Methods of administering oral formulations and child acceptability

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IntroductionChildren may be unable or unwilling to swallow medicines. In order to avoid or accommodate any such problems, parents may decide to administer medicines other than intended. The aim of this study was to investigate how parents administered four oral placebo formulations to infants and preschool children and how the applied methods correlated with child acceptability.MethodsParents were asked to administer a 4 mm mini-tablet, powder, suspension and syrup to their child twice on one day and to report the child characteristics and administration details in a participant diary.ResultsA 151 children were included. The tablet, syrup and suspension were mostly given on their own, whereas the powder was commonly given with food or drink. Generally, the higher the child acceptability (VAS-score) of the first administration of a specific formulation, the less frequently its method of administration was changed. A change in the method of administration of the same formulation involving (a larger quantity of) food or drink generally resulted in a higher VAS-score.ConclusionsThe joint administration of medicines with food or drink is an effective strategy to ensure swallowing. This study supports earlier findings that 4 mm mini-tablets are a suitable dosage form from infant age.

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