Consult with your doctor.
Explore the art of compounding today.
Pharmacy compounding is an age-old practice that merges art and science, and results in the preparation of customized medications that are specific to patient needs. Its history can be traced back to the origins of pharmacy. In the 1930s and 1940s, the majority of prescriptions administered were, indeed, compounded, which meant they were tailored to a patient’s very specific needs. With the onset of mass drug manufacturing during the 1950s and 1960s, the practice of compounding started to decline. Pharmacists were now dispensing mass manufactured dosage forms of medication. However, this “one-size-fits-all” approach did not meet all patients’ needs.
As modern technology, innovative techniques and research have made many advances within the last few decades, the practice of compounding has experienced a rebirth. As a result, more pharmacists are now customizing medications to meet the very unique set of needs that vary from patient to patient.
There are several key reasons why prescribers and pharmacists provide compounded medications. The primary reason is to avoid patient non-compliance, which means that patients are 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
- Omit unwanted ingredients, such as lactose, gluten, sugar, dyes or preservatives
- Add flavor to make the medication more palatable
Prepare medications using unique delivery systems. For example, for patients who find it difficult to swallow a capsule, a compounding pharmacist can specially prepare the drug as a flavored liquid suspension. Other medication forms include topical gels or creams that can be absorbed through the skin, as well as suppositories, sublingual troches or even lollipops.
Ask your prescriber or health care provider about customized medicine options and how they can work for you. Once you’re familiar with the topic, contact a compounding pharmacy. Together, they can work to develop a custom solution that is tailored to your specific needs and preferences.