The Transfer to Tablets! Part 1
Hello everyone, my name is Clair Willcocks, I am 27 years old and I am Galen Medical Nutrition’s new PKU blogger. I am an adult with PKU and I was diagnosed with Classical PKU 8 days after birth. I am on 5 exchanges of protein a day and currently taking the PKU EASY Microtabs substitute 6 times a day.
I discovered the PKU EASY Microtabs nearly a year ago, when I was at the annual NSPKU conference. Part of the fun of the conference is discovering all the new products that companies have created and that are now available to the PKU community, whether it’s their latest service, substitute or food. Unbelievably, I did accidently miss the Galen Medical Nutrition stand when I visited the stands the first time around but fortunately for me, my friend mentioned that there was a stand that finally had the substitute in microtablets form. Upon hearing this, out of pure excitement I practically ran over to Galen’s table, to finally try the tablet form of the substitute which, to be honest, I have really been desperate for.
I’ve been on substitute drinks for most of my life, from when I was a child where my parents would have to measure out scoops of amino acid powder, to all the different versions of the premixed amino acids drinks and then finally to GMP powder drinks. Out of all of them, I would say that the GMP drinks were definitely the best; they had a less acidic taste, a more natural flavour and the GMP drinks rarely had the lumps that had always come with the amino acid powder, but unfortunately it was still not ideal. It was still in powder form so had to be made with water, shaken and drank. It meant carrying around a drink shaker as well as carrying around a lot of water to both rinse out the shaker and to make the drink. For me as well, it always had the potential to make a lot of mess as I always seemed to spill the powder whenever I made it! I think from having a long history of drinkable substitutes, I was really beginning to struggle mentally to take them as well as physically. It seemed no matter how many different techniques I tried, I still really struggled to have all three drinks every day.
Having a lifetime of drinks, the substitute in a tablet form has always been something I’ve wished for. As I have never had any issues taking painkillers or antibiotics when needed and the idea of being able to take something that needs no preparation and basically has no flavour sounds heavenly to me but the only tablets that had been on the market just didn’t work for me. They were huge, tasted disgusting and you had to take around 20-30 tablets in place of each drink. So, when I was finally able to try the PKU EASY Microtabs at the NSPKU conference and I found that they were both tiny and didn’t really taste of anything, I was SO excited.
I remember as soon as I got home, I immediately contacted my dietician requesting a sample with a whole load of questions about how the transfer from drinks to tablets would work. She came back quickly saying she would be able to organise a one-off prescription of the microtabs for me to trial, she also explained that two capfuls of microtabs is the same as one GMP drink and that if I wanted to transfer to them fully I would have to have six capfuls a day. The six capfuls seemed really daunting to me at first, but I really wanted to give them the best chance. The dietician recommended trialling four capfuls and one GMP drink a day for a few days to see how I liked it.
The trial went really well, although due to how many microtabs there were and how small they were, the first few attempts at taking them were a bit of a mess of water and tablets flying everywhere! I tried splitting the cap into two by pouring it into my hand, keeping the tabs in the cap but doing tabs first then water, then water first then tabs, I tried it with juice and squash but once I did finally get the technique down, (keep the microtabs in the cap, drink enough water to fill your mouth halfway full but not too full and then just pour the cap in your mouth in fast, smooth motion as if you were taking shot!) they were just a joy to take. They needed no preparation, had barely any flavour and energy wise, kept me going throughout the day. From looking back at my emails, I can see it only took three days from receiving my trial packs, to emailing my dietitian asking them if I could have the microtabs on a permanent basis. However, you may be surprised to hear that the trial period wasn’t the most interesting part for me, for me it was the transition from going from the drinks fully over to the PKU EASY Microtabs and the shocking thing I discovered about what effect my drink substitutes were having on me and what a big difference the microtabs would make!