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What is compounding?

Changes happen everywhere in every field. In the medical field, that can mean the drugs and/or treatment you are receiving. However, one method of preparing the kind of treatment you’ll need is done right in the pharmacy and has been around since the beginning of the practice of pharmacy. So what is this method called? Pharmacy compounding. It is the practice of preparing customized medications for patients. It seems everywhere all over the world, ancient pharmacy has included this as part of its practice. While starting in the 1950s compounding almost disappeared completely due to the invention of drug manufacturing, pharmacy compounding has come back strong within the last two decades.

For a while the pharmacist’s role changed to that of distributing manufactured drugs. But with the latest technology, pharmacists are able to customize medications again to meet the very specific needs of the customers. Many patients require special needs that cannot necessarily be met by commercial drug manufacturing. Some patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes or maybe some are sensitive to certain drug strengths. It all depends on what is needed. Once receiving the special instructions, pharmacists can then compound the prescription to meet the special needs. They can change the strength, change the form of the drug so it is easier to digest or even add flavor if necessary. In addition, pharmacists can prepare the drugs using different kinds of delivery systems that can include sublingual, rapid dissolve, or transdermal creams.

At this point you might be wondering which kinds of prescriptions can be compounded. The good news is almost any kind of prescription can be, just as long as it is not under patent by any major pharmaceutical company already. Many patients who need unique dosages or delivery devices that can be in the form of solutions, suppositories, sprays, rinses or lollipops, these ways of compounding can save lives. Applications that are often compounded are hormone replacement, veterinary, hospice, pediatric, ophthalmic, dental and dermatology, chronic pain management, sports medicine, infertility, wound therapy, and many more. The good news is almost every kind of insurance plan covers compounded medication. You may be wondering how much it actually costs and if it’ll be more expensive. Turns out compounding may or may not cost more than regular medications. Finally, this compounding process is very legal. It has been a part of the pharmacy since the very beginning and is regulated by the state boards of pharmacy.

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