5 Important Things to Know About Your Kids’ Antibiotics

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Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Having a sick child can leave you, the parent, feeling helpless. After spending your morning in the doctor’s office the last thing you need to worry about is your child’s prescription. Here are 5 key things to know when your child is prescribed an antibiotic:

1.  Not all liquid medications have to taste bad

All liquid medications already have a predetermined flavor from the manufacturer ranging anywhere from fruity strawberry to bitter mint. However, there are flavorings out there that can mask those predetermined flavors if they do not sit well with your child’s taste buds.

Ask your pharmacy if they can flavor your child’s liquid antibiotic—most can do it for minimal to no cost.

The pharmacy can suggest the best flavor(s) for your individual medication, and their recommendation can be extremely important if you want to cover up the flavor from the manufacturer.

There are many flavors available, including most types of fruit and bubblegum. Check out FlavorRx for more information on flavoring various liquid medications for your child.

2.  Some medications are available in chewable form

Never hesitate to ask your pharmacist or doctor if your child’s medication is available in different forms. As healthcare providers, we understand that all children are different when it comes to what medications they can and cannot take.

Some children prefer liquids while others may not—that is where chewables come in handy! A variety of antibiotics, allergy meds, vitamins, and other medications are available in chewable form.

Chewables may be beneficial for your child if they do not like liquids but cannot swallow tablets or capsules just yet.

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3.  Not all liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated

The majority of liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated to keep them stable and palatable (tasting good). However, not all antibiotics require refrigeration and some actually need to be left at room temperature.

Some examples? Liquid Biaxin (clarithromycin), Cleocin (clindamycin), and Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) DO NOT need to be refrigerated. Omnicef (cefdinir), Zithromax (azithromycin), Ceftin (cefuroxime axetil), and Amoxil (amoxicillin) can actually be kept in the fridge OR left at room temperature.

Call the doctor or pharmacy if your child’s medication changes in color, taste, or smell.

4.  Free or discounted antibiotics are available at certain pharmacies

Several pharmacy chains may offer low-cost or free antibiotics (sometimes depending on the time of year). Low-cost antibiotics can range in price from around $4 to $10, usually depending on the quantity of the prescription.

Check with your local pharmacy to see if they have free or low-cost antibiotics, or if they price match competitors for your child’s antibiotic. You may pay less than your co-pay even if you have prescription insurance.

Amoxicillin, ampicillin, cephalexin, ciprofloxacin, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim are all commonly offered in this type of program.

5.  The low down on probiotics—do I need to give them to my child?

Antibiotics get rid of the bad bacteria along with some of the good bacteria. This means taking an antibiotic can sometimes cause diarrhea in your little one.

This antibiotic-induced diarrhea can be prevented by taking probiotics or eating yogurt that contains live cultures to replenish the good bacteria.

Some probiotics that your child can take while using an antibiotic to help prevent gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea include Culturelle, Florastor, and RAW Probiotics.

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