Sensory aspects of acceptability of bitter-flavoured 7.5 mm film-coated tablets in adults, preschool and school children

Justyna Katarzyna Hofmanová, Julie Mason, Hannah Katharine Batchelor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


There is great interest in demonstrating acceptability of solid oral formulations in paediatric populations. This study investigated the acceptability of small, 7.5 mm, bitter-flavoured, coated tablets in healthy children and adults. A randomised, double-blind acceptability test was performed involving 101 children (4–12 years) and 52 adults (18–75 years). Acceptability was measured by participants as sensory assessment of taste, mouthfeel and hedonic perception, and by researcher observations of ability to swallow the tablet and negative facial expressions. Additionally, the taste-masking effect of film coatings was assessed based on the intensity of bitterness perception. At least one tablet was voluntarily swallowed by 35.7% of 4–6-year olds, 74% of 7–12-year olds and 98% of adults. The bitterness of the tablet did not affect participants’ ability to swallow it. The sensory properties determined whether the tablet was acceptable. The following factors: low bitterness, high smoothness, high slipperiness and pleasant aftertaste had a positive impact on overall palatability in both populations. The paediatric scores during sensory evaluation of tablets differed from adults, showing lower acceptability. This study demonstrates the multifactorial nature of palatability of tablets and highlights that adults’ palatability evaluation cannot be directly translated to a paediatric population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119511
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date6 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020


  • acceptability
  • coated tablets
  • mouthfeel
  • paediatric medicine
  • sensory assessment


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