Oral dosage form administration practice in children under 6 years of age: A survey study of paediatric nurses

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The purpose of this study was to interview paediatric nurses on administration issues using extemporaneous capsules and marketed capsules and tablets in children younger than 6 years old, based on most frequently administered drugs in six participating wards. The 59 responding nurses estimated respectively at 7.7 ± 1.7 and 7.3 ± 1.8 years the age from which children would properly swallow extemporaneous capsules and marketed solids, with 33% and 37% of nurses considering that children under 6 would not get their prescribed treatment using these dosage forms. Refusal of the child to take the solid was the first reason to explain administration failure (85% of nurses for extemporaneous capsules, 89% for marketed solids). Although type of formulation and requirement of chewing were factors influencing the age at which children would take solid from nurses' experience, size of conventional tablets was not among these factors. All respondents use to crush tablets in children unable to swallow whole solids; 37% of nurses systematically split the tablets to ease the swallowing in children able to swallow. Only 11 nurses had an information tool at their disposal to guide manipulation of solids, with 7 of them using it in their daily practice. Providing specific-ward questionnaires, this study gives factual information on administration practices, perceptions and issues faced by paediatric nurses.

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