Stability, dose uniformity, and palatability of three counterterrorism drugs-human subject and electronic tongue studies

Pharm Res. 2005 Oct;22(10):1747-56. doi: 10.1007/s11095-005-6387-x. Epub 2005 Sep 22.


Purpose: These studies evaluated the ability of common household food and drink products to mask the bitter taste of three selected anti-terrorism drugs.

Methods: Three anti-terrorism drugs (doxycycline, ciprofloxacin hydrochloride, and potassium iodide) were mixed with a variety of common household food and drinks, and healthy adult volunteers evaluated the resulting taste and aftertaste. In parallel, the ASTREE Electronic Tongue was used to evaluate taste combinations. Stability of the mixtures over time was monitored, as was the dosage uniformity across preparations.

Results: Foods and drinks were identified that satisfactorily masked the bitter flavor of each drug. Dose uniformity and stability were also acceptable over the range studied, although some combinations were significantly less stable than others. The electronic tongue was able to differentiate between tastes, but ranked masking agents in a different order than human volunteers.

Conclusions: Doxycycline, potassium iodide, and ciprofloxacin, which are stockpiled in solid tablet form, can conveniently be prepared into more palatable formulations, using common household foods and drinks. The electronic tongue can be used to perform an initial screening for palatability.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Bioterrorism*
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology*
  • Drug Stability
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium Iodide / pharmacology*
  • Taste / drug effects*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / instrumentation
  • Tongue / drug effects
  • Tongue / physiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Potassium Iodide
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Doxycycline