Patient Preference and Adherence
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Background: Children’s aversions to poor and mostly bitter tastes and their inability to swallow tablets and capsules are major challenges in pediatric medicine. Sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB) is a lifesaving waste nitrogen, alternative to urea nitrogen, for individuals suffering from urea cycle disorders. A major issue in the use of NaPB is its highly foul taste, which often leads to children being unable to consume it, resulting in ineffective treatment, or alternatively, necessitating the application of the drug through a nasogastric tube or gastrostomy. Methods: This study reviews the published data on a novel formulation of NaPB, Pheburane® granules, which begin to release their NaPB after a lag time of ~10 seconds followed by a slow release over several minutes. Results: The taste-masked granule formulation of NaPB dramatically improves the acceptability of the drug by children and appears in initial studies to be both safe and effective. Conclusion: While more studies are needed to substantiate and enrich these initial trials, the available data provide a telling example where masking the drug taste of medicine for children can sometimes be the difference between life and death.