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Acceptability of different oral formulations in infants and preschool children
  1. Diana A van Riet-Nales1,2,
  2. Barbara J de Neef3,
  3. Alfred F A M Schobben2,
  4. José A Ferreira4,
  5. Toine C G Egberts2,5,
  6. Catharine M A Rademaker5
  1. 1Medicines Evaluation Board in the Netherlands, Department of Chemical Pharmaceutical Assessment, Utrecht, The Netherlands (until 2011 this department belonged to the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment)
  2. 2Utrecht University, Faculty of Science, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Stichting Thuiszorg en Maatschappelijk Werk Rivierenland, Sector Child care, Tiel, The Netherlands
  4. 4National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Department of Statistics, Modelling and Data Management, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  5. 5University Medical Centre Utrecht, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Diana A van Riet-Nales, Medicines Evaluation Board, Department of Chemical Pharmaceutical Assessment (CFB), Graadt van Roggenweg 500, P.O. Box 8275, Utrecht 3503 RG, The Netherlands; da.v.riet{at}


Objective Liquid medicines are easy to swallow. However, they may have disadvantages, such as a bad taste or refrigerated storage conditions. These disadvantages may be avoided by the use of oral solid medicines, such as powders or tablets. The aim of this study was to investigate the acceptability of and preference among four oral formulations in domiciliary infants and preschool children in The Netherlands.

Methods Parents administered four oral placebo dosage forms that were aimed at a neutral taste, at home, to their child (1–4 years of age) twice on one day following a randomised cross-over design: small (4 mm) tablet, powder, suspension and syrup. They were asked to report the child's acceptability by a score on a 10 cm visual analogue scale (VAS score) and by the result of the intake. At the end of the study, they were asked to report the preference of the child and themselves.

Results 183 children were included and 148 children were evaluated. The data revealed a period/cross-over effect. The estimate of the mean VAS score was significantly higher for the tablet than for the suspension (tablet 9.39/9.01; powder 8.84/8.20, suspension 8.26/7.90, syrup 8.35/8.19; data day 1/all days). The estimate of the mean number of intakes fully swallowed was significantly higher for the tablet than for the other formulations (all p values <0.05). Children and parents preferred the tablet and syrup over the suspension and the suspension over the powder (all p values <0.05).

Conclusions All formulations were well accepted. The tablets were the best accepted formulation; the tablets and syrup the most preferred.

Trial Registration number ISRCTN63138435.

  • Child
  • Parent
  • Patient Acceptance
  • Medicine
  • Dosage Form

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