Pediatric Drug Formulations: A Review of Challenges and Progress
Children differ from adults in many aspects of pharmacotherapy, including capabilities for drug administration, medicine-related toxicity, and taste preferences. It is essential that pediatric medicines are formulated to best suit a child’s age, size, physiologic condition, and treatment requirements. To ensure adequate treatment of all children, different routes of administration, dosage forms, and strengths may be required. Many existing formulations are not suitable for children, which often leads to off-label and unlicensed use of adult medicines. New regulations, additional funding opportunities, and innovative collaborative research initiatives have resulted in some recent progress in the development of pediatric formulations. These advances include a paradigm shift toward oral solid formulations and a focus on novel preparations, including flexible, dispersible, and multiparticulate oral solid dosage forms. Such developments have enabled greater dose flexibility, easier administration, and better acceptance of drug formulations in children. However, new pediatric formulations address only a small part of all therapeutic needs in children; moreover, they are not always available. Five key issues need to be addressed to stimulate the further development of better medicines for children: (1) the continued prioritization of unmet formulation needs, particularly drug delivery in neonates and treatment gaps in pediatric cancers and childhood diseases in developing countries; (2) a better use of existing data to facilitate pediatric formulation development; (3) innovative technologies in adults that can be used to develop new pediatric formulations; (4) clinical feedback and practice-based evidence on the impact of novel formulations; and (5) improved access to new pediatric formulations.
- Accepted February 27, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics