Flavoring is a Science … and an Art by Pharmacist Hootan Melamed

To work with flavors one needs to have good knowledge about human sensory organs with regard to aroma and taste. Working with artificial flavors can be a challenging task as all of them have recommended quantity for use in different application and if the amount is exceeded it can change the taste of medication and make it worse instead of making it more edible. Flavors which are derived out of oil are more concentrated and if used in quantity larger than prescribed then it can lead to wrong flavor and taste which can disturb the sensitive patients for whom these are meant.

Dosage of different flavors for medication

Anhydrous flavors are known to affect tongue’s sensitivity if they are used in excess of prescribed quantity and lead to burning sensation. In general artificial concentrated flavors can make a medical formula taste bitter if used in high concentration whether it is in liquid form or powder form. As flavors in different concoctions affect people in different ways as some people prefer tangy taste which may be bitter for another patient. Large drug manufacturers are constrained by their formulations and patents to make drugs in specific concentrations without considering preferences of different needs of patients which may be using their medicines. This is where a compounding pharmacist like Dr. Hooten  Melamed can help in making a particular medicine or formulation more palatable for a patient by flavoring it with sweetening agents of varied types.

Types of compounding medicines

Compounding medications using different flavors are manufactured depending on the type of patient and medical condition it has to treat. A wide number of artificial flavors which are used for human afflictions in powder form can also be given to animals. These formulations have to be  dissolved in water or oil ans can be used for a long period of time if required. Multiple flavors are used to develop formulations that deliver an exotic flavor for use by children which masks their bitter taste. While chocolate, marshmallow and vanilla extracts are the most common ones for masking medications that taste bitter, oil flavors are used for aqueous preparations as they have neutral pH.

Commonly used sweetening agents in medications

Like his colleagues in the compounding pharma world, Dr. Hootan Melamed also uses PCAA approved flavoring agents with sweetening agents to make it palatable to children and aged patients. The most commonly used sweetening agents are Steviol Glycosides, Acesulfame Potassium FCC, Saccharin Sodium USP Dihydrate, Magnasweet and PCCA Bitter Stop with different concentrations depending upon bitterness of medical formulation. These flavoring agents have to be used in the right combinations when making powders or liquids for patients to retain the potency of medicine and maintain their special dietary requirements.

All these restrictions about toxicity, tastes, dietary requirements and such make a compounding pharmacist’s job a mix of art and science as they combine knowledge of chemical formulations with art of understanding tastes to make medications that can be used f

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