Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Online ISSN : 1347-5215
Print ISSN : 0918-6158
ISSN-L : 0918-6158
A Pilot Study to Develop a New Method of Assisting Children in Taking Their Medication by Using Immersive Virtual Reality
Kazuyuki Niki Maki YasuiMaika IguchiTomomi IsonoHiroto KageyamaMikiko Ueda
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2021 Volume 44 Issue 2 Pages 279-282


Taking bitter-tasting drugs can be stressful for children who have underdeveloped swallowing skills and do not understand the meaning of medication. Furthermore, the senses of vision and smell are known to majorly influence taste. This pilot study was aimed at determining the effect of visual stimulation by immersive virtual reality (iVR) on taste and the safety of this approach for developing a new method to assist children with taking medication. Ten subjects participated in this study, and their mean (standard deviation (S.D.)) age was 21.8 (0.8) years. The subjects tasted the bitter aqueous solution (quinine 0.00375%) while viewing two different VR images (strawberry sponge cake and orange juice) alternately and received sensory tests immediately after the tasting and again 30 s later. In addition, nausea was assessed 30 s after tasting for each VR image. The primary endpoint was the difference in sensory test scores immediately after the tasting and 30 s later, between the two images. There were no significant differences in the sensory test scores between the placebo and either strawberry sponge cake or orange juice immediately after tasting. However, 30 s after tasting, the scores changed significantly to a tendency to perceive sweetness from the strawberry sponge cake and orange juice images compared with the placebo. No subject experienced nausea. Therefore, the findings of this study suggest that displaying images of sweet foods by using iVR to stimulate visual perception could safely reduce the sense of bitterness.

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© 2021 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan
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