Pharmacy compounding is the art
and science of preparing
customised medications for
patients. Its practice dates back to
the origins of pharmacy; yet,
throughout the pharmacy
profession has changed over the
years. In the 1930s & 1940s,
approximately 60 percent of all
medications were compounded.
With the advent of 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. Within the last two
decades, though, compounding has
experienced a resurgence, as
modern technology and innovative
techniques and research have
allowed more pharmacists to
customise medications to meet
specific patient needs. Today, an
estimated one percent of all
prescriptions are compounded daily
by pharmacists working closely with
doctors and their patients.
Q 2. How does compounding benefit me?
There are several reasons why
pharmacists compound prescription
medications. The most important
one is what the medical community
calls "patient non-compliance."
Many patients are allergic to
preservatives or dyes, or are
sensitive to standard drug
strengths. With a doctor's
consent, a compounding
pharmacist can change the strength
of a medication, alter its form to
make it easier for the patient to
ingest, or add flavour to it to make it
The pharmacist also can prepare
the medication using several unique
delivery systems, such as a
sublingual troche or lozenge,
sprays, or a transdermal gel. Or, for
those patients who are having a
difficult time swallowing a capsule,
a compounding pharmacist can
make a suspension instead.
Q 3. 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.
Often, parents have a tough time
getting their children to take medicine
because of the taste. A compounding
pharmacist can work directly with the
doctor and the patient to select a
flavouring agent, such as vanilla,
strawberry or chocolate, that
provides both an appropriate match
for the medication's properties and
the patient's taste preferences.
Compounding pharmacists also have
helped patients who are experiencing
chronic pain. For example, some
arthritic patients cannot take certain
medications due to gastrointestinal
side effects. Working with their
doctor, a compounding pharmacist
can provide them with a
topical preparation of the
anti-inflammatory or analgesic their
doctor has prescribed for them.
Compounded prescriptions often are
used for pain management in
Q 4. What kinds of prescriptions can be compounded?
Almost any kind. Compounded
prescriptions are ideal for any patient
requiring unique dosages and/or
delivery devices, which can take the
form of solutions, suppositories,
sprays, oral rinses, lozenges and
even as transdermal sticks.
Compounding applications can
include: Bio-identical Hormone
Replacement Therapy, Veterinary,
Hospice, Pediatric, Ophthalmic,
Dental, Otic, Dermatology,
Medication Flavoring, Chronic Pain
Management, Neuropathies, Sports
Medicine, Infertility, Wound Therapy,
Podiatry and Gastroenterology.
Q 5. Is compounding legal? Is it safe?
Compounding has been part of
healthcare since the origins of
pharmacy, and is used widely today
in all areas of the industry, from
hospitals to nuclear medicine. Over
the last decade, compounding's
resurgence has largely benefited
from advances in technology,
quality control and research
methodology. The Food and Drug
Administration in the USA 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 here in
Q 6.Does my doctor know about compounding?
Prescription compounding is a
rapidly growing component of many
doctors' practices. But in today's
world of aggressive marketing by
drug manufacturers, some may not
realise the extent of compounding's
resurgence in recent years. Ask
your doctor about compounding,
then get in touch with a
compounding pharmacy - one that
is committed to providing highquality
compounded medications in
the dosage form and strength
prescribed by the doctor. Through
the close relationship of patient,
doctor and pharmacist, all three can
work together to solve unique
Q 7. Is compounding affordable?
Compounding may or may not cost
more than a conventional
medication. Its cost depends on the
type of dosage form and equipment
required, plus the time spent
researching and preparing the
compounding pharmacists have
access to pharmaceutical-grade
quality materials which dramatically
lower overall costs
and allow them to be very
competitive with commercially
Q 8. Is custom compounding right for you?
Ask your doctor or pharmacist today about the benefits
of personalised prescription compounding.
HEALTH DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this site. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgement available to the authors, but readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume any risk attached. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.