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Using a digital scale to measure doses

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BfromNJ
On ‎4‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 9:58 AM, Frogie said:

Hi:

 

What I did when I 1st started out with my Lexapro taper (before I got the liquid), was I put 10 tablets on the scale. Then weighed 10 pills. These numbers are not correct but will give you an idea.

 

10 pills weighed 1.501 grams so I divided that by 10 to get the average of each pill, which would be .150 grams.

 

Then I took the pills and crushed them with the back of a spoon on a plate.

 

I then took the .150 grams and multiplied it by .90 because I wanted to taper 10% which equaled .135 grams. I would take a small piece of paper or sticky note (without the sticky part) and pour the powder onto the scale until I got to .135 grams. You have to be careful not to bump the table or breath on the scale. You might have to use the tweezers that came with the scale to take powder away or put some in until you get the correct amount. And let the scale settle for a few seconds because it will move around on the numbers.

 

Once I got the correct amount, .135 grams, I poured the powder into a small piece of paper that had a crease in it and poured it into the capsule over a clean plate so if I spilled any I could pour it into the paper and back into the capsule. I got “0” vegetable capsules from Amazon.com. I think I paid around $15.00 for 1,000. They are pretty cheap.

 

 I would do a months worth at a time so I was only doing this work once a month. Then take the extra powder and put it in an empty brown or dark green medicine bottle. I marked mined “extra Lexapro powder”. Keep it in a cool dark place.

 

You will be surprised how the extra powder adds up.

 

Then the next month I did the same thing except I took the .135 grams and muliplied it by .9 which equals .121 grams because once again I was tapering 10%, and start the process over. I would start with the extra powder from the previous month and then crush more pills to make a months worth.

 

You will need to weigh your pills to get an average. I was just using an example.

 

 I’m sure the mods can explain it better or have an easier way to do it. I just wanted you to know how I did it.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Take care,

Frogie xx

 

im just realizing now, as I came back to check on something, that my capsules I have been using are "00".  You used "0".  Does that really make a difference when I ingest them how they breakdown?  I would think not right?  

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Frogie
2 hours ago, BfromNJ said:

im just realizing now, as I came back to check on something, that my capsules I have been using are "00".  You used "0".  Does that really make a difference when I ingest them how they breakdown?  I would think not right?  

I wouldn’t think so. It’s just the size so you can fill it. But I would ask Brassmonkey, he would know.

@brassmonkey is this correct?

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brassmonkey

Yea, that's right. "00" and "0" are just size designations.  The "0" would be a bit easier to swallow and the "00" would be a bit easier to fill, but other than that there is no difference.

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BfromNJ
On 3/29/2019 at 1:41 AM, brassmonkey said:

The way the tablets are manufactured the ai is very evenly distributed in the filler. So when you crush them out is still evenly distributed in the powder. If there is a coating on the tablet it could throw the mix off by a miniscule amount. 

 

Working with the powder will be the easiest most accurate method. But remember that 0.0001g is an extremely small amount to work with. 

 

I jumped off at 0.08mgai. I could only accurately weigh to 1mgai so I did visual divisions from there. 

 

I have made several posts about these subjects that go into more detail but you'll have to search them out because I'm still lost in the out back of New Zealand and won't have a real computer for some time. 

I have a question on this brassmonkey.  When I measured out my pills I didnt take "active ingredient" into account.  I just weighed a bunch, got my average per pill and then figured out the percentage of this average to get my taper amount.  .125 on scale per pill, less 25% was .0945.  This is what I took.  I didnt think how much of my pill was active ingredient.  I did okay right?  The whole active ingredient thing really confused me.  I just looked at it simply as I needed to take 25% less of my pill.  

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brassmonkey

Yes, you did the calculation correctly.

 

The reason we want to know the amount of the AI (active ingredient) is because all the different pills come in a lot of different sizes from different manufacturers. So 125mgpw, which is the weight you would measure on the scale, of one type of pill might have a different amount of active ingredient in it than the same pill from a different manufacturer.  When it comes down to it the amount of AI or the strength of the dose is the important factor.  If you're using the same pills all the time then the easiest way to calculate the reduction is just the way you did.  Reduce the dose weight and the active ingredient weight would follow.  So, yes, to get a lower dose take less pill.

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Crt1

Hi to all
I supplied an accuracy scale of 0.001g.
The 10mg pill weighs 0.182gr. This means that 1mg = 0.0182g of pill, so for a substance dose of 9mg the pill should have a weight of 0.164gr.
I removed as much material from the edge of the pill as you can see in the photo and reduced the weight to weigh 0.164 gr.

 

With this practice, am I sure that it is 9mg substance of the pill?
The substance is equilibrated in the pill?
Would it be better to turn the pill into powder, stir and then measure weight?

5655.jpg

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brassmonkey

Hi Crt-- Yes that is correct.

 

We have to assume that the Active Ingredient is evenly distributed throughout the tablet.  Because of manufacturing techniques and quality control for the name brand tablets this is pretty well assured.  It is beginning to come to light that some generic tablets are not of as high a quality.

 

It will be easiest to crush the tablet into powder and measure out what you need.  Then you can keep the extra powder and after a while you will get a "free dose" from the left overs.

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brassmonkey

How to Write Weights and Measures

 

There are a number of conventions throughout the scientific community in regards to weights and measures.  We have adopted several of them here at SA and have added several of our own that are specific to the calculations that we do on a daily basis.  We need all of our members to adhere to these conventions so we can have clear communication as to what doses and what reductions members are working with.  This makes it easier for the moderators to understand each individual situation and greatly reduces the time we have to spend searching for information, deciphering what is being talked about, asking for clarifications and reduces the chance of our making a miscalculation. When members write about doses and weights it is very easy to get the decimal points and mg designations intermixed, however that can lead to doses being badly miscalculated.

 

The scales we use are actually programmed to give a readout in grams.  So a reading with nothing on the scale would be 00.000 grams. We can make measurements in milligrams by reading the three places to the right of the decimal point.  00.000.  The places on the readout are designated as:

 

10 grams:     10.000  Which is written as 10g

1 gram           01.000  Which is written as 1g

1 decigram   00.100  Which is written as 100mg

1 centigram  00.010  Which is written as 10mg

1 milligram   00.001  Which is written as 1mg

 

If your readout shows a weight of 00.625 it is written as either as .625 g or the preferred way as 625mg  If you try to combine the two and write it as .625mg you would be referring to a weight 1/1000th the size that you actually measured and cause a lot of confusion. To keep everyone on the same page and make communications easier we prefer that the designation xxxmg be used when talking about any weight.

 

There are two components to measure when weighting out a dose.  Those are 1; the actual weight of the dose as measured on the scales and 2; the strength of the dose.  Both of which are measured in milligrams.  To keep them separate, so we know which one is being talked about, we mark each weight as to what it is.  That is done as follows:

 

mgpw: milligrams pill weight, this is the actual weight that is measured on the scale.  For example the Paxil tablets I used weighed 500mg each so I would write it as 500mgpw.

 

mgai: milligrams active ingredient, this is the strength of the dose. For a full tablet it is stated on the bottle.  My Paxil tablets were 40mg in strength, so I would write it as       40mgai.

 

I know that adhering to conventions is a real bother, but in our case it's very important.  Not doing so can lead to a lot of confusion and possible wrong doses which could cause people a lot on undue pain.  It also makes it easier for the moderators to double check each others work with out having to spent a lot of extra time sorting through and trying to understand what is being calculated.

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BfromNJ
On 6/5/2019 at 10:34 PM, brassmonkey said:

Yes, you did the calculation correctly.

 

The reason we want to know the amount of the AI (active ingredient) is because all the different pills come in a lot of different sizes from different manufacturers. So 125mgpw, which is the weight you would measure on the scale, of one type of pill might have a different amount of active ingredient in it than the same pill from a different manufacturer.  When it comes down to it the amount of AI or the strength of the dose is the important factor.  If you're using the same pills all the time then the easiest way to calculate the reduction is just the way you did.  Reduce the dose weight and the active ingredient weight would follow.  So, yes, to get a lower dose take less pill.

i suppose this is why is very important to make sure you try and get them from the same manufacturer whenever possible?  i try and be cognizant of this, but its not always easy.   So if i just reduced my drug by 5% by taking 5% off of the pill weight, i am still reducing my active ingredient amount by 5% as well right? I just want to make sure im understanding that. 

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brassmonkey

"So if i just reduced my drug by 5% by taking 5% off of the pill weight, i am still reducing my active ingredient amount by 5% as well right?"

 

Yes that is correct BfromNJ. Because the tablet has a specific weight and the Active Ingredient has a specific weight and they are evenly mixed together they will reduce at the same percentage.

 

There are several reasons to stick with the same manufacturer if at all possible.  It is always best to use the brand name if you can get it and your insurance allows it. Generic pills can vary widely in their quality and the ingredients that they use for fillers.  It is pretty common for a person to be able to use one brand of generic and have trouble with another. The medical profession thinks that they are interchangeable, but we have found that that is not the case.  The AIC (Active Ingredient Concentration) can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.  So if you do your calculations on the tablets from company A and try to use them of tablets from company B you might be getting a different dose than you had planed. There are ways to work around it if you get stuck with different brands, but its is best to stay with one brand if at all possible.

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BfromNJ
15 minutes ago, brassmonkey said:

"So if i just reduced my drug by 5% by taking 5% off of the pill weight, i am still reducing my active ingredient amount by 5% as well right?"

 

Yes that is correct BfromNJ. Because the tablet has a specific weight and the Active Ingredient has a specific weight and they are evenly mixed together they will reduce at the same percentage.

 

There are several reasons to stick with the same manufacturer if at all possible.  It is always best to use the brand name if you can get it and your insurance allows it. Generic pills can vary widely in their quality and the ingredients that they use for fillers.  It is pretty common for a person to be able to use one brand of generic and have trouble with another. The medical profession thinks that they are interchangeable, but we have found that that is not the case.  The AIC (Active Ingredient Concentration) can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.  So if you do your calculations on the tablets from company A and try to use them of tablets from company B you might be getting a different dose than you had planed. There are ways to work around it if you get stuck with different brands, but its is best to stay with one brand if at all possible.

Although if one company just stops manufacturing it you are kind of stuck.  Would this be when asking for brand name would be beneficial? But even then if you have already used generic it will vary if you switch to brand name.  

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brassmonkey

That's a big problem with generics, they come and go all the time, and pharmacies switch between them at will.  If you can afford the name brand it's the best way to go. There can sometimes be bad reactions to the new brand so to switch between any brands we recommend a "cross taper" that takes several weeks.  This usually makes the change over a lot easier. It is possible that the AIC will be different between the generic and the name brand and that will have to be taken into account if the switch is made.

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Crt1

Hello again
Starting to reduce the dose and weighing the escitaloprams 10mg pills of the brand that they give me, I found them to have a different weight, from 182mgpw to 187mgpw.


I multiply this weight * 0.9 to have a dose reduction of 10%.
The results range from 164mgpw to 168mgpw.

 

But I thought that if the active ingredient is homogeneous in the pill, each pill has a different amount of active ingredient, right?

 

If this is the case then I thing it is better not to take the original weight into account and say that  9mgai = 165mgpw and keep it the same for each pill in the future.
What do you think?

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brassmonkey

There is always going to be a very small variation in the weight of the tablets.  This is why we want to start out using the average weight of the tablet for our calculations.  I would guess that your average weight will be 185mgpw. After the initial reduction you will be weighting out a specific amount of powder from a "supply pile" so the beginning average weight will no longer come into play.  From then on you would be taking a dose that should not vary.  Consistency is the key once things get going.

 

Using 185mgpw as the average a 10% reduction would weigh 167mgpw to contain 9mgai.  If you're going to be doing a 10% reduction I would suggest that you start out with a Brassmonkey Sllide.  This would be 2.5% a week for four weeks with an additional 2 week hold.  You still get a 10% reduction every 6 weeks but the symptom load is usually greatly reduced.  Many of our members are having great success using it.

 

Because of manufacturing tolerances, the little bit that they are allowed to be off but still be considered correct, each of the pills will be just a little bit different.  When you calculate it through though that difference is so small that it doesn't affect most people.  Some extremely sensitive people going through WD can tell the difference, but in all these years I've only run into two or three.

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BfromNJ

@brassmonkey.  Quick question. saw in another thread where you recommended using a piece of paper on the dish on the scale to measure powder when weighing on the scale.  then pouring into the capsule.  I didn't think of this way.  I use small funnels that I got from amazon and pour it into the capsule that way.   This is still good right?  I know some of the powder will get stuck on the sides, but I figure by now it works out since its always the same.  this is good right?  I don't think my hands would be stead enough to pour into the capsule from the paper.  

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brassmonkey

Yes the small funnels would be fine. As for the sticking, just don't clean them.  This will leave a bit of powder on the funnel so the next time things won't stick. Also don't clean the little dish for the same reason.  In truth the amount that sticks isn't big enough to really cause any problems, unless the person is super sensitive or you're working with working with the tiny doses at the end of a taper.

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BfromNJ
13 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

Yes the small funnels would be fine. As for the sticking, just don't clean them.  This will leave a bit of powder on the funnel so the next time things won't stick. Also don't clean the little dish for the same reason.  In truth the amount that sticks isn't big enough to really cause any problems, unless the person is super sensitive or you're working with working with the tiny doses at the end of a taper.

I do not clean the funnels.  more out of laziness, lol.    but I didn't think about the dish.  I wipe that down because I currently am having to measure two meds, since I stopped one taper and started on another med.  

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brassmonkey

It shouldn't be a problem to continue to wipe down the pan, not getting the two mixed is a good idea.

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anytriptaline

I bought the gemini 20.

 

Today I did three sets of weightings under some different conditions

 

Pan over a 10gram weight: 211, 214, 214, 214, 215 mg. Average 213.mg

 

I noticed that sometimes the weight didn't reset to zero, so I made sure in this set to set it to zero after weighting each pill

210, 209, 207, 208, 209mg, average 208.6mg

 

I only used the pan for this one: 211, 211, 211, 209, 209, average 210mg.

 

So the best repeatability I got it by only using the pan

 

Should I be concerned about it or the small differences don't matter in the long run?

 

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brassmonkey

There is always going to be some minor fluctuations in the weights that is why we recommend starting from an average weigh and not the weight of an individual pill.  When you do the calculations the difference in dose weight between a pill that weighs 210 and one that weighs 211 is insignificant.  After the first reduction the differences don't matter because you will be weighing to a target weight from a supply pile of powder.  So the differences in the pill weight vanish. 

 

It doesn't matter now, but when you get to the end of your taper the scales have trouble with the very small weights.  To get around this place the metal weight into the pan and press the TARE button.  This puts the scale sensor into the middle of its range where it is most accurate and zeros the readout so you don't have to compensate for the weight.

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BfromNJ

@brassmonkey

 

Just wanted to run a quick question by you.  Someone on a facebook page for Gabapentin mentioned to me that by using water titration you dont run the risk of  "the filler setting a dose a bit too high or low".   So by using the digital scale technique i am using, does this risk my doses being off?  couldnt they really be off either way?    

 

 

 

 

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BfromNJ

@brassmonkey.  You used the digital scale through out your whole taper correct?  No water titration?

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ChessieCat

Yes BrassMonkey did use a scale for his whole taper.  At the very low doses he weighed a dose and then manually divided the powder.

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brassmonkey

The fillers used with Gabapentin have no affect of how it dissolves in water. It is described as "freely soluble in water" which means all the active ingredient in the tablet will dissolve into the water and the filler will settle to the bottom.  The only variations in dose would come from not measuring the dose correctly or from the tolerance applied to the Active Ingredient Concentration at the time of manufacture.  That can vary widely between name brand and generic and manufacturer to manufacturer.  That variation is taken into account after the initial calculations for weighing a dose on the scales making it so that the tolerance in the weighing of the scale and the operators accuracy are the only variables that apply. I have found the scales to be fairly reliable on their repeatability, only varying by one or two milligrams pill weight.  Which is insignificant when applied to the mgai.  When it comes down to it both methods can be quite accurate.

 

As CC pointed out I used my scales for my entire taper.  I reached their limit when I got to 4mgpw and had to resort to visual dividing the dose to get it small enough.  If everything is going smoothly with the taper by that time it should not cause a problem.

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Shashal

I used it for my Valium tapering, now it’s time for Zoloft 😁

1177787C-B5BB-41DC-8EC8-52FFE9238C0C.jpeg

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BfromNJ

Good luck!  I have been doing the scale method also .  I find it quite easy.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

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Stormstrong

Please help. Using an AWS Gemini-20 jewelry scale. I've calibrated it correctly. Using a 100mg pill of Sertraline (Zoloft), shaved off to a point (maybe 85mg?). I put the shaved pill on the scale, and it reads 0.275g. How many milligrams am I currently taking??!

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brassmonkey

If the amount you shaved off is actually 85mgpw then that would give you a weight of 360mgpw for a whole tablet. If that is correct then you reduced the weight of the tablet by 24%.  This directly corresponds to the strength of the dose so you have reduced the strength by 24%.  If the original strength was 100mgai then the calculation would be 100 x .76 = 76.  So your new dose strength would be 76mgai.

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spongebob123

I'm having a problem because my pharmacy gave me a totally different manufacturer who has different size beads that is throwing off my method. I bought a scale but I can't figure it out. 

 

I counted 108/9 beads in each of my 37.5mg capsules. So I was going down 10 beads every week. I did cross multiplication to figure out that 50 beads out of the 108 equals about 17.5mg. I didn't major in math so I have no idea what I'm doing! Anyway that method was working and the exact milligrams didn't matter until they switched the manufacturer on me. Now there's 60something beads in each capsule. I mean I can call the pharmacy and see if they can go back to the other one but I thought the scale would be easier. Now when I measure 50 of my beads from the last bottle that I had left over, the scale says 53mg, which can't be right because the whole capsule is 37.5mg. I guess I'll just call my pharmacy 😩

 

So, I think I'm taking 46% of the 37.5mg capsule, which I wanted to stay at for a while. Can I just measure 46% of these new capsules?

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brassmonkey

It's a good idea to round your calculations the other direction which would make it 47%.  Otherwise you are correct.

 

Unless you buy the pure form of the medication, which you can't, it will have fillers added to it.  That is why a 37.5mg capsule weighs much more.  We refer to the strength of the medication as listed on the bottle as mgai (Milligrams Active Ingredient) in this case 37.5mgai.  While we refer to the total weight of the beads as mgpw (Milligrams Pill Weight)  That way it is easier to tell them apart.

 

It would be a good idea to read through this thread: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/19219-change-in-drug-manufacturer-or-generic-substituted-for-brand-name-drug/

 

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spongebob123

Ohh, so there is actually 37.5mg of the drug in the capsule and the rest of the weight is fillers? 

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spongebob123

So, what should be my next steps? Should I take 47% of the new pills? Or should I weigh 50 of the old beads and get that weight in the new beads, or will that not be the same amount of drug?

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brassmonkey

You would take 47% of the new pills weight.  Doing it the other way by matching the weight of the old dose will give you a different amount of the drug.

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spongebob123

Thank you so much! You have no idea how much I appreciate it!

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Frogie

I don’t know if this is where I should post this or not. If not, could a moderator please move it.

 

 I have been crushing my Xanax with the back of a spoon on a plate. It took forever to get them into a fine powder. That was the worst part about having to weigh them out and putting the powder in capsules.

 

 I found, on Amazon.com a pill grinder. It’s made by B&C Home Goods and called Premium Pill Grinder. It was $15.99 and worth every penny. You pour the pills in, put the handle on and turn it. It grinds the pills into a fine powder and has a storage container on the bottom.

 

Just wanted to share in case anyone was interested in saving time and a mess crushing your pills by hand.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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ChessieCat

I've added a link to the Pill Crusher.  That's a really great idea.  I had no idea that they existed.  I'll add the information to Post #1 as well.

 

Thanks Frogie.

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