What Is Pharmaceutical Compounding?
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for patients. Its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy, but with the advent of drug manufacturing in the 1950s and 1960s, compounding rapidly declined. The pharmacist's role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms, but compounding has regained popularity in recent years.
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, rendering commercially-available drugs and treatments ineffective. With a physician'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 flavor to make it more palatable.
The pharmacist also can prepare the medication using several unique delivery systems, such as a sublingual troche or lozenge, a lollipop, or a transdermal gel or cream that can be absorbed through the skin. For those patients who are having a hard time swallowing a capsule, a compounding pharmacist can make a liquid suspension instead.