Kid-friendly chocolate formula helps the medicine go down

September 11, 2018, Science in Public
Credit: University of Western Australia

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have developed a winning medicine formula that makes bad-tasting medicine taste nice, making it easier to treat sick children.

The UWA study published by the journal Anaesthesia tested 150 children and found that the majority of children who were given the new chocolate-tasting would take it again, unlike the standard treatment, while they still experienced the same beneficial effects.

UWA Clinical Senior Lecturer Dr Sam Salman said the poor of many medicines, such as Midazolam, a sedative used prior to surgery, presented a real difficulty in effectively treating children.

"Many children struggle with taking medicine, including medicine used at the time of surgery that has an extremely bitter taste that is often hard to mask," Dr Salman said.

"This can result in distress for the sick child, their parents and the healthcare team and ultimately risks reducing the effectiveness of medicines and ongoing poor health. A medicine no matter how powerful will not be effective if a child refuses to take it."

"Unfortunately though, creating a nice tasting medicine is not as simple as melting a chocolate bar and putting it into medicine. It requires a skilfully crafted formula that can mask the taste, have a long shelf life and not reduce the effect of the medicine, amongst other things."

The UWA team, including formulation specialist Professor Lee Yong Lim and paediatric anaesthetist Professor Britta Regli-von-Ungern-Sternberg, say the successful formula could be rolled out to patients.

"The study shows the success of this new formula, with five times more children liking the taste of chocolate form, which is also supported by parents and nurses," Dr Salman said.

After the success of the initial trial, a second medicine using the new formula is showing similar positive preliminary results with ongoing trial at Perth Children's Hospital with a plan to develop other medications including antibiotics.

Other benefits of the new formula include its accuracy in dosing compared to liquid medicines, the ability for it to be chewed or melted for with swallowing difficulties and its long storage life without refrigeration.

The team is now looking for industry partners to help take the new medicine formula to the world.

"Our hope is that this formula could result in child-friendly medicine becoming universally available and remove a common struggle when it comes to treating ," Dr Salman said.

Explore further: Unique sensory responses to the pediatric HIV medication Kaletra

More information: S. Salman et al. A novel, palatable paediatric oral formulation of midazolam: pharmacokinetics, tolerability, efficacy and safety, Anaesthesia (2018). DOI: 10.1111/anae.14318

Related Stories

Unique sensory responses to the pediatric HIV medication Kaletra

December 13, 2017
Bad taste can lead to rejection of life-saving medicines by infants and young children, who require liquid formulations because they are unable to swallow pills yet lack the language to explain why something does not taste ...

Anaesthetic linked to learning problems in children

August 28, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Children who are given anaesthetic before the age of three may have an increased risk of developing learning difficulties, according to a new study involving researchers at The University of Western Australia.

Modifying baby formula doesn't prevent type 1 diabetes in children

January 2, 2018
The long-awaited results from the first large international trial to try to prevent type 1 diabetes shows that modified baby formula in which cow's milk proteins have been split does not prevent type 1 diabetes in children ...

High-protein formula increases the risk of excess body fat in children

June 28, 2018
Feeding infants with high-protein formula increases the risk of developing excess body fat by the age of 6. Moreover, in many such cases, Body Mass Index (BMI) does not reflect the true level of body fat, as LMU researchers ...

Parents struggle with choosing allergy medicine for their children

April 17, 2017
Tulips, songbirds and itchy little eyes—all are sure signs of spring.

Recommended for you

Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

September 20, 2018
Death rates from drug overdoses in the U.S. have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this ...

Anti-cancer drugs may hold key to overcoming antimalarial drug resistance

September 20, 2018
Scientists have found a way to boost the efficacy of the world's most powerful antimalarial drug with the help of chemotherapy medicines, according to new research published in the journal Nature Communications.

Fish-rich diets may boost babies' brain development

September 20, 2018
Women could enhance the development of their unborn child's eyesight and brain function by regularly eating fatty fish during pregnancy. This is the suggestion from a small-scale study led by Kirsi Laitinen of the University ...

Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors

September 20, 2018
Pediatric brain tumors are characterized by frequent complications due to intractable epilepsy compared to adult brain tumors. However, the genetic cause of refractory epilepsy in pediatric brain cancer has not been elucidated ...

Infants can use a few labeled examples to spark the acquisition of object categories

September 19, 2018
Even before infants begin to speak, hearing language promotes object categorization. Hearing the same label, "That's a dog!" applied to a diverse set of objects—a collie, a terrier, a pug—promotes infants' acquisition ...

3-D-printed tracheal splints used in groundbreaking pediatric surgery

September 19, 2018
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has performed Georgia's first-ever procedure to place 3-D-printed tracheal splints in a pediatric patient. A cross-functional team of Children's surgeons used three custom-made splints, which ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.