For children as young as 2 years old, interventions such as behavioral therapy, flavored throat spray, a specialized pill cup, simple verbal instructions, and head-posture training were successful in improving pill swallowing abilities for more than half of the study population, according to the results of a data review published in Pediatrics.

Amee Patel, M.P.H. , and her associates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examined data from 211 articles identified in a PubMed search published between December 1986 and December 2013. Four cohort studies and one case series met the criteria for inclusion. Each of the studies concluded that pill acceptance rates were improved shortly after their intervention, with three studies reporting pill acceptance continuing for 3-6 months after the intervention.

“A major reason for the success of all the interventions is that every study recognized and specifically addressed problems with pill swallowing. As a result, there was a conscious effort to help children with their difficulties in swallowing pills,” the investigators wrote.

Read the entire article here: Pediatrics 2015 ( doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2114 )