How to give medicines: granules and powders

This page explains how to give granules and powders to children. Specific information on individual medicines is available on the Medicines Information pages.

Some medicines are available as granules or powders, which you give to your child by mouth (orally).

Some granules and powders should be taken with food or milk. Other granules and powders work best on an empty stomach. There are a few granules and powders that should not be taken with certain foods, juices or milk. This should be shown on the medicine label. Detailed information about what to do is given on pages for individual medicines.


Granules are designed to be taken with a small amount of food.

  • Open the sachet carefully.
  • Sprinkle or stir the granules into a small amount of soft food (e.g. yogurt) or a small drink.
  • Your child should then swallow the food or drink straight away, without chewing. Make sure that they take it all.
  • You can also mix the granules with a spoonful of cold water and give it to your child to drink straight away, without chewing. Do not mix the granules with warm food or liquid.
  • Your child must take the granules within 15 minutes of opening the sachet. If the sachet has been open for more than 15 minutes, throw the contents away and use a new sachet. Do not keep granules or a granule/food mixture to give later.


  • Powders are designed to be dissolved in water. Powders come in either sachets or envelopes (with pre-prepared amounts), or in a tub with a scoop to measure out the right amount. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much powder and how much liquid to use.
  • If you have a sachet or envelope, open it carefully and pour the contents into a small glass of water. Ideally your child should be able to swallow all the liquid in one or two gulps, although for some medicines the manufacturer recommends a larger amount of liquid. Check the label on the medicine; if you are not sure ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you have a tub of powder, measure out the right amount using the scoop and pour it into a small glass of water.
  • Stir well until all the powder has dissolved and the mixture is clear or slightly cloudy.
  • You can add fruit squash to the drink if your child does not like the taste. The medicine will still work properly.
  • Make sure your child drinks it all. If they cannot drink it all in one go, they can drink it over about 30 minutes. It may help to use a straw. If you need to use a small amount of liquid, you can use an oral syringe. You can get this from your pharmacist.
  • Do not keep the drink to give later.

You can read further information about individual medicines by searching (A-Z) on the Medicines Information pages on this website.