Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tips on administering medication

I have received emails, texts, and calls from friends and acquaintances on how to give medicine to a child.  As you know, Luca receives many medications.  Prior to, and immediately following transplant, we gave her medications through her g-tube.  But that was back before she knew how to eat or drink for herself, and also  when she was on about 19 different oral meds throughout a 24 hour period.  Now, we are down to 5 medications per day, which means that with multiple doses of some of those medications, it means taking by mouth a total of 10 meds per day.

She used to struggle with a few of her meds.  Now, she has the routine down and rarely gives us a fight.  But those beginning days were tough and we developed a few tricks to make sure she got her meds.  I have listed some tips below the video.

  1. Try the med yourself.  I am not suggesting you take a full dose, but I dipped my finger in each of her meds to taste what she would be tasting so that we could try to disguise the taste better.  If it was going into her body, I wanted to know what it tasted like to help her.
  2. Give the worst tasting med first and save their favorite for last.  In Luca's case, she loves her vitamin, so we save that for last.
  3. Have a drink ready for afterwards.
  4. Put the medicine in a syringe.  It allows you to control how quickly they take it, what part of the mouth  it goes to.  It also means less spilling.
  5. Ask the pharmacy to add a flavor to the medicine, or to change the flavor of it.
  6. Do not mix the medicine with a favorite food.  I know some people do this and it works, but if the medicine is so foul that they still can taste it, you might ruin the favorite food for them.
  7. Add a couple drops of strawberry or chocolate syrup. to the medicine to help the bitterness.
  8. If you are giving only one medication, have a small treat for your child for after they take it.  I am not talking about a bowl of ice cream but rather a bite of something special that they do like.
  9. Try mixing the medicine with a tiny bit of yogurt.  (I normally pull an ml or two into the syringe then pull the medicine into the same syringe - it means that they get a little taste of yogurt last.)
  10. Make a game out of it.  For the longest time, she hated one of her medications.  So we made a game of run and catch.  She would run away and we would bring the medicine with us as we chased her and laughed with her to "get back here."  After a few runs of this little game in a session, we would sneak the medicine in quickly, and barely stop the game so that she had a fun thing immediately before and after the yucky stuff.
  11. For super young babies, you can take the nipple of the bottle and put the syringe through the hole to administer the medicine.  You could also create a small hole at the tip of a pacifier to administer it.
  12. If nothing works and you end up needing to hold your child to give it to them forcefully, stay calm, explain what you need to do, and put the syringe in to push the medicine towards the back molars or gums.  There are less taste buds, and the automatic response is typically to swallow the medicine if it is placed that far back.
*NOTE - always check with your pharmacy about mixing the medication with something else as it sometimes makes it less effective.  

Hope this helps, and if anyone else has anything to add, please do!

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