Compounding combines an ageless art with the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art technology, allowing specially trained professionals to prepare customized medications to meet each patient’s specific needs. Compounding is fundamental to the profession of pharmacy and was a standard means of providing prescription medications before drugs began to be produced in mass quantities by pharmaceutical manufacturers. The demand for professional compounding has increased as healthcare professionals and patients realize that the limited number of strengths and dosage forms that are commercially available do not meet the needs of many patients, and that these patients often have a better response to a customized dosage form that is “just what the doctor ordered”.
During research and development
Pharmaceutical compounding is a branch of pharmacy that continues to play the crucial role of drug development. Compounding pharmacists and medicinal chemists develop and test pharmaceutical formulations for new drugs so that the active ingredients are effective, stable, easy to use, and acceptable to patients. However, for actual clinical trials, production of drug products is generally considered “manufacturing” because “compounding” is typically defined as being for a single individual patient only.
Patients with unique or unusual medication needs
Physicians may prescribe an individually compounded medication for a patient with an unusual health need. This allows the physician to tailor a prescription to each individual. Compounding preparations are especially prevalent for:
- Patients requiring limited dosage strengths, such as a very small dose for infants
- Patients requiring a different formulation, such as turning a pill into a liquid or transdermal gel for people who can’t swallow pills due to disability
- Patients requiring an allergen-free medication, such as one without gluten or colored dyes
- Patients who absorb or excrete medications abnormally
- Patients who need drugs that have been discontinued by pharmaceutical manufacturers because of low profitability
- Patients facing a supply shortage of their normal drug
- Children who want flavored additives in liquid drugs, usually so that the medication tastes like candy or fruit
- Veterinary medicine, for a change in dose, change to a more easily-administered form (such as from a pill to a liquid or transdermal gel), or to add a flavor more palatable to the animal. In the United States, compounded veterinary medicine must meet the standards set forth in the Animal Medical Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA)
- Many types of bio identical hormone replacement therapy