The Art of Compounding

Before prescriptions became mass produced with advanced manufacturing of the 1950s and ‘60s, nearly all medications were compounded by pharmacists. Afterwards, 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.

When the health needs of a patient cannot be met by an FDA-approved or commercially available medication, licensed pharmacists are able to combine, mix, or alter the ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients.

Compounded medications are made based on a doctor’s prescription in which 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. The end result are medicines compounded for the patient where the exact strength and dosage form (e.g., cream, pill or liquid) required by the patient are also customized.

An example of when a compounded drug is needed is when a patient has an allergy and needs a medication without a certain dye. Another would be if a patient (perhaps a child or an elderly person) cannot swallow a pill and needs a medicine in a liquid dosage form that is not otherwise available.

Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved. State boards of pharmacy have primary responsibility for the oversight of state-licensed pharmacies that compound drugs, but the FDA retains some authority over their operations. Registered outsourcing facilities are regulated by the FDA, must comply with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, and are required to be inspected by the FDA.   

The FDA approval process is intended for mass-produced drugs made by manufacturers. Because compounded medications are personalized for individual patients, the federal government has approved the use of compounded medications for those individuals who have received a prescription for that specific compounded medication.                              

Though we are not a full-service compounding pharmacy, we can:

  • Compound syrups and suspensions for children or adults who can’t swallow pills
  • Compound creams and ointments from a dermatologist’s prescription
  • Add flavor to a medication that is otherwise difficult for a patient to ingest.
  • Compound mouthwashes for sore throats and mouth ulcers from a doctor’s or dentist’s prescription

The practice of compounding is becoming a popular solution to veterinary problems, too. Your pharmacist can provide some specialized prescription services to veterinarians in the treatment of almost all animals. Exotic pets, horses, dogs, cats and zoo animals may all require medication at some point and our pharmacists can assist veterinarians in offering dosages that are patient-specific in strength and formulation.

When you have a need for certain types of compounded medication, trust the experts at Rocky Point Pavilion Pharmacy to provide the appropriate medication in the form and dosage that’s right for you, or your pet.