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Assessment of the Palatability of β-Lactamase—Resistant Antibiotics in Children

Doreen Matsui, MD, FRCPC; Rodrick Lim, MD; Tina Tschen; Michael J. Rieder, MD, PhD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(6):599-602. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170430065013.
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Objectives:  To evaluate the palatability of antibiotics effective against β-lactamase—producing bacteria in children and to compare the results obtained with those obtained in adults.

Design:  A taste test of 4 antibiotic suspensions: a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (banana), azithromycin (cherry), clarithromycin (wild fruit), and a combination of erythromycin and sulfisoxazole (strawberry-banana).

Setting:  Outpatient setting.

Subjects:  A volunteer sample of 50 healthy children (mean±SD age, 6.3±1.3 years) and 20 adults.

Main Outcome Measures:  After each antibiotic test dose, subjects rated its taste on a 10-cm visual analog scale incorporating a facial hedonic scale.

Results:  The mean±SD taste scores of the antibiotics as rated by the children were as follows: amoxicillin—clavulanic acid, 5.7±3.6 cm; azithromycin, 6.8±3.2 cm; clarithromycin, 3.7±3.6 cm; and erythromycin-sulfisoxazole, 4.9±3.5 cm. The mean±SD taste score for erythromycin-sulfisoxazole (ie, 2.7±2.3) assigned by the adults was significantly different than that given by the children (P=.01) with no difference noted for the other 3 drugs. Children and adults both selected azithromycin most often as best tasting. There was a significant difference in the proportions selecting each antibiotic as worst tasting, with the children tending to dislike clarithromycin and the adults tending to dislike erythromycin-sulfisoxazole (P=.03).

Conclusions:  The taste of azithromycin was rated most highly by both children and adults, who also selected this antibiotic most often as best tasting. Differences in taste-testing results between children and adults suggest that evaluation of the palatability of medications intended for use in pediatrics should be conducted in children.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:599-602


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