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Facts About Compounding

For Pet & Horse Owners

A growing number of people have unique health needs that off-the-shelf prescription medicines cannot meet.

Compounding is in even greater demand for treating animals because of the relatively narrow selection of animal-health medicines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies.

For them, customized, compounded medications—prescribed or ordered by licensed physicians or veterinarians and mixed safely by trained, licensed compounding-pharmacists—are the only way to better health. Pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals who have studied chemical compatibilities and can prepare alternate dosage-forms. In fact, each state requires that pharmacy schools must, as part of their core curricula, instruct students on compounding pharmaceutical ingredients. Compounding pharmacies are licensed and regulated in the 50 states and the District of Columbia by their respective state boards of pharmacy.

Because every patient is different and has different needs, compounded medications are a vital part of quality medical-care.

The basis of the profession of pharmacy has always been the "triad," the patient-prescriber-pharmacist relationship. Through this relationship, patient needs are determined by a medical profesional, who chooses a treatment regimen that may include a compounded medication. Physicians and veterinarians often prescribe compounded medications for reasons that include (but are not limited to) situations like these:

  • When needed medications are discontinued by or generally unavailable from pharmaceutical companies, often because the medications are no longer profitable to manufacture;

  • When the patient is allergic to certain preservatives, dyes, or binders in available off-the-shelf medications;

  • When treatment requires tailored dosage-strengths for patients with unique needs (for example, infants);

  • When a pharmacist can combine several medications the patient is taking to increase compliance;

  • When the patient cannot ingest the medication in its commercially available form and a pharmacist can prepare the medication in cream, liquid, or other form that the patient can easily take; and
  • When medications require flavor additives to make them more palatable for some patients, most often children.

AAlso, compounding is extremely important to the veterinary community, which often requires more flavors, dosage forms, and dosage strengths than commercially available medications supply.