Palatability of oral antibiotics among children in an urban primary care center

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Mar;154(3):267-70. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.154.3.267.


Objective: To evaluate the palatability of antimicrobial agents effective against beta-lactamase-producing bacteria in American children.

Design: In a taste test of 4 antimicrobial agents, azithromycin (cherry flavored), cefprozil (bubble gum flavored), cefixime (strawberry flavored), and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (banana flavored) were compared.

Setting: An urban inner-city primary care clinic.

Subjects: A volunteer sample of 30 healthy children (aged 5-8 years).

Intervention: Palatability was determined using a single-blind taste test of 4 flavored antimicrobial agents. The 4 antimicrobial agents used were azithromycin, cefprozil, cefixime, and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid.

Main outcome measures: After each antimicrobial test dose, subjects rated the taste on a 10-cm visual analog scale incorporating a facial hedonic scale. Preference assessments for the best-tasting and worst-tasting agent were also conducted.

Results: Of the 20 children who expressed a preference, significantly more children (9 [45%], P<.05) selected the cefixime preparation as the best-tasting formulation compared with the other preparations. The cefixime preparation was also significantly the least likely to be selected as the worst-tasting preparation (2 [10%], P<.05). There were no significant differences between the other 3 preparations with respect to being selected as either the best or worst tasting. The mean (+/- SD) visual analog scale score for cefixime was highest (8.53 [2.49]) compared with the scores for azithromycin (6.78 [3.45]), cefprozil (6.26 [4.04]), and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (6.24 [4.01]).

Conclusion: The cefixime preparation was most commonly rated as best tasting by children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Azithromycin / administration & dosage
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Cefixime / administration & dosage
  • Cephalosporins / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Taste*
  • Urban Population*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cephalosporins
  • Flavoring Agents
  • cefprozil
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination
  • Azithromycin
  • Cefixime