My Child Won't Swallow Medicine: A Prescription For Tragedy

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For common illnesses most people feel that it is of little importance to take their full course of medication. Unfortunately, not taking a prescribed medication properly can lead to life-threatening side effects.

Filling a prescription, remembering to take it and taking it properly are the keys to compliance and medicinal effectiveness. Responsible for roughly 125,000 deaths annually in the US and claimed by The New York Times as the worlds “other drug problem,” non-compliance has proven to be both dangerous and costly. This is especially true in children and the elderly, whose immune systems are more prone to illness but whose mentalities are less prone to following drug regimens.

Non-compliance results in persistent symptoms, uncured disorders, and the evolution of drug-resistant strains. Studies show that 1/3 of patients take all their medicine, 1/3 take some, and 1/3 don’t take any at all. According to the National Council for Patient Education Information, of the 2 billion prescriptions filled each year, only 50% are taken correctly. In a study of children who had strep throat infections and for whom a 10-day course of penicillin suspension was prescribed, 56% were not taking the drug by the third day, 71% by the sixth day, and 82% by the ninth day. Additionally, with the high transmission rates of many illnesses, not completely ridding the body of the infection and symptoms compromises the health of everybody you come into contact with, leading to an exponential increase in disease spread.

Many feel that common colds, infections and viruses can be left untreated, 100% adherence to a drug regimen is only important with severe disorders. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.

Recently, in Detroit, Michigan a young girl was unable to swallow her doses of a prescription of penicillin for strep throat because of its bitter, acrid taste and unpleasant smell. In addition to not getting correct treatment (she would commonly spit the medicine out, throw it up or refuse it completely), the exhaustive process of forcing the medication down was both traumatic and emotionally draining for both her and her parents. With penicillin as the only medication compatible to her needs, her parents continued to try but each method only seemed to be more troublesome than the last. Unaware of the potential complications, they gave up. However, untreated strep throat can result in the spread of infection to other vital organs, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).

Ultimately, without the necessary medication, the girl’s condition grew so dire she required hospitalization and she now has only 10-15% usage of her kidneys and specialists are unsure how long she will live. Non-compliance as a result of not being able to swallow a medication, has tragically transformed a once happy family into a child with a very unsure future and parents with an unwavering sense of guilt. Sparing their daughter the pain and agony of struggling with a bad tasting medication eventually turned a relatively simple problem into a life threatening scenario.

Thankfully, medicinal taste can now be easily remedied. Safe, FDA-approved flavorings specifically developed for medicine can be applied to liquid prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs to alleviate the anguish in taking unpalatable medicine. FLAVORx, the leading biotech/pharmaceutical company that has eliminated the world of bad-tasting medicine, offers over 42 flavors in a concentrated form that safely and effectively change the medicine’s taste to such flavors as Grape, Orange Cream, Watermelon and Bubblegum. In the past decade, over 50 million prescriptions have been safely flavored without any incidence of allergy, complication, changes in efficacy or adverse reactions. To view medications and recommended flavor pairings, visit the Wheel of Yuck at

For more information, please contact Teresa Chen at 800.884.5771 extension 234.


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Teresa Chen
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