A novel, palatable paediatric oral formulation of midazolam: Pharmacokinetics, tolerability, efficacy and safety

S. Salman, E. K.Y. Tang, L. C. Cheung, M. N. Nguyen, D. Sommerfield, L. Slevin, L. Y. Lim, B. S. von Ungern Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Midazolam is one of many bitter drugs where provision of a suitable oral paediatric formulation, particularly in the pre-anaesthetic setting, remains a challenge. To overcome this problem, a novel chocolate-based tablet formulation has been developed with positive pre-clinical results. To further investigate the potential of this formulation, 150 children aged 3-16 years who were prescribed midazolam as a premedication were randomly assigned to receive 0.5 mg.kg-1 either as the novel formulation or an intravenous solution given orally, which is the current standard at our institution. Tolerability was assessed by each child, parent and nurse using a 5-point facial hedonic scale and efficacy was determined as the time to onset of sedation. Blood samples for midazolam and 1-hydroxymidazolam levels were analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Population pharmacokinetics were evaluated using non-linear mixed effects modelling. The novel formulation had significantly improved tolerability scores from children, parents and nurses (all p < 0.001). Time to effect was not different between the groups (p = 0.140). The pharmacokinetics of midazolam and 1-hydroxymidazolam were able to be modelled simultaneously. The novel formulation was subject to a higher estimated first-pass metabolism compared with the intravenous solution (8.6% vs. 5.0%) and a significantly lower relative bioavailability of 82.1% (p = 0.013), with no other significant differences. Exposure relative to dose was in the range previously reported for midazolam syrup. We conclude that the novel chocolate-based formulation of midazolam provides improved tolerability while remaining efficacious with suitable pharmacokinetics when used as a premedicant for children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1477
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Early online date9 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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