Using a Digital Scale

pouring beads onto a digital scale

A digital scale—sometimes called a gram or jeweler’s scale— is an electronic device for measuring the weight of an object or substance. In this method, a digital scale is used to weigh powder from a crushed tablet or powdered capsule, or poured-out beads from a beaded capsule, and then cuts are made accordingly. The basic gear required includes a small measuring bowl/dish, a digital scale with a measuring precision in at least milligrams (i.e. able to distinguish differences of at least 0.001 grams, or 1,000 micrograms), new, empty capsules, and a scoop, spoon or small spatula (“micro-spatula”). Sometimes, it may be helpful or even necessary to add a pharmaceutical-grade powder filler to increase bring the overall weight being measured.
 

Pros

  • Applicable to a variety of different drug forms.
  • With a sufficiently precise and reliable scale, allows for flexible, personal control in calculating dose reductions.
  • If the drug is already in a taper-friendly form, typically doesn’t require a new, changed prescription from a prescriber.
     

Cons

  • Can be pricey to get a reliable, high-quality scale (prices at the low end start at $15-20 USD, while at the high end can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
  • Generally, the smaller the weight or change in weight that is being measured, the less accurate a low-cost digital scale is likely to be. For example, the smallest measure of readability on most low-cost digital scales is 0.001g or 1mg. In practical terms, this means that such scales are not reliably precise when measuring amounts of weight or changes of weight that are less than ten times the readability, e.g. less than 0.010g or 10mg. (For more information on this, see ‘Understanding the limits of a digital scale’s accuracy’ in Step 18.)
  • Sometimes requires first diluting a drug with a pharmaceutical-grade solid filler such as lactose to achieve sufficient weight for reasonably accurate measurements of cuts.
  • Requires time, focus, fine motor control and a lot of steps in order to be implemented accurately and reliably.
     

Which taper schedule it can work with

  • Cut-and-hold
  • Provided adequate amounts of pharmaceutical-grade solid filler are used and/or a very high-quality digital scale is obtained, a Daily Microtaper is possible.
Image removed.
TWP is grateful to 'Cymbalta Hurts Worse' Facebook group/Siegenfeldt, who generously shared a photograph of the process of weighing beads on a digital scale.