London—Worldwide, most medicines are only available as tablets and capsules. Even where liquid substitutes exist, those products tend to be higher in cost and, in many cases, not palatable.

That can be a problem. As in the United States, pharmacists in the United Kingdom are looking for alternatives to help pediatric and other patients for whom swallowing medications can be difficult.

New research published in the journal Pediatrics looked at whether a product—the Pill Glide swallowing spray—could help children in taking their solid and liquid medicines.

In the open-label pilot study, researchers from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London and colleagues compared the spray with a behavioral approach alone, which is the current standard of care at the pediatric hospital.

Participants were children on long-term drug therapies, either transitioning from liquid preparations to tablets and capsules, or known to be experiencing swallowing difficulties.

Patients used age-adapted diaries to self-report the difficulty of taking medicines on a six-point hedonic scale for 2 weeks before the intervention, and then for a week while using Pill Glide.

Researchers analyzed data from 10 children aged 6 to 16 years, with an average burden of 3.5 tablets per day. Results indicate that Pill Glide was shown to significantly decrease the overall medicine-taking difficulty score by 0.93—almost one hedonic face point on the scale used. The participants deemed strawberry to be the most popular flavor.

Not enough data was available to determine if the product helped children ingest liquid medicines.

“Pill Glide could help children with pill swallowing, thus improving patient acceptability of medicines and potentially adherence,” study authors concluded. “It could also be implemented as a useful cost-saving intervention because solid dosage forms are cheaper.”

Pill Glide, which is available in pharmacies in the U.S., is a flavored lubricating spray that is also sugar-free and dye-free. The manufacturer recommends that users squirt a few sprays in the mouth before taking a tablet or capsule. A press release notes that the product, which does not numb the throat, was developed by a pharmacist and is made by FLAVORx, which has more than 14 years’ experience with medication-flavoring solutions.

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