A customized medication prepared by a pharmacist according to a doctor’s specifications to meet an individual patient’s need. Pharmacists make medications from scratch using raw materials, powders and devices. A compounding pharmacist may be able to provide solutions for challenges that healthcare providers face. Working closely with the patient and the prescriber, compounding gives the pharmacist the means to customize medications to meet the individual needs of each patient.
The History and Future of Compounding
Personalized pharmaceutical care is at the heart of compounding pharmacy. Pharmacy practice began with compounding – before commercially manufactured products, compounding drug preparations was the main practice of pharmacy. Up until the 1920s, about 80% of all prescriptions were compounded. By the 1970’s, compounded prescriptions dropped to less than 1% of all prescriptions. Today, Compounding pharmacy is making a comeback in the United States AND between 30 and 40 million prescriptions are compounded each year. More doctors are opting to treat their patients using compounded medications, and with the technical advancements in compounding equipment, more compounders are able to meet the growing needs of doctors.
Reasons You May Need a Custom Compound
1) The medication you need has been discontinued. Sometimes a large pharmaceutical manufacturer discontinues a medication. Often this happens because not enough patients are taking the drug, so it is unprofitable to keep mass-producing it. But what about the patients who still need that drug? Hundreds or even thousands of patients still may need that medication. A compounding pharmacist can re-create that medication by compounding it, so even if only one person in the world still needs that medication, they can have it thanks to compounding!
2) You need a medication that is free of a preservative, dye or binder. We are able to compound medications without the excipients and preservatives found in most commercial preparations. Suitable replacements free of lactose, preservatives, dyes, gluten and sugar are easily formulated. Compounding Pharmacists Make Medication Allergy-Friendly! A compounding pharmacist can create a personalized medication, formulated to give the patient the treatment they need while leaving out the problematic ingredient.
3) You require a tailored dosage strength of a medication. An example of this would be customized bioidentical hormones based on individual laboratory results.
4) You need a medication in a different form. A tablet or capsule may need to be converted into a liquid, suppository, cream, or gel form. The exact dosage, or the ideal dosage a patient needs, may not be commercially available. Compounding can provide any dosage form the patient needs. For instance, patients who have difficulty swallowing a pill may find it easier to take their medication in a pleasantly flavored liquid form. Some medications can be compounded in a topical form such as a cream or a gel that allows the medicine to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.
5) If you need to add or change a flavor in a medication so that you or a loved one will be compliant and take the medication. Some medications have a very unpleasant flavor, which makes the patient less likely to take it as directed. A compounding pharmacist can flavor many medications to make it more palatable without compromising the medication’s effectiveness. This is especially handy when dealing with medications for patients who may refuse medication, such as young children, elderly patients, or even pets!
6) You need a therapy that cannot be addressed with the current medications offered. Many formulations will never be commercially developed due to difficulty in obtaining patents and lack of market demand. Compounding allows for medical treatments that otherwise may not be possible.