Antibiotics in Tablet form

Children should be encouraged to swallow oral solid dose forms (tablets and capsules) where possible. Where children are unable to swallow whole oral dosage forms, we provide advice on how to give doses by dispersing or crushing tablets or by opening capsules

Dispersing or crushing

They are film-coated but can be dispersed in water, or crushed and mixed with liquid or soft food. Crushing tablets should not be undertaken by anyone with an allergy to the antibiotic prescribed.

Dispersing tablets

To disperse the tablet:

  • place the tablet in the barrel of a 10mL oral syringe
  • replace the plunger
  • draw up approximately 5mL of water and 2mL of air
  • shake well and allow to disperse (this may take up to 10 minutes)
  • ensure all contents of the syringe are given

Alternatively, the tablet may be mixed with 5 to 10mL of water in small glass or medicine cup and stirred well.

Masking the taste

The dispersed or crushed tablet will taste bitter so it can be helpful to use a strongly flavoured drink (e.g. blackcurrant cordial) or food (e.g. jam, apple sauce, yoghurt) that the child likes:

  • use a small amount of food or drink (e.g. a teaspoonful) so you can be sure the child eats it all and swallows the whole dose
  • it might be helpful to use an oral syringe for liquids
  • after mixing the crushed tablet with food or drink, give it straight away