Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients. Compounded medications are “made from scratch” – individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to customize a medication to meet the patient’s specific needs.
Who needs a compound?
You may need a compound for several reasons. Most commonly, the medication strength or dosage form that your prescriber believes is best for you is not commercially available. However, there are also situations where patients are allergic to an ingredient (dye, preservative, lactose, or other filler), or the medication is discontinued or not yet commercially available. Sometimes we just make medications easier to take by flavoring them, changing oral to topical doses, or creating specialty animal treats. Compounded medications are rarely the first line of therapy, but often the most successful for treatment!
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.