Giving your child prescription medication probably doesn't fill you with joy, but if your child is suffering with acid reflux, you'll want to explore ways to minimise their pain and discomfort. Liquid ranitidine is an effective treatment for acid reflux that's commonly prescribed to children. This medication reduces the amount of acid in your child's stomach, so they feel less burning pain when stomach contents make their way up their oesophagus. The liquid version is easy to swallow, and it's simpler to adjust the dosage of the liquid than the tablet form of the drug as your child grows.
However, ranitidine doesn't taste particularly pleasant, and patients often describe it as having a bitter taste. The taste causes some children to refuse to swallow ranitidine, which can result in stress for both the parent and child when each dose is due to be administered. Additionally, the base contains ethanol, and some parents worry about the implications of their child having small doses of alcohol each day. Ethanol was chosen as the base as this drug was originally formulated for adult use, but it's considered safe for children and is widely prescribed for paediatric reflux.
If you're trialling this medication with your child, you may want to have the prescription filled at a compounding pharmacy. This is a specialist pharmacy with a licence to mix the individual ingredients in a medication to suit the exact requirements of the patient. This ability to customise medication can be beneficial, as a compounding pharmacist can change the base of ranitidine and alter the taste.
If you don't want your child to ingest the small amount of ethanol in liquid ranitidine, you can ask a compounding pharmacist to replace the base with an alcohol-free alternative. One child-friendly alternative is a base containing sugar-free syrup. The syrup is tasteless, but it does contain artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners aren't problematic for most children, but if your child can't tolerate the sweeteners, the pharmacist can discuss alternatives with you.
As it's the active ingredient in liquid ranitidine that tastes bitter, it's not possible to simply remove this component of the medication. However, a compounding pharmacy can alter the taste of the medicine by adding flavoured syrup to mask the bitterness without diluting the concentration of the active ingredient. Fruit flavours, such as cherry and strawberry, do a good job of disguising the taste of ranitidine.
As compounding pharmacies offer a specialised service, their services tend to be in demand. So, if you want to have your child's prescription filled by a compounding pharmacy, ensure they have the prescription at least a couple of days before your child's existing prescription runs out.