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Mixing medicines and food

Int J Pharmacy Pract (2012) 20:191-98

Children may experience difficulty swallowing medication for several reasons, including the size of the tablet or capsule, or an unpleasant taste, so parents and nurses often mix medication into yoghurts, other soft foods or juice. However, a study by Strathclyde University suggests most nurses would like more training about potential issues associated with this common practice.

Researchers interviewed 14 paediatric mental health and 16 paediatric general nurses. Only one nurse claimed never to have modified oral dosage forms or mixed medication with food.

Only 43 per cent of psychiatric nurses and 56 per cent of general nurses felt 'sufficiently trained' in administering drugs in this way. Just 29 per cent and 25 per cent respectively felt 'sufficiently knowledgeable' about drug stability.

All the psychiatric nurse respondents and 81 per cent of general nurses wanted more training about the legal and other professional aspects, while 86 per cent and 63 per cent respectively wanted more details about product or drug stability; 86 per cent of psychiatric nurses and 81 per cent of the general nurses wanted further 'administration tips' on best practice'.

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