Taste masking increases drug acceptability and medication adherence in pediatric, geriatric, and other special patient populations.
Taste masking is a method used to improve not only the taste of bitter APIs in formulated drug products, but also mouth feel (smooth vs. gritty) and the overall acceptability of medications to patients. It can be achieved in various ways. Common methods include changing the API to a different form (e.g., drug freebase, salt, or pro-drug) that is less bitter; using sweeteners, buffers, taste modifiers, or aromas to reduce aversive sensory attributes; and complexing the API to prevent its interaction with taste receptors, such as with cyclodextrins and ion exchange resins. The API can be physically encapsulated through application of a coating (or coatings) to a drug particle or tablet, the use of barrier membranes, or the formation of solid dispersions via spray drying or hot-melt extrusion. Another potential method involves blocking of taste receptors directly or along the signaling pathway.
Taste masking is important because poor patient adherence often leads to worsening health and poor outcomes, along with increased costs across the healthcare system. A broader range of taste-masking technologies is required for the growing number of different dosage forms and drug-delivery approaches in use and under development today to meet the unique and specialized needs of different patient populations. Pediatric patients consist of subgroups from babies to teenagers, each with its own requirements. Geriatric patients may have difficulty swallowing. Patients with neurological conditions may resist taking medications if the drug product is not easy to take. Excipient manufacturers and service providers focused on taste masking are overcoming a range of challenges - from regulatory hurdles to an ability to accurately predict and measure taste-masking performance to develop technologies suitable for the growing range of dosage forms and delivery systems.
Volume 41, Issue 11, pg 24–27