A new product his making treatment an easy pill to swallow for patients who have trouble swallowing.
Two North East companies have joined forces to help people who have difficulty taking tablets due to a condition.
Dysphagia can occur after a stroke or affect people with cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Some medications also cause a dry mouth, which then makes it difficult for patients to swallow them.
People also have problems taking large tablets, children might struggle making the transition from liquid medicine to tablets and capsules, and people young and old suffer from pill anxiety.
Fagron, which has an office in the North East and supplies pharmaceutical products, has teamed up with Knights Pharmacies to make the product available in a series of North East shops.
Among those to be helped is nine-year-old Darcie Defty, from South Shields.
She suffers from chronic car sickness but found it very difficult to swallow tablets to prevent it.
“We used to hide a tablet in a soft sweet and squash it to try to trick her into taking it,” said her mum Hayley.
“I think it was the idea of swallowing something - a foreign body going down her throat.
"She wouldn’t swallow it or she’d keep it in her mouth, then she wouldn’t like the taste and spit it out - so it was defeating the point.”
But Med-Easy has solved the problem.
“It was so easy. I can see how it can work for people of any age,” said Hayley.
The aid has been developed by Newcastle-Fagron UK to help all of these people.
It has been launched in 22 Knights Pharmacies across the North East, including seven in Wearside and East Durham.
“We believe Med-Easy provides a breakthrough for all those people who up to now have had to suffer in silence,” said Dan Barton, the marketing communication manager of Fagron UK.
“They or their carers have had to resort to crushing tablets or disguising them in food.
"Both practices are ill-advised and if medication is not taken properly the condition for which it was prescribed is unlikely to improve.”
The team say Med-Easy is very simple to use.
The tablet is placed on a spoon and covered in 10ml of the swallowing aid, which wraps around the tablet and suspends it in liquid, helping it flow freely down the oesophagus.
The fluid has a slight cherry taste, is sugar and gluten-free and can be used with any tablet or capsule which is normally taken with water.
Peter Horrocks, superintendent pharmacist at Knights Pharmacy Group, said: “We are delighted that our pharmacies are the first to offer customers this much-needed product.
"Like some of the best ideas it seems so simple, but it works and has the potential to help a very large number of people.
“A cure is not always possible, meaning the condition needs to be carefully managed.
"In a care home there might be many residents affected by dysphagia.
"So having an easy-to-use solution on hand is incredibly important."
The team say there are no confirmed figures, but it is thought that dyspahgia and pill anxiety affects millions of people in the UK.
The pharmacies stocking the product are Davy's Pharmacy, Castletown; McCarthy's Pharmacy, Hendon; Snowdon's Pharmacy, Springwell, Sunderland; Tullochs Pharmacy, Pennywell Shopping Centre: Eilbeck in The Avenue, Deneside, Seaham; Seaham Primary Care Centre, St John's Square, Seaham and Cleadon Park Pharmacy, Prince Edward Road, South Shields.