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Liquid Vitamins Vs. Pills

By Helen Nnama ; Updated April 18, 2017

Different formulations and delivery options among medications optimize the quality of drug administration in different patients. However, according to a study published in the April 2010 issue of “The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacology,” different medical conditions result in different drug-alteration and alternative-medication-swapping issues. Physician awareness and better patient education serve as the best steps in avoiding mistakes in dosage and drug alterations that result in avoidable complications and poor medical outcomes.


According to a study published in the August 2000 issue of “The Journal of Family Practice,” liquid vitamins serve as the main mode of vitamin administration in children. However, this type of preparation can also be of value in patients suffering from difficulty in swallowing and also among the elderly. On the other hand, pill vitamins may serve as the main form in the typical adult population where the absence of bitter taste and taking specific doses are factors.


Vitamins come in different forms. In children, the most commonly used vitamin preparation is the liquid form. Liquid vitamins may be in the solution form or the suspension form. Solutions are usually premixed, making the ratio of water and the main ingredient concentration the same. Solutions can be subclassified into elixirs, which are sweet tasting with an alcohol and water base, and syrups, a mixture of active drug, water, sugar and flavorings. Suspensions, on the other hand, are liquid drug preparations that contain tiny pieces of the drug placed in liquid. Pills are solid, fixed-dose forms. The most common vitamin pill preparation is the tablet form. Tablets may be subclassified into scored tablets, enteric-coated tablets and slow-release tablets. Other vitamin pill preparations may be in caplet form, the elongated tablets and the dispersible tablets, a kind of drug preparation that can dissolve to liquid form for easier administration. Another common vitamin pill preparation is the capsule, drug in powdered form inside two soft or hard gelatin shells.


Different vitamin preparations have different benefits. In children, adding sweetener and flavor to liquid vitamins to improve flavor and smell of the drug mix ensures that the child is more likely to take the drug, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. In the adult population, liquid vitamins can be of use in patients suffering from problems with swallowing, according to the January 2011 issue of the “Journal of the Association of Physicians of India.” Liquid vitamins can also serve as the best form among the elderly in which swallowing of more solid drug preparations can make taking the drug more difficult. On the other hand, UNICEF indicates that pills weigh less, which can make handling and transportation easier and more economical. Furthermore, solid dosage forms, such as capsules and tablets, can provide a method of taking a fixed dose of the drug, without the bitter taste.

Complications and Warnings

Liquid vitamin preparations must always be administered using a calibrated liquid dosing device, according to the study published by “The Journal of Family Practice.” Using a kitchen teaspoon can result in possibly taking the wrong dose. Checking the dosage in the prescription is always necessary since, in most cases, the dosage in teaspoons is often mistakenly interchanged with the dosage in tablespoons. Solid dosage forms must also be used with extra caution in patients with problems affecting swallowing, since this may cause discomfort, pain and even possible aspiration, according to the study in the “Journal of the Association of Physicians of India.”

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