Objective: The understanding of acceptability of existing dosage forms is limited in most of the world and hinders the development of acceptable, age-appropriate medicines. The attributes of paediatric medicine acceptability may differ from country to country based on culture, healthcare infrastructure and health policies. This study was designed to map the acceptability of oral medicines in paediatric patients treated in hospital in India.
Methods: An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted in patients aged below 18 years and taking any form of oral medication. Acceptability scores were obtained using CAST-ClinSearch Acceptability Score Test tool.
Findings: 490 patients were recruited and 193 evaluations of different pharmaceutical products available in 20 dosage forms and 7 routes of administration were studied. Oral liquids (50%) and tablets (35%) were the most commonly prescribed and administered forms. Regardless of the therapeutic class and age, the oral liquids were 'positively accepted' in infants and toddlers. Acceptability of tablets improved with age and appeared to be generally good from the age of 6.
Conclusion: This study indicates the limited progress towards adoption of age-appropriate dosage forms in India and thus impact on the acceptability of existing oral dosage forms. The key challenges posed by the adoption of age-appropriate formulations in India are (1) awareness of importance of appropriate administration and acceptability of medicines to children in India, (2) availability of age-appropriate dosage forms and (3) lack of child-appropriate medicine policies.
Keywords: administration and dosage; age appropriate; child; dosage form; medicines; pharmaceutical preparations.
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