Medicines need to meet the toddler taste test

Many drugs taste bitter and unfamiliar to children, making completing a course of antibiotics difficult and potentially contributing to the development of drug resistance, the UK paediatricians said.

When prescribing for children, palatability should be considered alongside factors including the type of organism causing illness, severity of infection, patient age and allergies, side effects and toxicology, they said. 

While cephalosporins are accepted well, other medicines, such as flucloxacillin suspension are so unpalatable it is recommended they be only prescribed in capsule form unless the child is observed swallowing a whole dose in a ‘taste test’.

The researchers said that, with training, children as young as six years could swallow drugs in pill form.

Parents could get children to practise swallowing tablets with water by substituting over weeks or months increasingly large lollies, such as Tic Tacs, followed by