Flavored Sprays Can Make Tough Pills Easier to Swallow for Kids

The results of a recent study have suggested that parents use flavored sprays when their children have difficulty swallowing pills.

Mary Poppins famously recommended that kids take a spoonful of sugar to help their medicine go down, but the results of a recent study have provided a more scientifically-based suggestion that parents use flavored sprays when their children have difficulty swallowing pills.

The study, published in Pediatrics, evaluated the effectiveness of FLAVORx’s Pill Glide, a sugar-, dye-, and drug-free spray, in 10 children aged 6 to 16 years. All of the participants were on long-term drug therapies, with an average burden of 3.5 pills a day, and were either transitioning from liquid treatments to tablets and capsules, or known to experience swallowing difficulties.

After asking the patients to take their medication without the flavored spray for 2 weeks and then using this intervention for 1 week, the research team found that the use of Pill Glide led to a 0.93-point reduction in swallowing difficulty on a 6-point scale. There were insufficient data to determine whether or not flavored sprays could ease the administration of liquid medications as well.

“Our study is unique in that it is the first controlled prospective clinical studies with young children, with adequate yet minimal sample size, that proved Pill Glide to be a safe, easy and effective device that really helped children 6 years and above to take their tablets or capsules,” said study author Catherine Tuleu, PhD, in a press release.

Although strawberry proved to be the most popular flavor among the participants, the researchers noted that a variety of flavors can help avoid monotony with or aversion to one type of spray. Additionally, the study authors recommended that flavored sprays such as Pill Glide may become more widely available, as their use can potentially reduce costs and improve adherence.

“Our mission is, and always will be, to improve people’s lives by making medicine-time easier and less stressful on the patient and caregiver,” stated FLAVORx president and CEO Stuart R. Amos. “This study proves we’re on the right track with Pill Glide. It’s tremendously rewarding to see the real-world impact of patients, particularly children, having a better experience taking their medicine and getting well.”