Safety of chewable tablets for children

J Asthma. 2002 Aug;39(5):391-403. doi: 10.1081/jas-120004032.


New emphasis on pediatric drug development makes the availability of safe, easy-to-use dosage formulations imperative for clinical practice. Chewable tablets are a widely used pediatric dosage form; however, a literature review on the safety of this formulation has not been published. We have, therefore, determined the safety of chewable tablets in the pediatric age group based on the published literature. A search of safety information on chewable tablets was performed from the published literature dating from January 1966 to January 1999. Search terms included tablet, chewable tablet, drug formulation, aspiration, choking, asphyxia, airway obstruction, and foreign body. Additional information was obtained from the Physician's Desk Reference, by purchasing products at a local drug store, from calls to manufacturers, and from the IMS Health National Prescription Audit Plus 7. Human, English-language studies of two types were included, clinical articles with any mention of chewable tablets, and aspiration case series. The results of this review showed that more than 60 chewable tablet formulations are approved for use in the United States. Medical issues, including foreign-body injuries, related to the chewable-tablet formulation were extremely rare. The advantages of chewable tablets include palatability, stability, precise dosing, portability, and ease of delivery. It is concluded that the available literature suggests that chewable tablets provide a safe, well-tolerated alternative to traditional pediatric drug formulations and offer significant advantages in children 2 years of age and older.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Mastication*
  • Safety
  • Tablets / adverse effects*


  • Tablets