Compounding

Compounding is the Art & Science of Creating Personal Medications

These medications are made from scratch – individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient and ordered by their physician.Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing a personalized medicine for a specific patients needs. Compounding combines the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art technology, allowing specially trained professionals to customize your prescription. These medications are “made from scratch” – individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient and ordered by their physician. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to prepare a medication to meet their unique health issues.

A Brief History of Compounding

At one time, nearly all prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950s and ‘60s, compounding rapidly declined. The pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms, and most pharmacists no longer were trained to compound medications. However, the “one-size-fits-all” nature of many mass-produced medications meant that some patients’ needs were not being met.

Innovative Compounding Technology & Techniques Meet Patient Needs

Fortunately, compounding has experienced a resurgence as healthcare professionals and patients have realized that the limited number of dosage forms and strengths of commercially available products does not sufficiently meet the unique needs of every patient. Modern technology and innovation have provided a number of methods to prepare customized medications  and improve patient outcomes and compliance.

Pharmacy compounding is a long-established tradition that offers customized care to meet the specific needs of individual patients.

Have you ever wished your child’s medicine tasted better, so they would accept it without a fuss? Or struggled to cut a prescription tablet in half because the pill wasn’t manufactured in the strength you required? Perhaps an ill loved one could have benefited from having multiple medications combined into a single dose. Compounding pharmacists provide solutions to all these problems, and more.

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.

With a physician’s consent, 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 flavored 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. 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 flavoring agent, such as bubblegum, grape, or vanilla butternut, 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!

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 prescriptions 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. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that 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.

Will my insurance cover compounded medications?

Some insurance plans allow the patient to be reimbursed by sending in claim forms. While you may be paying a pharmacy directly for a compounded prescription, many insurance plans may cover the final cost.

Is compounding expensive?

Compounding may or may not cost more than conventional medication. Its 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.

Compounding applications can include:

  • Compounded prescriptions are ideal for any paitent requiring unique dosages and/or delivery devices.Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Hospice
  • Pediatrics
  • Pain management
  • Dentistry
  • Otic (for the ear)
  • Dermatology
  • Medication flavoring
  • Neuropathy
  • Veterinary
  • Sports medicine
  • Infertility
  • Wound therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Gastroenterology
  • And many more!

Does my prescriber know about compounding?

Prescription compounding is a rapidly growing component of many physicians’ practices, but some may not realize the extent of compounding’s resurgence in recent years due to today’s climate of aggressive marketing by drug manufacturers. Ask your healthcare practitioner about compounding, or get in touch with a compounding pharmacy – one that is committed to providing high-quality compounded medications in the dosage form and strength prescribed by the practitioner. Through the triad relationship of patient, prescriber, and pharmacist, all three can work together to solve unique medical problems.

PCCA: Professional Compounding Centers of America: Compound with Confidence ®