Your Kids Won't Take Their Medicine--Now What?

Posted on: 25 January 2015

Virtually every parent experiences this problem at some point or another: your kids refuse to take their medication because they don't like the way it tastes. This can be a real problem if the medication is one they need for a chronic illness or infection. The next time you encounter this issue, try one of the tips below to get your children on board with their prescriptions.

Get Them Involved in the Process

With older children, getting them to buy into the idea of taking their medications is vital. This is especially true if your child is taking a prescription for a chronic condition, such as

  • respiratory problems
  • mental illness
  • transplant
  • digestive disorders

The first thing is to give them some control over taking the medication. If you can be flexible about when it's taken, ask them when they would prefer to get their dose.

Make sure they understand the consequences of not taking their prescription and what the drug is actually doing to help them. Also, be certain they understand that just because they feel better doesn't mean they can discontinue the medication.

For elementary school age kids and tweens, sometimes a reward chart works. Every time they take their meds they get a check mark or a sticker, and once they accumulate so many stickers, they get a reward of some sort--a movie, an ice cream, extra TV time, a new book, etc.

Try Numbing the Tongue

For very young children, sometimes numbing the tongue works, so they can't taste their medication. While there are sprays that do this, these may cause just as much of a battle as the original objectionable medication. Instead, try having them suck on an ice pop for a few minutes first and again after the medicine is delivered.

Use the "Spoonful of Sugar" Technique

Sometimes disguising the medication works, too. You can try mixing it with a bit of fruit flavored drink powder or chocolate syrup, as long as the pharmacy says these things won't interfere with the medication's effectiveness.

Two notes of caution here, though. First, whenever mixing a medication with food, you need to make sure your child gets the full dose, so it needs to be measured properly, and all the mixture needs to be consumed. Second, this is not usually an option for kids with diabetes, as it could cause problems with their blood sugar levels.

Call in the Pros

A better way to disguise the flavor of many medications is to have it prepared by a compounding pharmacy. A compounding pharmacy is a bit like an old-fashioned apothecary, in that medications are prepared individually for each patient from bulk raw ingredients.

Compounding pharmacies are pros at making medications more palatable for patients of all ages. They can take drugs that are usually only available in pill form and turn them into a liquid suspension. And they can add flavoring and remove grittiness better than you can at home.

They can also combine multiple medicines into a single dose--a great option for kids who are on many medications at once. There are even alternative formulations for some drugs, such as lollipops and gummy treats.

Some physicians are not aware of palatability issues when they prescribe medications for their young patients. If you have a problem getting your kids to take their prescriptions, ask their pediatrician to recommend a reputable compounding pharmacy. And guess what? The next time one of your pets is turning up their nose at a pill, a compounding pharmacy can make that more tasty, too! Go to this web-site for more information.


Welcome to Sara's Site

Hi there! My name is Sara Jerba. I'm no doctor, but I'm very familiar with them due to experience. You could say I was a sickly child. Between various allergies and a few other conditions, I got to be very good friends with my doctors and nurses. Although I hate staying overnight in the hospital, I do feel quite at home there. Now, don't feel sorry for me. Most of my conditions have eased or even abated entirely as I've grown up. And none of them were ever life-threatening--just inconvenient. It's actually been very positive in the long run; it's brought a lot of wonderful people and important knowledge into my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

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