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What are compounding medications?

Compounding medications are medications made by a pharmacy to a unique formulation. Typically they are made by mixing ingredients together to make a drug different to those mass produced. Preparing medications in this way allows patients to access unique doses and allows formulations to be created for certain uses.

Compounding medications uses a mix of art and science to create tailored medications by a trained pharmacist. It is actually quite common in Australia and is almost as if the pharmacy is stepping back in time and preparing medications the way they would have been prepared in early medical practices 100’s of years ago. These ‘tailored’ drugs are commonly used for animals as well as humans, and is a safe and effective way over overcoming some issues associated with administering drugs.

A pharmacist will undergo specific training in order to be able to make compounded drugs, and there are lots of regulations surrounding compounding as a practice. Aspects such as appropriate dosages for individual patients would be studied. Also, the interrelationships between the physical and chemical aspects of compounding would be discussed.

So, who might need compounded drugs?

There are several reasons why patients would need compounded drugs, and certain groups of people who need them more commonly.

Babies and children

Young children often find dugs hard to take in tablet form as they can be large, or funny tasting, so a compounding pharmacy can adapt a drug to liquid or spray formation, or add a more pleasant flavour. Also, babies or very young children might require a smaller dosage than is commonly made, so again, a compounding pharmacist can adjust the strength of the active ingredients.

People with allergies to common drugs

Often drugs contain lactose which many people are allergic to. By compounding medications, patients can get their drugs in the right dosage, but without the offending ingredient. The necessary drug will be broken down into a recipe and made with all the active ingredients, and other removed.

Elderly

Elderly patients can find swallowing tablets difficult, especially if they need to take several different medications each day. Compounding medications allows for the drugs to be given in a liquid or spray formation. It also allows for several medications to be put together in one pill or spray. This can also assist with actually remembering to take the medications.

Out of production drugs

Some medications are taken out of production if not enough people require it, as the drug companies decide it is not financially viable to keep producing that specific medication. But there might still be a few patients who do require that medication. A compounding pharmacist can make up that medication to order, and the patient can still receive their medication, even if they are the only person in the world requiring it!

So, as you can see, there are many reasons to tailor a prescription and it is actually more common than you might think to prepare medications in this way using science and training. And the benefits and uses are vast. Humans (and animals) can benefit from personalised medication, or easier to digest medication. This is turn makes life a lot easier and also encourages people (or animals) to actually take their medication on time and as regularly as prescribed.

How do I find a compounding pharmacist?

Look for a pharmacy that is accredited and qualified in compounding medications. In Perth, you can search for your local compounding Pharmacist.


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