What is Pharmacy Compounding?

14 / 09 / 2020 | Compounding Pharmacies | AbsoluteRx

Pharmacy compounding has been used for many generations to produce specific medications, and it used to be the main method of creating medications for patients prior to the development of commercial drug production in the 50s and 60s. In modern times the vast majority of medications are produced by commercial drug companies, however a small percentage of every medication prescribed in the United States is produced by compounding pharmacies.


Compounded medications have several uses in medicine


Compounded medicines are used in these fields to produce anti-aging treatments, treatments for infertility, treatments customized for specific animals (in veterinary medicine), hormone replacement therapies, customized dermatological treatments, customized pain treatments, customized dosages and routes of administration for pediatric and geriatric patients, and more. There are several uses for compounded medications in spite of the fact that most medications are produced commercially, and there has been a resurgence in the use of compounded medications with new research pointing to the effectiveness of customized medications. If you are a medical professional looking for a compounding pharmacy, click here for more information about physician enrollment at our professional compounding pharmacy.


Compounding pharmacies produce customized drug treatments for several fields of medicine including:


  • Dermatology
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Podiatry
  • Pediatric Medicine
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Reproductive Endocrinology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology


Customized medications may be more effective than commercial drugs


Research has also proven that compounded medications are more effective than commercial medications for many types of medical treatment. In the case where a patient is allergic to a particular type of commercial preparation, there is usually no other alternative other than creating a compounded medication for the patient. In other cases, a compounded medication will have a safer dosage for a patient, or a more effective route of administration. Technology has advanced to where compounded medications can be safely and accurately produced at the same quality level or higher than commercial prescriptions, with a customized approach that meets a patient’s unique individual needs.


Clinical circumstances for the use of compounded medications


There are many different purposes for creating compounded medications, and circumstances regularly arise in clinical medicine where a compounded medication will be more suitable than a commercial medication.


Some examples of clinical circumstances where compounded medications work better than commercial drugs include:


  • Pediatrics – babies may need dosages available in commercial medications reduced substantially, especially premature babies. Children can benefit from compounded medications that are available in a more palatable format such as gummies, lollipops or flavored lozenges. Commercial drugs available only as pills can be converted into liquid, topical or injectable forms that are more suitable for pediatric patients.


  • Geriatrics – geriatric patients often have difficulty swallowing and may require a different route of administration for their medicines. Compounding pharmacies can create liquid or injectable forms for these patients. Chronic conditions may need a customized compounded treatment that addresses the patient’s specific health condition, and hormone treatments can also be customized based on the patient’s health status, hormone levels, and other factors.


  • Veterinary Medicine – veterinarians must treat several species of animals, and administering medications to animals can be difficult without alternative routes of administration available. Commercial veterinary medicines may only offer a few routes of administration, but compounding pharmacies can create several alternative options for veterinarians including flavored medicines, liquid or injectable forms, and more.


  • Dermatology – many commercially produced dermatology treatments are simply not effective for multiple people, as every person has unique skin. Dermatologists regularly rely on compounding pharmacies to create customized medications that are specifically designed to treat their patient’s skin conditions.


  • Endocrinology –there are several circumstances where compounding pharmacies need to create customized hormone treatments, specifically for hormone treatments, anti-aging hormone treatments, and more. Hormone treatments often need to be created at compounding pharmacies because they need to be customized for the patient’s current hormone levels and for treatment goals.


  • Sports Medicine – athletes need topical pain and inflammation treatments to help them recover, and pharmacy compounding is regularly used to create customized treatments for athletes. Commercial preparations for medications may not address specific athlete concerns such as a preferred route of administration, a topical form of the medication that may be more effective, or other customizations that allow athletes to receive treatment more conveniently and effectively.


  • Ceased Production – commercial pharmaceutical companies often cease production of a particular medication for several reasons including a lack of profitability, however that medication may still be needed by a small group of patients. Compounding pharmacies are able to produce medications that have been taken off the market for the small group of patients or individual patient that still needs the medication.



Routes of administration


One of the main problems that drug compounding solves is creating an alternative route of administration for a drug for patients. At a compounding pharmacy, medications can be prepared through a wide range of different dosage forms including the following:


  • Oral capsules or liquids
  • Suppositories
  • Lollipops, gummies or lozenges
  • Sterile injections
  • Topical creams or gels
  • Oral or nasal sprays
  • Eye and ear drops


The route of administration can be adjusted for medications if a patient is not able to swallow a pill for instance, and this occurs often with pediatric or geriatric patients. An injection may need to be prepared instead for the patient, however the injectable form may not be commercial available, so a compounding pharmacy would create a sterile injection at the proper dose based on the instructions of the patient’s physician.


Medical professionals who are legally able to prescribe medications must create the prescription for a compounding pharmacy, and the FDA allows the production of compounded medications, with each state regulating the specific guidelines and laws that govern compound medication production. Pharmacy compounding addresses the fact that each patient has a unique body, health status, and treatment goals, and is the preferred method of creating medications when commercial drugs fall short or cannot be used by a patient.


Medical professionals who need compounded medications should work with a sterile and modern compounding pharmacy to ensure the quality of the medications that they use in their practice. Absolute Pharmacy is a sterile professionally managed pharmacy with modern equipment and licensed pharmacists on staff. Click the following link to view more information about our compounding services and how they can meet your treatment goals.