Assessment of the palatability of beta-lactamase-resistant antibiotics in children

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997 Jun;151(6):599-602. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170430065013.


Objectives: To evaluate the palatability of antibiotics effective against beta-lactamase-producing bacteria in children and to compare the results obtained with those obtained in adults.

Design: A taste test of 4 antibiotic suspensions: a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (banana), azithromycin (cherry), clarithromycin (wild fruit), and a combination of erythromycin and sulfisoxazole (strawberry-banana).

Setting: Outpatient setting.

Subjects: A volunteer sample of 50 healthy children (mean +/- SD age, 6.3 +/- 1.3 years) and 20 adults.

Main outcome measures: After each antibiotic test dose, subjects rated its taste on a 10-cm visual analog scale incorporating a facial hedonic scale.

Results: The mean +/- SD taste scores of the antibiotics as rated by the children were as follows: amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, 5.7 +/- 3.6 cm; azithromycin, 6.8 +/- 3.2 cm; clarithromycin, 3.7 +/- 3.6 cm; and erythromycin-sulfisoxazole, 4.9 +/- 3.5 cm. The mean +/- SD taste score for erythromycin-sulfisoxazole (ie, 2.7 +/- 2.3) assigned by the adults was significantly different than that given by the children (P = .01) with no difference noted for the other 3 drugs. Children and adults both selected azithromycin most often as best tasting. There was a significant difference in the proportions selecting each antibiotic as worst tasting, with the children tending to dislike clarithromycin and the adults tending to dislike erythromycin-sulfisoxazole (P = .03).

Conclusions: The taste of azithromycin was rated most highly by both children and adults, who also selected this antibiotic most often as best tasting. Differences in taste-testing results between children and adults suggest that evaluation of the palatability of medications intended for use in pediatrics should be conducted in children.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Taste*
  • beta-Lactams


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactams