Why medecine for children has to taste good
It comes as little surprise, but now it's scientifically confirmed: children do not like to take medicine that doesn't taste good. The University College Cork in Ireland has recently conducted a study that reinforces the fact that children are reluctant to swallow bitter pills or unpleasant-tasting medicine.
The study was based on a survey conducted among experts by researchers at the college. The idea for the study originated in the pharmacy, where staff members were often asked whether liquid antibiotics for children are tasty. These medications are often spat out or rejected by children if they have an unpleasant taste. An article article on this research was recently published in "Physicians Weekly."
The leader of the study, Ayat Elgammal, and his team wanted to understand how important the taste of medicines is for children. Therefore, they distributed questionnaires via email to 59 general practitioners and 185 pharmacists. The questionnaires were also shared on social media. The results showed that for general practitioners (79 percent) and pharmacists (66.5 percent), clinical guidelines and the availability of medicines are the most important factors when selecting liquid antibiotics for children.
Medication Adherence Is Important for Health Success
When choosing a more palatable formulation, 40 of the surveyed general practitioners (76.9 percent) indicated that ensuring medication adherence was the most common reason for deviating from the guidelines. Medication adherence in medicine refers, among other things, to the regularity of medication intake. Fifty-two percent of pharmacists recommended that parents or caregivers of children disguise preparations with sugar or palatable juice to increase acceptance of intake. Milk and dairy products, on the other hand, were deemed unsuitable as they can weaken the therapeutic effect of antibiotics.
The study found that the antibiotics Clarithromycin and Flucloxacillin were considered the least palatable medications. The authors of the study urge the pharmaceutical industry to explore ways to adapt the formulations of oral liquid antibiotics to improve taste and, consequently, acceptance among children.