Written by: Katie Voskuil, RT(R), CPhT, Compounding Technician, Agnesian Pharmacy
Often times older adults, children with special needs and patients struggling with pain and chronic infections find it difficult to take their medications. Compounding of medications may be the answer.
What is medication compounding in layman’s terms?
Compounding is making custom medications for patients. Similar to baking a cake from scratch versus buying a store bought one. You have control over what ingredients you add and what form you want it to be with the one you make from scratch, which is what a pharmacist does when he/she compounds medications for patients.
What types of medications are most commonly compounded?
Pharmacies commonly compound oral suspensions, capsules, suppositories (vaginal and rectal), transdermal creams, vaginal creams, topical creams, nasal irrigation capsules, ointments and gels.
What is the benefit of using compounded medications?
Compound medications allow the pharmacist to customize a medication to a patient’s specific needs. Commercially made medications are only available in certain forms and strengths and they don’t work for every patient. An example would be a pediatric patient that can’t swallow pills. A compounding pharmacist can make suspensions out of tablets for those patients. If a patient has an allergy to a certain ingredient, such as lactose, which is in most manufactured tablets, the pharmacist can compound capsules that exclude that ingredient. Pharmacies can also make transdermal pain gels that combine several different medications that are normally taken orally. These gels can be rubbed on like a cream to the area of pain and help to reduce the side effects that one would normally get from taking these medications orally.
How can compounding help your doctor treat your needs?
Some pharmacies can compound a specialty product to your healthcare provider’s specifications for you that is not available commercially on the market.
Talk to your healthcare provider about this option. Or, contact the Agnesian Pharmacy at (920) 324-8703.