At one time, nearly all prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950’s and 60’s, compounding rapidly declined. The pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms, and most pharmacists no longer were trained to compound medications. However, the “one-size-fits-all” nature of many mass-produced medications meant that some patients’ needs were not being met. 

What is compounding?

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Pharmacy compounding focuses on preparing a personalized medication for a patient based on a doctor’s prescription. Some practical examples of compounding include:

  1. A child requires a smaller dose of a medication than the commercially-available adult dose.

  2. A doctor tests a patient’s hormone levels and wants a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) tailored to that one patient’s specific levels of hormone.

  3. A patient requires a medication without the dyes, preservatives, gluten or other chemical that exists in the commercially-available product.

  4. A pet requires a dosage form so that it is not likely to bite or scratch its owner when taken.

  5. A dermatologist wants to combine a cream with another cream or with other active ingredients.

  6. A dentist or pediatrician wants a drug delivered in lollipop form.


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