Not Quite Sonoma

5 04 2012

This is what I like to call a Just-For-Funsies post.

The first day of pediatrics, at orientation, we did something that, I think, is relatively unique.  We had a tasting party.  You see, our clerkship director felt that it would be an excellent idea for us to know what exactly it is we as physicians will be subjecting children to when we prescribe certain medications in the future.  Because the students will generally be spending more time with the patients and their families than the other docs, he also thought that perhaps we would be able to provide personal insight into how easy it will be to get the medicine into the child.

Flavor concoction for kids’ meds is kind of a big deal in pharmacy land.  In fact, the following are all flavors that can be added by some pharmacies to certain liquid medications:

Most of the ones I tasted actually didn’t taste bad.  A handful actually tasted good.  The primary issue was that regardless of how sweet or fruity the medicine drops tasted, for the most part they left aftertastes that were unpleasant and impossible to eradicate, leaving our taste buds incapacitated for several minutes.

Parents, take note:  It is never a good idea to mix those meds with pudding, juice, or anything for that matter.  Because that kid is going to take one bite, get the aftertaste, and then refuse to eat the rest of it.  It’s best to just give them the whole dose quickly and follow it with some kind of chaser.

For your amusement, here are my impressions of the mixed bag I was able to taste.  Please keep in mind that while some of what I describe is not something I’ve ever eaten, the taste is the taste I imagine based on the smell of something unpleasant (that makes sense, right?)

Pediatric Medication Taste Review

Amoxicillin—I liked this one.  It was sweet, and kind of tasted like a candy necklace.  Very little aftertaste.

Augmentin—Citrus taste, but the chalky consistency left me smacking my tongue against the roof of my mouth to try to clear it.

Keflex—Reminiscent of a strawberry daiquiri, minus the EtOH, but this is one I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed if ingested in a larger quantity (we were each given one or two drops of the stuff).  No aftertaste to speak of.

Ceftin (Cefuroxime)—This was not pleasant.  It was like the oldest, most gritty Bazooka gum possible.  Imagine chewing the baseball card gum with the card still attached.  This one also had a nasty aftertaste.

Omnicef (Cefdnir)—Very light, tasted almost like grapes.  Real grapes, not the fake grape flavor.  Very little aftertaste.

Zithromax—Blech.  Cherry cough drops.  Bitter aftertaste.  The “classic” taste of cherry-flavored meds.

Clindamycin—This was the worst to me.  A couple of my classmates thought it tasted like a concentrated version of the coating on marshmallow Peeps.  For me, it was how I thought it would taste to lick an agar plate with growing bacteria colonies.  Those of you who’ve spent time in microbiology labs will know what I mean.  Retch.

Bactrim—Another emesis inducer.  Like licking rancid cherry cough syrup off of a worn, dirty car tire.  The burning rubber lingered in the aftertaste.

Voriconazole (Vfend)—Antifungal.  Tasted like undersweetened lemonade, but the aftertaste was very bitter and it took several minutes for my face to un-contort itself.  Even water didn’t help.  Good luck getting that into your kid twice a day.

Prevacid—The antacid.  This one was difficult to describe, but the first thing I landed on was from my childhood.  If any of you ever had those Creepy Crawlies things (like the boys’ Easy Bake Oven), where you squeeze gel into metal molds, cook them under a lightbulb, and end up with stretchy rubber insects.  Kind of tastes like I imagine those would.  Not fruity, no lingering aftertaste.

Zantac—Another antacid.  My second-worst experience.  Picture a stick of minty gum wrapped in a dirty sock for a week.  Yep.  One of my classmates described it as “dirty mint,” and I can’t think of a better portrayal.

Acetaminophen—The cheap-o generic.  Ulch is the best I can do for this one.  Another stereotypical bitter cherry-flavored syrup with a nasty, lingering aftertaste.  Good luck getting that into your kid 4-6x/day.  If you love your child, buy the brand name stuff.

Ibuprofen—Tasted like a melted, room-temperature orange dreamsicle.  As medication flavors go, it wasn’t bad.

Prednisone—You know those little barrel drinks for kids?  The ones that are excessively brightly colored and are so loaded with sugar that they’re strangely tangy?  Tastes like that for the first 5 seconds before the bitter aftertaste kicks in.  As aftertastes go, though, this one was relatively mild.

Zofran—Saving the anti-nausea med for last!  This tasted like Sweet Tarts, with a very mild aftertaste that washed out quickly.

It was fun, but this tasting did not measure up to anything we’d get in Sonoma country.  All in all, there’s a lot to be said for having the ability to swallow a pill 😉




2 responses

8 04 2012

Cherry flavor makes me gag. For the cherry flavored syrups, the only way I could get my kids (or myself, for that matter) to swallow them was mixed w/ a little orange juice. Tastes like fruit punch. You just have to be careful not too add too much OJ, or you risk not getting it all finished.

16 04 2012

Ice cubes. Numb the taste buds with ice cubes before, take the medicine as cold as possible and ice cubes afterwards. You don’t taste much that way.

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