Oral transmucosal drug delivery for pediatric use

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2014 Jun;73:50-62. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2013.08.011. Epub 2013 Aug 31.


The formulation of medicines for children remains a challenge. An ideal pediatric formulation must allow accurate dose administration and be in a dosage form that can be handled by the target age group. It is also important to consider the choices and the amount of excipients used in the formulation for this vulnerable age group. Although oral formulations are generally acceptable to most pediatric patients, they are not suitable for drugs with poor oral bioavailability or when a rapid clinical effect is required. In recent years, oral transmucosal delivery has emerged as an attractive route of administration for pediatric patients. With this route of administration, a drug is absorbed through the oral mucosa, therefore bypassing hepatic first pass metabolism and thus avoiding drug degradation or metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract. The high blood flow and relatively high permeability of the oral mucosa allow a quick onset of action to be achieved. It is a simple and non-invasive route of drug administration. However, there are several barriers that need to be overcome in the development of oral transmucosal products. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review of the current development of oral transmucosal delivery specifically for the pediatric population in order to achieve systemic drug delivery. The anatomical and physiological properties of the oral mucosa of infants and young children are carefully examined. The different dosage forms and formulation strategies that are suitable for young patients are discussed.

Keywords: Buccal; Mucoadhesive; Mucosal delivery; Pediatric; Sublingual.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Mucosal
  • Administration, Oral
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Mouth Mucosa / metabolism
  • Oral Mucosal Absorption
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations