Taste Masking

Adherence to medication is one of the major concerns in orally administered drugs. The need to mask taste of bitter, unpleasant drugs effectively has always been a key priority for formulation scientists. The need intensifies when the target group is children, pregnant females and geriatric patients. With a surge in uptake of daily multivitamins and nutraceuticals, taste has now attained wider role in human wellness.

In pharma, taste of unpleasant drugs can be masked through multiple ways. Simple of all is to add sweetners (e.g. aspartame, sucralose) to mask the bitter tasting ingredients.

Flavors (mint, fruits etc.) are also added to improve the taste of the oral formulation, especially in liquid preparations.

Several polymers are also now commonly used that are insoluble in the mouth and are applied as a coat on tablets to act as a physical barrier. Microencapsulation, complex formations with cyclodextrins, use of effervescent agents etc. are other ways to improve the organoleptic properties of the formulation.

Akums has always been at the forefront of formulation innovations to mask taste, thereby improving patient compliance. Also, the focus is to ensure cost-effectiveness to make the drug affordable for Indian masses. Over the last 2 decades, Akums has introduced several innovative tablet and oral liquid preparations which had improved taste leading to better patient compliance and improved revenues for the clients.

Case Studies

Taste-masking of cod-liver oil syrup as well as soft-gelatin capsules

Cod-liver oil is a key source for omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient for heart, bones and overall well being. Consumption in kids has further shown to have life-long benefits. With high percentage of vegetarian population in India and fishy smell, acceptance of cod-liver oil is low in India. Akums, via its expertise in formulation development, formulated syrup of cod-liver oil for a leading multinational company that had significant improvement in taste and acceptable by kids. Further, the soft-gelatins were enteric coated to reduce the fishy taste as well as fishy burps.

Taste-masking of tablets for morning sickness during pregnancy

Doxylamine and pyridoxine is an effective combination to counter morning nausea and vomiting experienced during pregnancy. But both of these drugs are extremely bitter. Ineffective taste-masking can have a huge impact on medication compliance. Akums recently launched ginger flavoured enteric coated tablets of the drug combination and is being commercialized by a leading pharma company in India. Ginger has itself been proven to reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and hence would lead to improved compliance to the drug.

With oral solids and liquids holding majority share in the Indian pharma market and its expected to continue driving the Indian market, patient adherence is a key to better health outcomes. At Akums, it our promise that we will continue to take greater challenges and deliver innovative formulations to make drugs more patient-friendly.