Pediatric Compounding: Making Medicine Better for Taste and Tummies

Pediatric Compounding: Making Medicine Better for Taste and Tummies

Let’s face it: Medicine often taste vile. It’s hard enough behaving like an adult and taking your own medicine. For children, it’s even worse: Children have greater sensitivity to bitter tastes, and many meds, such as penicillin and antihistamines, are quite bitter.

The most effective medication for your sick 5-year-old is the one he or she will take: It isn’t going to do a bit of good otherwise. It’s impossible to reason with a sick child about why he or she needs to take her medicine. Yes, you probably could force it down, threaten them with a timeout or sneak it into a treat as you would with a pet, but why do that when there’s a better way?

No, not a spoonful of sugar, but close — Mary Poppins was on to something. We’re talking about a compounding pharmacy.

A purple marshmallow

At a compounding pharmacy, the pharmacist can add flavorings that make the taste more enticing without affecting the efficacy. Depending on the specific medication, all sorts of flavors are available, including banana, bubblegum, mango, marshmallow, watermelon–even tutti frutti. Sometimes, the compounding pharmacist can even change the color. A purple marshmallow-flavored “treat” may be the ticket to a calmer bedtime.

They can change the form as well as the taste of the medication. Some can be delivered as gummies, popsicles, chewing gum, lollipops, pudding and other formulations, making it much easier on the child–and on you. And yes, they can do it for your meds, too, if you ask. That’s better than a spoonful of sugar any day! (A word of caution: Because your child will want to eat these, be sure to keep them out of reach.)

More than just taste

Compounding pharmacies do more than just make the medicine look or taste more enticing. They can formulate a compound to eliminate an allergen, making it easier on the tummy–and the rest of the system.

Many children are sensitive–even allergic–to such ingredients as eggs, lactose, wheat, soy, and sugar. These fillers–called “excipients”–are found in most medicines from a commercial pharmacy; they often make up 90 percent of an individual medication.

Commercially manufactured medications aren’t appropriate for everyone. Compounding pharmacists, working with your physician, can come up with a formulation that meets your specific needs. In this case, omit the ingredients that will upset your child’s stomach and add those that will make it more palatable.

Don’t try this at home

One last thought: We’re talking about more than merely adding flavoring to a commercially produced medicine or turning penicillin into popsicles. Not all ingredients work together. That’s why you need a professional compounding pharmacy like Atkinson’s. We can formulate the precise medication your child needs–and is willing to take. Don’t battle your sick kid: Make the better, safer–tastier– choice.