Scientists at the University of Huddersfield are pioneering the use of a special gel that can be used to give medicines to young children and the elderly – groups who often have difficulty swallowing pills and capsules.
The gel medicine is made from gellan gum, a natural compound that has been used in foodstuffs until now. It consists of microscopic gel particles which collectively are pourable and can be administered with a spoon. But in the stomach the gel solidifies. This means the drug is not released there, where it would have little effect or even irritate the stomach, but later in the intestine over the course of several hours.
The research is a response to the increasing demand for ‘age appropriate’ drugs. It is important because a major reason for people not taking their medicines properly is the dosage form – be it a tablet, liquid or cream. So if you are having trouble taking your medicines for this reason, speak to your pharmacist. They may be able to suggest an alternative approach.