Mixing children’s medicine with juice may seem like a good idea to make it more palatable, but it can also affect its effectiveness.
Children’s medicine can be bitter and unpleasant to swallow, so some parents may be tempted to mix it with juice or other sweet liquids to make it more palatable.
However, this seemingly harmless practice can have serious consequences, as some juices can interfere with the absorption and effectiveness of the medicine.
This is called a drug interaction, and it can lead to either too much or too little of the medicine in the child’s body, causing unwanted side effects or reduced benefits.
In this blog post, we will explain why drug interactions occur, how to avoid them, and how to use a drug interaction check tool to ensure your child’s safety.
How Juice Can Affect Medicine?
Juice can affect medicine in different ways, depending on the type and ingredients of the medicine. Some of the possible effects are:
Reducing the effectiveness of the medicine
Some juices, especially citrus juices like orange or grapefruit, can lower the pH of the stomach and make it more acidic.
This can affect how some medicines are absorbed and reduce their effectiveness.
For example, some antibiotics like amoxicillin or penicillin may not work as well if they are mixed with acidic juices.
Increasing the risk of side effects
Some juices, especially grapefruit juice, can interfere with how some medicines are broken down by the liver and increase their levels in the blood. This can increase the risk of side effects or toxicity.
For example, some antihistamines like cetirizine or loratadine may cause drowsiness or dry mouth if they are mixed with grapefruit juice.
Changing the taste and appearance of the medicine
Some juices may react with some medicines and change their color, texture, or taste. This can make them less appealing or even harmful to consume.
For example, some iron supplements may turn black or brown if they are mixed with fruit juices.
How to Give Children Medicine Safely?
To avoid these potential problems, you should always follow the instructions on the label or from your doctor or pharmacist when giving your child medicine.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Do not mix medicine with juice or other liquids unless instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are not sure, ask them before doing so.
- Use the right measuring device to give the correct dose. Do not use a spoon, cup, or syringe that is not meant for measuring medicine. Use the device that comes with the medicine or get one from your pharmacy.
- Give the medicine on an empty stomach or with food as directed. Some medicines work better or cause less stomach upset if they are given on an empty stomach or with food. Check the label or ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- Store the medicine properly and check the expiration date. Keep the medicine in its original container and out of reach of children. Do not use medicine that is expired, discolored, or smells bad.
How to Make Medicine More Palatable for Children?
If your child does not like the taste of the medicine, there are some things you can do to make it more palatable without affecting its effectiveness or safety.
Here are some suggestions:
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a different form or flavor of the medicine available
Some medicines come in different forms such as chewable tablets, liquid suspensions, dissolvable strips, or patches.
Some medicines also come in different flavors such as cherry, grape, or bubblegum. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is an option that suits your child better.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can add a flavor enhancer to the medicine
Some pharmacies offer flavor enhancers that can be added to liquid medicines to improve their taste.
These are usually safe and do not affect how the medicine works. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if this is an option for your child’s medicine.
Give your child a drink or a snack after taking the medicine
You can give your child a sip of water, milk, or juice (except grapefruit) after taking the medicine to wash away any unpleasant taste.
You can also give your child a cracker, a piece of fruit, or a small candy (if allowed) to reward them for taking the medicine.