When making formulations for children, it is also important to consider that some inactive substances (‘excipients’) that are added to produce tablets or medicinal liquids may not be suitable for children.
An additional challenge that specifically relates to the development of children’s medicines is the need for accurate dose administration for varying ages and weights, for example, when very small doses are needed for babies and infants.
Age-appropriate formulations overcome these problems by offering easy-to-administer palatable medicines where the dose can be accurately adjusted. Child-friendly medicines are often in the form of liquids and suspensions, but issues with excipients, palatability and a short shelf-life make appropriate liquid formulations difficult to produce. Child-appropriate solid dosage forms, such as orodispersible minitablets (ODMTs), are being increasingly studied. These tiny uncoated tablets disintegrate rapidly in the mouth and offer accurate dosing and convenience, without requiring the ability to swallow.
As every parent knows, giving medicines to children is not easy, particularly when the child is taking multiple medicines frequently. Licensed age-appropriate formulations, with proven safety and effectiveness, can improve compliance and also make life easier for children and their carers.