There are very few prescriptions that can’t be compounded. In fact compounded medicines are how medicine was traditionally made. The only reason this style of working phased out in the last century was down to economies of scale. Large pharmaceuticals were simply much more efficient at mass producing drugs, and still are. However, in more recent times there has been a growing acknowledgement and understanding that not all standardised medications suit everyone. As a result we are seeing the resurgence of compounding chemistry.
A compound chemist prepares a prescription for someone based on their individual, specific needs. A compound medicine is tailor-made and is therefore ideally suited to the patient. Compounded prescriptions are good for people who requiring specific dosages and/or methods of delivery that are not ‘standard’.
Children often benefit well from compounded medication. Parents that have trouble getting their child to take a medication because of the taste, allergies or sensitivities to commercially made medication can turn to a compounding pharmacist who will be able to formulate a different drug form for the child to take easily. For example, a child that is unable to swallow a pill can have their medications made into a solution/syrup, suppository, spray, gel, oral rinse or even a lollipop.
The compounding chemist can also help the elderly and those that suffer from chronic pain such as arthritis. Sometimes the types of drugs used to treat this pain will cause gastrointestinal upsets that lead to stomach ulcers in the elderly. With a doctor’s prescription a chemist can compound the prescription into a cream that alleviates stomach problems and often works much better than the oral form because it is applied directly to the area of pain.
Common compounding prescriptions include:
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Paediatric medicines
- Medication flavouring
- Sports medicine
Most of these require a doctor’s prescription but some over-the-counter products are also compounded. These products can be customised to an individual’s needs and may contain more than one medication in this dosage. Prescriptions for medications that are no longer commercially available can also be compounded.