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Co-Phenylcaine Spray: can we improve the taste? A randomised, double-blind, crossover study

  • S Bailey (a1), B Panizza (a1) (a2), P Cabot (a3) and B Wallwork (a1)



Co-Phenylcaine Forte is a nasal spray routinely prescribed by otolaryngologists in Australia. The taste of Co-Phenylcaine Forte is typically described as unpleasant. This study sought to improve the overall patient experience associated with Co-Phenylcaine Forte by generating a Co-Phenylcaine Forte formulation, referred to as Co-Phenylcaine Zest, which contains an added vanilla flavour and masking agent.


Participants were randomised to receive two actuations of Co-Phenylcaine Forte in each nostril followed by two actuations of Co-Phenylcaine Zest, or vice versa. There was a 6–36-hour washout period between each treatment. After the administration of each spray, participants completed a questionnaire to rate various sensory attributes of each formulation on seven-point ordinal scales. Patients reported their overall formulation preference after receiving both treatments.


A total of 86 participants completed the trial. Seventy-four per cent of patients preferred Co-Phenylcaine Zest, 21 per cent preferred Co-Phenylcaine Forte and 5 per cent had no preference (p < 0.001). The satisfaction score associated with Co-Phenylcaine Zest was 1.22 points greater than with Co-Phenylcaine Forte (p < 0.001).


A novel formulation of Co-Phenylcaine Forte was created by adding a flavour and a masking agent; this formulation was preferred by most patients.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Stuart John Bailey, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Princess Alexandra Hospital, 199 Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Queensland 4104, Australia Fax: +61 731 762 427 E-mail:


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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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