About Pharmaceutical Compounding
Pharmaceutical compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for an individual patient. Under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, compounded medications are made based on a doctor’s prescription, and ingredients are mixed together—compounded—in the precise strength, dose and format the patient requires.
This is the way medications were originally made, years ago. But as mass drug manufacturing grew in the mid-1900s, the demand for compounding diminished. The pharmacist’s role as someone who prepared medications evolved into that of a dispenser of manufactured drugs in fixed dosages and forms. Patients and doctors have realized, however, that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to medications. A patient’s gender, size/weight, allergies to certain ingredients, inability to swallow pills, etc., —there are times when mass-produced medications simply don’t fit everyone’s needs.
Enter pharmaceutical compounding.
While it’s not feasible for traditional drug companies to formulate medications in the myriad strengths and doses men, women, children, and pets of all sizes and species may need—a compounding pharmacist can personalize a prescription. This might mean a transdermal gel for someone whose GI tract can’t tolerate the oral form of the medication. Or a formulation that leaves out an inactive ingredient that a child is allergic to. Or a dosage strength that’s tailored to a patient’s weight. Or a flavored liquid for a pill-averse child or pet.
It’s important to know, however, that not all compounding pharmacies formulate a custom medication the same way. Unlike medications dispensed at a traditional retail pharmacy, compounded medications can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. And regulations pertaining to compounding pharmacies vary from state to state. That’s why it’s imperative to choose a compounding pharmacy that adheres to strict quality standards to ensure medications are precisely and consistently formulated every, single, time.