Aims Duration, schedule, formulation, palatability, cost, and adverse effects of medication are all factors contributing to poor compliance. Taste and palatability are significant barriers in non-compliance with paediatric medicines. We felt these concerns were not routinely explored whilst prescribing medications for children.
Methods We surveyed foundation, general practice, paediatric trainees, general practitioners and paediatric pharmacists in Wales. Our questionnaire addressed various issues concerning palatability, commonly associated antibiotics and possible reasons for non-compliance. Measures to improve compliance and awareness were also surveyed.
Results A total of 189 responses were received. 80% of prescribers encountered issues with palatability. 78% recognise that it is an important aspect of compliance. The age-group most commonly affected by palatability was 2 – 4 years [75%]. Penicillin V and flucloxacillin were the most common antibiotics to have a perceived palatability issue. Parental anxiety [47%] and incomplete course [40%] were significant concerns amongst non-compliant children. 71% of prescribers felt diagnosis was the key determining factor for antibiotic choice irrespective of palatability
Conclusions This is a unique survey involving prescription experiences of first line doctors. There is a discrepancy in awareness of palatability and its importance in prescription choices. Taste-masking and flavouring enhance paediatric medication compliance, thereby contributing to improved clinical outcomes. We strongly advocate all doctors to consider these important aspects in conjunction with appropriate microbial cover. Newer excipients and research are called for.
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