Randomized, double blind comparison of brand and generic antibiotic suspensions: II. A study of taste and compliance in children

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1996 Jan;15(1):18-22. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199601000-00004.


Background: The taste of oral liquid medications influences compliance in children. Generic preparations are prescribed to reduce cost and may taste worse than brand name products.

Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, double blind, crossover trial of the differences in taste and compliance between brand and generic antibiotic suspensions in children 3 to 14 years of age. Verbal and visual assessment methods were used to assess taste, and compliance was measured by the amount of drug returned after use.

Results: Ten children in each of the cephalexin and erythromycin-sulfisoxazole groups did not report that the brand and generic formulations tasted differently. Fifteen children thought that brand trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole tasted better than the generic preparation.

Conclusions: Brand name oral liquid antibiotics do not necessarily taste better than their generic counterparts. Despite preference for the taste of brand trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, all of the children in this study were compliant with both brand and generic medications.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics
  • Cephalexin / chemistry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Compounding
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / chemistry
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / economics
  • Drugs, Generic / chemistry
  • Drugs, Generic / economics
  • Erythromycin / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Sulfisoxazole / chemistry
  • Taste*
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / chemistry


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Drugs, Generic
  • Erythromycin
  • Sulfisoxazole
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination
  • Cephalexin