Pharmacy compounding is a long-established tradition that offers customised care to meet the specific needs of individual patients.
What is compounding?
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customised medications for patients. Its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy, although compounding’s presence in the pharmacy profession has changed over the years. In the 1930s and 1940s, the majority of prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950s and ‘60s, compounding declined as the pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms. However, this “one-size-fits-all” approach to medication meant that some patients’ needs were not being met.
Within the last few decades, however, compounding has experienced a renaissance as modern technology and innovative techniques and research have allowed more pharmacists to customise medications to meet a patient’s unique needs.
How does compounding benefit me?
There are several reasons why prescribers and pharmacists provide compounded medications for patients. The primary reason for compounding is to avoid patient non-compliance, which means the patient is either unable or unwilling to use the medication as directed. Many patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes, or require a dosage that is different from the standard drug strengths.
Under the direction of the patient’s doctor, a compounding pharmacist can:
* Adjust the strength of a medication
* Avoid unwanted ingredients, such as dyes, preservative, lactose, gluten, or sugar.
* Add flavor to make the medication more palatable
* Prepare medications using unique delivery systems. For patients who find it difficult to swallow a capsule, a compounding pharmacist may prepare the drug as a flavoured liquid suspension instead. Other medication forms include topical gels or creams that can be absorbed through the skin, suppositories, sublingual troches, or even lollipops.
Can my child – or my elderly parent – take compounded medication?
Yes! Children and the elderly are often the types of patients who benefit most from compounding – in fact paediatric compounding is one of our specialties! It is common for parents to have a tough time getting their children to take medicine because of the taste. A compounding pharmacist can work directly with the physician and the patient to select a flavouring agent, such as bubblegum, grape, tutti frutti, or choc-mint, which provides both an appropriate match for the medication’s properties and the patient’s taste preferences. Just think – no more wasting medicine when a cranky patient spits it out! (This applies to veterinary patients too!)
Compounding pharmacists also can help patients who experience chronic pain. For example, some arthritic patients cannot take certain medications due to gastrointestinal side effects. With a healthcare practitioner’s prescription, a compounding pharmacist may be able to provide these patients’ anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications with topical preparations that can be absorbed through the skin. Compounded pain management prescriptions are frequently used to ease pain, nausea, and other symptoms for hospice patients as well.
Is compounding legal? Is it safe?
Compounding has been part of healthcare since the origins of pharmacy, and is widely used today in all areas of the industry, from hospitals to nuclear medicine. Over the last few decades, the resurgence of compounding has benefited largely from advances in technology, quality control and research methodology. Compounded prescriptions are both ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and compounded by a licensed pharmacy. In addition, compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy.
Is compounding expensive?
Compounding may or may not cost more than conventional medication. The cost depends on factors such as the type of ingredients and equipment required, plus the time the pharmacist spends researching and preparing the medication. Fortunately, compounding pharmacists have access to pure-grade quality chemicals which dramatically lower overall costs and allow them to be very competitive with commercially manufactured products.
What kinds of prescriptions can be compounded?
Almost any kind! Compounded prescriptions are ideal for any patient requiring unique dosages and/or delivery devices.
Some common medications and therapies that we can customise include:
- bioidentical hormone replacement
- hormone restoration therapy
- hormone balancing medication
- natural hormone therapy treatments
- natural thyroid replacements
- thyroid extract
- melatonin liquid
- melatonin capsules
- adrenal burnout treatments
- medication for animals
- chronic fatigue treatments
- sports medicine
- anti-ageing treatments
Compounding applications can include:
Compounding is suitable for many applications, but just some of our compounding specialities include:
* Otic (for the ear)
* Wound therapy
* And many more!