Bitterness evaluation of medicines for pediatric use by a taste sensor

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004 Aug;52(8):943-8. doi: 10.1248/cpb.52.943.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the bitterness of 18 different antibiotic and antiviral drug formulations, widely used to treat infectious diseases in children and infants, in human gustatory sensation tests and using an artificial taste sensor. Seven of the formulations were found to have a bitterness intensity exceeding 1.0 in gustatory sensation tests (evaluated against quinine as a standard) and were therefore assumed to have an unpleasant taste to children. The bitterness intensity scores of the medicines were examined using suspensions in water or an acidic sports drink. In the case of three macrolide antibiotic formulations containing erythromycin (ERYTHROCIN dry syrup), clarithromycin (CLARITH dry syrup for pediatric), and azithromycin (ZITHROMAC fine granules for pediatric use), the bitterness intensities of suspensions in acidic sports drinks were dramatically enhanced compared with the corresponding scores of suspensions in water. This enhancement could be predicted using the taste sensor. On the other hand, a reduction of bitterness intensity was observed for an acidic sports drink suspension of an amantadine product (SYMMETREL fine granules) compared with an aqueous suspension. This reduction in bitterness could also be predicted using the taste sensor output value. Thus, the taste sensor could predict whether or not suspension in an acidic sports drink would enhance or reduce the bitterness intensity of pediatric drug formulations, compared with suspensions in water.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amantadine / adverse effects
  • Amantadine / analysis
  • Amantadine / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Child
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Macrolides / adverse effects
  • Macrolides / analysis
  • Macrolides / pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions / adverse effects
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions / analysis
  • Solubility
  • Suspensions
  • Taste / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Macrolides
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Suspensions
  • Amantadine