Formulation of medicines for children

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2005 Jun;59(6):674-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2005.02410.x.


The development of age-adapted dosage forms and taste-masking of bitter-tasting drugs administered orally for children, are formidable challenges for formulation scientists. Childhood is a period of maturation requiring knowledge of developmental pharmacology to establish dose but the ability of the child to manage different dosage forms and devices also changes. Paediatric formulations must allow accurate administration of the dose to children of widely varying age and weight. Whilst the oral route will be preferred for long term use and the intravenous route for the acutely ill, many of the dosage forms designed for adults, such as oro-dispersible tablets, buccal gels and transdermal patches, would also benefit children if they contained an appropriate paediatric dose. The age at which children can swallow conventional tablets is of great importance for their safety. Liquid medicines are usually recommended for infants and younger children so the ability to mask unpleasant taste with sweeteners and flavours is crucial. More sophisticated formulations such as granules and oro-dispersible tablets may be required but there will be limitations on choice and concentration of excipients. There are many gaps in our knowledge about paediatric formulations and many challenges for the industry if suitable preparations are to be available for all ranges. A CHMP points to consider document is soon to be released. More research and clinical feedback are important because a formulation with poor acceptability may affect compliance, prescribing practice and ultimately commercial viability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging / psychology
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical*
  • Child
  • Dosage Forms*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care


  • Dosage Forms