get easier for them. Good luck!!


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