Age-appropriate drug delivery


Patient-centric product design has gained much attention in pharmaceutical development in recent years. Children and older adults differ in many aspects from the other age subsets of population and require particular considerations in pharmaceutical development. Age-appropriate formulation design and selection for paediatric and geriatric patients can have an impact on patient safety, therapeutic outcomes and adherence.

Whilst children and older adults share similarities in medication administration and formulation needs, distinct differences in relation to drug therapy are notable and separate considerations in formulation development and drug delivery should be given to the two populations. Palatability and ease of administration are the critical factors affecting acceptability of paediatric patients’ to a medicinal product. A risk-benefit based approach can be effective in the selection and design of appropriate paediatric formulations.

The older population is the largest consumer of medicines; however, they present a heterogeneous patient group with diverse health conditions, such as frailty, dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), co-morbidity and polypharmacy. It is a challenge to better understand the needs of the older patient group in medication management and drug administration. The development of bespoke formulations to meet their specific needs will improve the experience and outcome of medicinal treatment in this group and becomes a rising area in pharmaceutical research.

What the group does

The age-appropriate drug delivery group focuses on the understanding of the pharmaceutical needs of paediatric and geriatric patients and the development of novel formulations to meet these needs, such as:

  • The assessment of formulation factors affecting acceptability of medicines in paediatric and geriatric patients
  • Development of formulations that are flexible in dosing and easy to swallow, such as orally disintegrating films/tablets, multiparticulates, oral liquids and semi-solids
  • In vivo characterization of the physiological conditions in children and the elderly and in vitro modeling of these conditions