Administering medications to children poses unique challenges, especially in resource-limited countries with high infant and child mortality rates. Many drugs are solids or tablets, which are not easily swallowed by children and difficult to dose according to a child’s weight. While liquid and semi-solid alternatives exist for some drugs, many medications lack this option, or become unstable without a reliable cold supply chain. To address these issues, researchers from Brigham and Women’s HospitalLinks to an external site. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a new oil-based gel formulation. In a clinical study, the researchers showed that the low-cost “oleogels,” derived from materials already in use by the food industry, can be formulated to be given as fluid, as thickened beverages, and as stiff as yogurt puddings. Additionally, preclinical research demonstrated that oleogels can facilitate drug uptake at levels comparable to or better than solid tablets, while allowing for metered dosages suitable for children. Results are published in Science AdvancesLinks to an external site..
Dr. Ameya Kirtane is a pharmaceutical scientist trained in the areas of drug delivery, cancer therapy, infectious diseases and global health.He is currently an Instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.