A new breakthrough product, created for the tens of thousands of people who have problems taking tablets, is already helping families.
Like many children, 12-year-old Toby Sykes – from Hesketh Bridge near Preston – found it difficult to change from swallowing medicine to swallowing pills.
Also, like many young people, he regularly suffers from colds and viruses. “Kids are affected by fevers really quickly and you just want to bring their temperature down,” said his mum Fiona.
“The first thing you look at is paracetamol or ibuprofen – but most kids can’t get their heads around swallowing something solid. Paracetamol isn’t sugar coated so it doesn’t slip down. It sticks and tastes bitter and unpleasant, so it produces almost a gag reflex, which happens almost before they put the tablet in.
“For Toby it wasn’t a swallowing difficulty it was more of a mental block and it’s very common in his age group.”
The solution for Fiona was Med-Easy™, a gel which is poured onto a tablet on a spoon and swallowed just like medicine.
It has been developed by Fagron – a multi-national pharmaceutical company which started in the Netherlands in 1990 and now employs 2,000 people in North America, South America, mainland Europe and the UK. After the success of Med-Easy™ in Europe, Fagron’s UK business, based in Newcastle, is now introducing it here.
Fagron UK’s general manager Peter Batty said: “Taking tablets is extremely difficult for a very large number of people. As well as the many children like Toby, people on certain medication suffer dry mouths and there are a large number of illnesses and conditions – such as strokes and dementia – which affect people’s ability to swallow.”
Up until now their only alternatives have been to take their medication in a solution or liquid form – where there is a strong likelihood they might not take the whole prescribed dose. People also crush tablets, which can often seriously affect the impact of the medication and in some cases pose a serious risk to health. They might instead swallow a tablet with food, such as yogurt, but are perhaps unaware that products containing calcium decrease the effectiveness of certain anti-biotics.
“There are other well-documented examples of food reducing the impact of certain treatments – for example grapefruit and grapefruit juice,” said Mr Batty. “That’s why our scientists have created a product based on starch, which means that it is virtually chemically inert and therefore compatible with almost all medicines. It is also free from sugar and gluten.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort developing this product. We are delighted with the result and like some of the best ideas, it’s an easy-to-use solution to a problem that’s affecting very many lives and people’s health.”
Med-Easy™ has a slight cherry taste. A 500ml bottle – sufficient for 100 doses – costs £9.99.
For Fiona Sykes, it has also proved a solution to a problem her 15-year-old daughter Ella – a budding dancer — had with swallowing supplements.
“She’s away at vocational dance school. She has a whole plethora of supplements she takes every day – including magnesium tablets for muscle recovery – because she trains like an elite athlete. And they’re really difficult to swallow because they’re like horse pills. So she loves it as well. She thinks it’s a great invention because it makes her morning routine so much simpler,” she said.