Objective To explore the acceptance of uncoated drug-free mini-tablets 2 mm in diameter in children aged 0.5–6 years and their ability to swallow the mini-tablets.
Methods 60 children aged 0.5–6 years (10 subjects per year of life) were enrolled in our prospective, open random, two-way cross-over exploratory pilot study. The children were administered either an uncoated drug-free mini-tablet 2 mm in diameter with a beverage of their choice or 3 ml of glucose syrup 15% followed by the other formulation. Deglutition was visually assessed for the two different dosage forms using a predefined criteria list.
Results The study hypothesis was that children would accept the liquid formulation better than the solid mini-tablets. Surprisingly, the authors found that the acceptance of the mini-tablets, defined as immediate swallowing or chewing first with subsequent swallowing, was higher or at least equal to that of the syrup. Very young children (6–12 months) were fully capable of swallowing the mini-tablets and may even accept them better than the sweet liquid formulation. Some children aged between 2 and 4 years chewed the tablets before swallowing, but still accepted them quite well. The acceptance rate of the mini-tablets in the different age groups was much higher than expected.
Conclusions Uncoated mini-tablets seem to be a very promising alternative to liquid formulations and could be used at an earlier age in paediatric drug therapy than previously anticipated.
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval The Ethics Committee of Düsseldorf University approved this study (No. 3334).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.