There are several reasons why pharmacists compound prescription medications; yet, the most important one is patient non-compliance. Many patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes, or are sensitive to standard drug strengths. With a physician’s prescription, a compounding pharmacist can change the strength of a medication, alter its form to make it easier for the patient to ingest, and add flavor to it to make it more palatable. The pharmacist also can prepare the medication using several unique delivery system, such as a sublingual troche or lozenge, a lollipop.l or a transdermal gel. Or, for those patients who are having a difficult time swallowing a capsule, a compounding pharmacist can make a suspension instead.
Often parents have a tough time getting their children to take their medicine because of the taste. A compounding pharmacist can work directly with the physician and the patient to select a flavoring agent, such as vanilla butternut or tutti-frutti, that provides both an appropriate match for the medication’s properties and the patient’s taste preferences.
Compounding pharmacists also have helped patients who are experiencing chronic pain. For example, arthritic patients who cannot take certain medications due to gastro-intestinal side effects. Working with their physician, a compounding pharmacist can provide these patients with a topical preparation with the anti-inflammatory or analgesic their doctor prescribed for them.
Compounding pharmacists focus on meeting special needs. This may involve compounding medication for veterinarians in a variety of dosage form and flavors, providing natural alternatives in hormone replacement therapy, or assisting physicians in treating hospice patients.