Swallowing difficulties with medication intake assessed with a novel self-report questionnaire in patients with systemic sclerosis – a cross-sectional population study

  • Markus Messerli, Rebecca Aschwanden, Michael Buslau, Kurt E. Hersberger, Isabelle Arnet
  • Patient Preference and Adherence, September 2017, Dove Medical Press
  • DOI: 10.2147/ppa.s142653

Swallowing difficulties with medication intake

What is it about?

Swallowing difficulties cause problems with the intake of solid oral dosage forms. Such issues may affect the patient’s quality of life, lead to hazardous coping strategies (splitting or crushing pills), and reduce adherence to medication regimens. We developed the first patient self-report questionnaire in order to assess localization, intensity of the swalloing difficulties and coping strategies to overcome the issue and named it SWAMECO (for SWAllowing difficulties with MEdication intake and COping strategies).

Why is it important?

Although common, swallowing difficulties with medication intake often remain undiscovered to health care providers. The issue is not a topic during the routine counseling with the general practicioner or the pharmacist. We hypothezed that the “one single question fits all” approach (eg, “Do you suffer from swallowing difficulties when taking your medication?”) represents only a first step for a loose detection of individual issues with medication intake, but needs further in-depth assessment, e.g. by using the SWAMECO questionnaire.


Markus Messerli
Universitat Basel

Our novel self-report questionnaire is able to assess the pattern of complaints linked to medication intake. It may serve as a guide for health care professionals in selecting the most suitable therapy option, enabling tailored counseling to reduce inappropriate medication modifications.

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The following have contributed to this page: Markus Messerli and Isabelle Arnet