Cleocin: Orange flavored dog turd

Greg had strep for the fourth time in two months and we were weary. We’d gone from the bubble gum amoxicillin to some antibiotic with twice as many l’s and i’s. None of them could kick the strep. We were weary.

The day after Greg’s birthday party, he had the now familiar red throat, belly ache and splotchy face. (Oh, that reminds me. If your kid was at Greg’s birthday party, you might want to be on the look out for strep symptoms.) We took him back to the doctors and they prescribed Cleocin.

I’m 40 years old and as a kid the only good tasting medicine we had was the orangey tasting baby aspirin. Cough syrup had a mild cherry flavor with an undesirable, bitter after taste. I think most cillins came in a needle back then. Kids these days have it easy on the taste buds. All of Greg’s medicines taste good. Orange flavored Motrin. Grape flavored Tylenol. I think I saw a crème brûlée bottle of aspirin in the back of the medicine cabinet.

But not Cleocin. Cleocin tastes like poop. Really. I’m being completely honest when I say it smells like a two week old cat box. It’s got an acidic taste that burns the tongue and leaves an awful taste in your mouth almost as bad as the 06' & '07 Ohio State National Championship losses. Almost.

The pharmacist tried to help by flavoring it. I’m not sure if you’ve ever eaten a dog turd, but I can guess that sprinkling orange flavoring on it does not really change the taste. She said it was nasty stuff and she was right.

That first night, Greg was in for a big surprise. Normally, kids’ medicines are dosed at 3/4 tsp or maybe 1 tsp once or twice a day. The Cleocin was two teaspoons every six hours. We loaded up a plastic dosing syringe and called for the boy. “Yummy! Medicine!” Sucker. I got it all in and he swallowed it before the tongue could talk to the brain. He looked up at me with a face of betrayal. “That was yucky.”

At the next dosage, he knew what was up and would not take the medicine. I will leave out the heart wrenching details of restraining him and forcing this medicinal vitriol down his throat.

The pharmacist suggested we mix the medicine in with other foods to mask the taste. Here is the list of recipes we tried along with the (taste factor) and outcomes:

Straight medicine

Mixed with chocolate syrup
syrup acted like napalm sticking to mouth, extending the contact time with tongue

Mixed into chocolate milk
(still wretched)
bitter taste and could not drink the whole thing

Popsicle, chocolate square, then medicine
(cold chocolate turd taste)
popsicle was to numb mouth, chocolate to coat mouth and shield tongue from taste – failed

Mixed with chocolate pudding
he took one taste and knew the medicine was in there

Mixed with chocolate frosting
sticky frosting stayed in mouth, exponential wretchedness

My sister Amy's husband Joe called to give us some medical advice. He mentioned that there are Compound Pharmacists who will mix the medicine with other stuff to make yucky medicine palatable. For instance taking medicine and turning it into a lollipop. That gave me an idea.

I took two orange pez candies and crushed them, mixed in ½ tsp Orange Flavored Motrin, and a teaspoon of sugar substitute with the medicine. Mix well. It turned a pale orange so you know it had to taste good! Suck up in syringe. I had Greg chew up two pez and then with a lot of coaching and tears, gave him the medicine. IT WORKED!

We refined the recipe. It’s now four Smarties (they crush easy), 1/4 tsp of dry Tang power and the medicine with a few drops of water. Ta da! Take two Smarties, hit the syringe and chase it with a few other Smarties.

I think most of it is mental. You don’t want to tell your kid you are sneaking them medicine, but once they figure it out, they remember and make everything else that much harder. When you are up front and do tell them it is medicine, they fight you.

In the end, I think it was the orange color from the Pez and the Motrin that made him try the final concoction. Sucker!


Nutmeg said...

THANK YOU so much for this post. My 3 year old daughter was in the ICU for a few days last week due to an abscess in her sinus cavity in the back of her head.

We were prescribed Cleocin and I cannot believe how bad it smells. The mere thought of it makes me feel nauseous. Forcing this down my child is a hair better than going back to the hospital and getting it by IV.

I just returned from the pharmacy where I asked them to add a better flavor to the medicine (and paid for it. Heck I would give an arm to make it better). No change at all.

I figured I can't be the only one and found your post. I actually bought Smarties while waiting for them to get the Rx ready, for the first time in about 10 years, I have no idea why. But I'm going to use your recipe. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

One wonders how you know what a doggy dropping tastes like. It's kinda like when George Carlin talked about the phrase: sh*t eating grin. What was the originator of that phrase doing or thinking? And you my friend?

HolyJuan said...

OK Jack... Let's just say that maybe I was eating a Mounds bar and MAYBE I dropped it and MAYBE it landed near a dog turd and MAYBE I didn't have my glasses on and MAYBE I now know that dog turd is not tasty.

Joyce said...

So funny to know that I am not alone. We just got home with a prescription for this crap and I immediately posted on FB that it smelled like cat pee. My child was a trooper choked down the first dose, I know the next 10 days are going to be a challenge!

Thanks for the tips!