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Taste Masking Technologies in Oral Pharmaceuticals

Taste is one of the most important parameters governing patient compliance. In paediatric formulations bitterness masking becomes essential to ensure patient adherence to medication, as young children show higher taste sensitivity to bitter-tasting substances. Likewise for people on long-term medication and for those who need to regularly take high volumes of medicines, taste is an issue that matters.

Undesirable taste is one of several important formulation problems that are encountered with certain drugs. That’s why effective taste masking is of great significance to reach an acceptable degree of palatability for orally administered drugs.

It is important to consider that only the soluble portion of a drug can generate the sensation of taste when chemical molecules interact with taste receptors on the tongue after dissolving in saliva. Hence, in dosage forms that disintegrate rapidly in a glass of water or in the saliva, taste masking is of critical importance.

Pharmaceutical scientists use various technologies to improve the taste of a drug, each depending on the drug's nature and physicochemical properties. A variety of taste-masking formulation options are available, including incorporation of excipients such as flavors, sweeteners and amino acids.

There are few taste masking technology mentioned below:

Taste masking with Flavors

By adding suitable flavoring excipients, the taste of APIs may be successfully covered. But the excipients that could affect the stability of the API are preferably avoided.

Taste masking with Physical Barriers (Coating)

For very bitter and highly water-soluble drugs taste-masking with ingredients such as (artificial) flavors and/or sweeteners alone can be insufficient. Where film coating may applied for taste masking and today there are several coating techniques are available.

The desire of improved palatability in these products has prompted the development of numerous formulations with improved performance and acceptability. So, any pharmaceutical formulation with a pleasing taste would definitely be preferred over a competitor's product and would translate into better compliance and therapeutic value for the patient and more business and profits for the company.

Pharmaceutical Taste Masking Agents Examples

Sweeteners: Saccharin Sodium, Sucrose, Sorbitol etc.

Coating materials: HPMC, HPC, Ethylcellulose, Polyvinyl alcohol, Polyvinyl acetate, Eudragit etc.

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