Which is Better Syrup or Tablet?

People often want to know which is better syrup or tablet? In fact, it is a much-debating topic in a medical fraternity too. Various researchers have undertaken intensive research works on effectiveness and workability of syrup, tablets, capsules, and injections. They have different opinions. It is also true that the effectiveness of these different categories of medicines vary depending on various factors such as the purpose for which they are applied and age of the patients.

Why are Medicines Available in Different Forms?

Many medicines have both syrup and tablet forms like vitamin supplements, medicines for common cold and cough, and various medicines used in influenza. Depending on the characteristics of the components used to formulate the medicines, different forms of medicines are made available in the market. The manufacturers have also kept in mind the age and physical conditions of the patients. So, when a 2 year old baby is prescribed medicines for influenza or digestive issues, they need liquid medicines whereas a 20 year old young man with the same problem can use tablets easily. This is not the sole reason for different forms of medicines. Some other reasons are as follows:

  • Some medicines require quick absorption so that it can work immediately; these medicines are mostly available in syrup forms.
  • Medicines that are meant for the digestive system is made available in the market in both syrup and tablet forms.
  • There are medicines which need to work in some remote organs like heart or brain cannot be made effective if used in syrup forms because most parts of the constituents are lost before they reach the targeted organ.
  • Some medicines need thick coating outside to suppress the bitter tastes of the constituents.
  • Some medicines are made with specific constituents that are not available in either solid or liquid forms; hence, they are formulated accordingly.

These are the main reasons why medicines are available in different forms. This discussion also explains why patients need to take syrups and tablets in different conditions.

Which is Better Syrup or Tablet?

Syrup or Tablet: Which One is Better?

There are some medicines which are available in both syrup and tablet forms. Let’s have some comparisons to understand which is more suitable for the human body:

  • Liquid constituents are more easily absorbed in the body than tablets. This means medicinal properties of a medicine become more prominent in the syrup than in the tablets.
  • The human body cannot accept the solid form of a medicine; it needs to be transferred into liquid form before getting absorbed. Hence, even if a medicine is taken in the tablet form, it is at first liquefied and then used by the body.
  • It is found that more than 90% of syrup is extracted and used by the human body whereas maximum 50% of a tablet is actually utilized by the human body and remaining is wasted.
  • A syrup starts working within 5-6 minutes, it is extracted really fast whereas a tablet takes nearly half an hour before it actually starts working in the body.
  • Anyone, even a kid, can take syrup easily whereas millions of people around the world feel nervous in the names of the tablets.
  • However, there are two major aspects when tablets are more useful and indispensable than syrups:
  • In many diseases, sustained release of medicine is important for the long-term effect of its constituents. Tablets are often used in these diseases for sustained release. This is not possible in case of syrup as it gets absorbed very quickly.
  • Tablets provide accurate doses which are not possible in syrups.
  • Tablets are easy to handle like carrying in a bag; syrups require special attention while carrying.
  • Properties of constituents remain intact for a long time in case of tablets; while in syrup, the effectivity of the constituents weakens faster than tablets.


Both syrups and tablets have their respective utilities. However, syrups are more effective than tablets just because it assimilates in the body quickly and starts working immediately. However, in certain physical conditions, the use of tablets or capsules is necessary.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 30, 2019

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