Drug compounding is commonly used in several different fields, and drug compounding has played a much greater role in modern medicine in recent years compared to prior decades where commercial medicines were by far the major method of treatment. There are a wide range of applications for drug compounding, and the number and type of clinical applications continues to grow each day as more research suggests that drug compounding is highly effective compared to commercial treatments. Compounding pharmacies have been used to produce customized, allergen free medications in several clinical applications including pain management, veterinary and pediatric medicine, hormone replacement therapies, anti-aging therapies, dermatology, hospice care, dentistry, and to produce medications that have previously been discontinued.
Pharmaceutical compounding is highly versatile in modern medicine and it has taken on a larger role because of the specificity of the drugs that it can create. Dosages can be carefully controlled, and many patients require dosages to be at a lower or higher level than what is available in a commercial form. Commercial tablets usually only come in a few different dosages, and if the tablets have to be cut or otherwise altered, they are often better off being altered at a compounding pharmacy where a different dosage form can be created for the medication. For instance a small animal or a pediatric patient may need a lower dosage, and a flavored suspension with a lower dose can be created from a commercial pill or tablet form – a common drug compounding application.
Below are some of the most common applications for medication compounding
- Hormone treatments – hormones are commonly created at compounding pharmacies, and these hormones are specifically designed for an individual based on their current blood levels of hormones and other factors. They are used to treat both men and women for andropause and menopause symptoms, and they can also treat diseases related to hormone imbalances or deficiencies.
- Hospice care – compounded medications can be customized for patients in hospices to manage pain and improve quality of life. Many patients in hospices cannot take medications in certain forms, particularly tablets, as patients may have difficulties with swallowing, and these patients can greatly benefit from the routes of administration that a compounding pharmacy can create for them. Hospice patients often need customized pain and nausea medications to treat the symptoms of their illnesses, and compounding pharmacies can create the proper medications to address their symptoms and unique needs.
- Veterinary medicine – veterinarians often utilize compounded medications to treat their patients, as each species of animal has very specific dosage and ingredient requirements. Compounded medications can specifically be designed for a patient, and medications can be transferred into a wide range of forms such as flavored pellets, drops, injections, and more. Veterinarians must rely on compounding pharmacies to produce many of their medications because the forms that they need for a particular patient simply are often not available commercially. Medications are produced in a form that the most suitable for the patient, and a wide range of flavors can be created as well.
- Sports medicine – sports medicine commonly utilizes compounded medications for managing injuries and pain. Compounded anti-inflammatory drugs can be administered topically through specialized gels and creams created at compounding pharmacies. Sports medicine physicians can control the dosage of a gel or cream specifically for their patient’s needs. Treatments can be created for cramps, chronic pain, strains or muscle aches, and other sports injuries. New treatments are always being developed in sports medicine to help athletes stay at the top of their game, and these treatments commonly find their way into other fields of medicine.
- Dentistry – topical anesthetics and other compounds commonly need to be created at compounding pharmacies for uses in dentistry. There are other treatments that may need to be customized for a patient such as antibiotics, dry socket and root canal treatments, gum disease treatments, whitening treatments and more. Many dental patients do not do well with commercial anesthetics and may need a different dose or a different medication format. Topical anesthetics can be used on patients who are needle shy, and creative applications can be used for dentistry medications. Anesthetics or other treatments can also be flavored for pediatric patients, or to make commercial medications more palatable.
Other circumstances where compounded medications are useful
There are several clinical circumstances where compounded medications are useful. Many commercial medications are discontinued for a lack of demand, as the purpose of commercial drugs is to make a profit, and there may not be enough patients for a particular drug. Other commercial medications may be discontinued for a variety of reasons unrelated to safety. These medications can still be created at a compounding pharmacy if the active ingredient for the drug can still be found, and this allows the small number of patients that would benefit from the drug to still have access to it. Otherwise, every time a commercial medication is taken off the market, patients who need it would not have access to it. In other cases, hard to find medications or medications that are not regionally accessible can also be compounded.
Any time a medication needs to be customized in its dose, flavor, route of administration, and ingredients, compounding pharmacies can be used to create a customized compound. In many cases the side effects from one route of administration can be avoided, for instance oral drugs often have several side effects that can be reduced if there is a topical variant of the particular drug available. Also, when physicians need to ensure that a particular drug or treatment is sterile they can use a compounding pharmacy with the proper sterilization equipment and environment to create a guaranteed sterile preparation. At Absolute Pharmacy we can create customized sterile drug compounds for a wide range of clinical uses, and all of our medications are created in an ISO class 5 environment to ensure that they are completely sterile. If you are a physician you can get more information on how our licensed pharmacists can create drug compounds for your needs.