Compound [kom-pound] (n)
The science of preparing individualized medications for certain patients is called pharmaceutical compounding. Compounding dates its practice circa the origin of pharmacy, but compounding has drastically changed since. In past decades, compounded prescriptions outnumbered normal prescriptions until pharmacists became dispensers of manufactured dosages rather than a preparer. However, that generalized approach to healing doesn't meet the needs of all patients.
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Benefits of compounding
Need a custom dosage?
A patient may need their medication in a different dosage form. For instance, patients who have difficulty swallowing a pill may find it easier to take their medication in a pleasantly flavored liquid form. Some medications can be compounded in a topical form such as a cream or a gel that allows the medicine to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.
Difficult to use?
Some medications have a very unpleasant flavor, which makes the patient less likely to take it as directed. A compounding pharmacist can flavor many medications to make it more palatable without compromising the medication’s effectiveness. This is especially handy when dealing with medications for patients who may refuse medication, such as young children, elderly patients, or even pets!
Need more flexibility?
Not every patient has the same needs when it comes to medication. The flexibility of dosage, strength and route of administration is another benefit of compounded products. Concentration can be changed, and flavoring can be added to disguise an unpleasant taste. The product can be made with or without sugar using artificial sweeteners, and can be prepared with or without added color or dyes. Medication can often be placed into a different dosage form that is more convenient to administer or may be better absorbed. Side effects such as GI stress can be eliminated by changing the route of administration.