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Drug Discov Today. 2016 Jul;21(7):1170-80. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2016.05.014. Epub 2016 May 27.

Non-human tools for the evaluation of bitter taste in the design and development of medicines: a systematic review.

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UCL School of Pharmacy, 29/39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK. Electronic address:
UCL School of Pharmacy, 29/39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Third Ave, Harlow CM19 5AW, UK.


Taste evaluation is a crucial factor for determining acceptance of medicines by patients. The human taste panel test is the main method used to establish the overall palatability and acceptability of a drug product to a patient towards the end of development. Non-human in vitro and in vivo taste-evaluation tools are very useful for pre-formulation, quality control and screening of formulations. These non-human taste assessment tools can be used to evaluate all aspects of taste quality. The focus of this review is bitterness because it is a key aspect of taste in association with the development of medicines. In this review, recent in vitro (analytical) and in vivo (non-human) tools are described for the assessment of the bitter taste of medicines. Their correlations with human taste data are critically discussed. The potential for their use in early screening of the taste of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to expedite paediatric formulation development is also considered.

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