The Art Of The Compound Pharmacist

Health & Medical Blog

You have probably seen apothecary chests in furniture stores. They are often used for accent pieces in living rooms, but they once served an important purpose. All the little drawers once held the herbs and powders that an apothecary mixed to cure a variety of ailments. Now called pharmacists, these medical professionals still practice their mixing arts when they prepare special medical compounds. If you are in need of non-standard medications, you may well choose to visit a compounding pharmacy.

Compound Medications

You might be one of the people who are confused by what compound medications are.

Manufactured medications are prepared in large quantities under the regulation of the FDA. These medicines are "standard" in that they are taken by many different patients in basically the same strengths and dosages

A compound medication must be specially blended by the pharmacist for an individual patient who needs a different strength or dosage from what is manufactured. State boards oversee compounding instead of the FDA. As you can imagine, compounding takes a higher skill level than merely dispensing medicines. 

Duties of Compound Pharmacists

With the guidance of a physician, a compounding pharmacist can do the following:

  • Change a medication's strength.
  • Keep the medication free of lactose, gluten, sugar, dyes, and preservatives.
  • Add flavors to make the medication more pleasant to ingest. 
  • Develop "delivery systems," such as a liquid suspension instead of a capsule for those who cannot tolerate them. They can use topical creams, suppositories, and even candy to deliver the medication to the patient. 

Types of Compounded Medications

Medications can be compounded for many medical areas, including the following:

  • Hospice 
  • Pediatric 
  • Pain management
  • Opthomalagy
  • Gastroenterology
  • Veterinary 

Where medications are concerned, one size often does not fit all. You may need your own special mixture to address your personal medical needs. 

Compounding Pharmacies

Although all pharmacies perform some compounding services, a small portion of pharmacies specializes in the practice. Of the 56,000 U.S. pharmacies, 7,500 are actually compounding pharmacies. Although all licensed pharmacists are allowed to compound, those who specialize spend most of their time putting together unique medical blends for their patients. 

The term "apothecary" may be more romantic than "pharmacist," but they mean the same thing: medical professionals who tend to their patients' special needs. When manufactured medicines do not work for you, your doctor may recommend a compound. When that happens, you should seek a compounding pharmacy, like Potter's House Apothecary, Inc, for help and more information.


23 June 2015

Cancer Treatment Questions: Understanding The Differences in Options

After watching my mother navigate treatment for breast cancer in my early teens, I knew pretty much what to expect from my dad's diagnosis with prostate cancer. What I didn't know was how different chemotherapy and radiation can affect different people. My mother became very ill while my dad seemed to weather the treatments with few ill effects. I spent a long time researching the differences in treatments, types of chemotherapy, and how each one can react differently with the body. I created this blog to help others understand the same things, because I knew I couldn't be the only one unfamiliar with it. I hope it helps you if someone you love is facing treatment for any type of cancer.