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Weird Medicines – Smells and Tastes

Yea, Crohn’s and colitis have some great medications that help us with the effects.  For some of us, we achieve remission.  Some medications come in pill form and there are other medications that we take as an infusion.  Also, there are some IBD medications that are taken via needle.  I have been on a lot of medications for IBD and I do have to say that most of the pills taste horrible.

You’re not alone

I thought it was just me, but no, I have read and spoken to many other people who have IBD and they all state the same thing.  They say that the pills that they are taking either have a terrible smell or have a horrible aftertaste… or they have both!

For one thing, the steroids (pill form) have an acidic, sour smell.  I could compare the smell to vomit.  Another pill that has a horrible aftertaste is an antibiotic that I take three times a day.  I take this to help with my chronic cuffitits.  Remember that cuffitits is inflammation of the last inch of the rectum.  I, of course, amongst everything else have it.  If I do not take this antibiotic every day, I get horrible symptoms.

Tips and tricks

When a pill smells or tastes really bad, here are a few tips that you can follow to make this unpleasant situation a quick one!

  • Don’t have anybody around you. I feel like if I have somebody watching me taking my medications, I won’t be able to get it down.  It’s too much pressure. The same thing goes for talking because you don’t want to choke.  Make sure you are in a room by yourself.
  • I always have to chase it with something. Water does not cut it because it keeps the taste in my mouth.  I usually use orange juice or a seltzer as a chaser.

The worst is when the medication goes down the wrong pipe, so to speak.  I do this a lot because I actually gag on the medication.  I end up spitting my juice out of my mouth and having a long coughing fit.  That is why I swallow my pills over the sink!

  • I found that if you numb your mouth with ice before taking the pill, it goes down much easier. Try sucking on an ice cube right before you take the pills.  You will not be able to taste it.  You might have to hold your nose though!

You would think by now that drug companies would make pills that smell and taste good.  It’s bad enough that we have to deal with side effects after taking these medications.  I am lucky that I got used to taking bad tasting/smelling medication.  My fiancé, who was recently diagnosed with a mild case of ulcerative colitis has a lot of trouble taking her medication. She actually gets nauseous from the taste of her medication.  She also gets anxious from taking it.  At one point, she stopped taking her medication for about a week.  She was that upset about the smell and taste.  I talked her into taking her medication and now she’s becoming a pro.  Rule of thumb:  All in good time!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    I also find, it is helpful to place the pill as far back on your tongue as you can, then drink your liquid to swallow. The less it comes in contact with your tongue, the less you taste it.

    Thanks for the tips!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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