A stapler-shaped tablet-splitting device is typically used to split tablets to reduce the total dose, and the precision of the division depends on the device and class of the drug. In this study, the precision and dispensing time of several splitting devices were compared. Five tablet-splitting devices were compared with tablet-cutting scissors using the following parameters: 1) weight error relative to the theoretical weight, coefficient of variation, and acceptance value based on the content uniformity test; 2) decrease in total weight; 3) frequency of unequal splitting with a weight error of more than 25％; and 4) splitting time. Five tablets with different properties were used in this study. Five pharmacists used each device to divide 10 tablets per drug and measured the weight before and after dividing the drug and the dispensing time. The weight error associated with tablet-cutting scissors (control device), was 12.0％ (median). In contrast, the weight error ranged from 6.5％ to 17.5％ for all other tablet-splitting devices. The decrease in total weight when tablet-cutting scissors were used was 0.3％, compared to a decrease of 0.4-11.8％ with the other splitting devices. The coefficients of variation and acceptance values obtained from the post-division weight were greater for all devices (13.1-24.7％ and 25-43). Except for one device, there was no difference in splitting time.
Tablet division can compromise uniformity even when a tablet-splitting device is used. Therefore, for drugs that are typically imprecisely split, the choice of splitting device at the time of tablet dispensing is important.