In the early days, there were no big pharmaceutical companies to mass produce drugs. Local pharmacists used to gather the demand from the patients and prepare formulations that would be appropriate for that particular patient. The hospice and compounding pharmacy industry that developed as a result was one that catered to individual patients and their unique dosage needs. Then, the pharmaceutical industry started to mass produce various drugs and dosages in standard forms. While this was more efficient on a large scale and optimized processes such as manufacturing, formulating and processing, there were many drawbacks. Not every patient can or should take the same dosage of a particular drug. Alternately, a patient may need a dosage that is only relevant or effective for that particular patient. Compounding would solve this problem as the needs of the patients can be uniquely catered to. The doctors could prescribe a tailor-made dosage of a particular drug and the dosage form and the compounding pharmacist could create the specific and unique combination necessary.
Nowadays, the majority of drugs are mass-produced by Big Pharma. However, the need for medical compounding services is still present. There are also other reasons why compounding is important. Wound care medicine, for example, is generally required in custom amounts and compounding offers this avenue. Depending on the nature and intensity of the wound, the dosage as well as the components used in the formulation must be varied in order to achieve the optimal level of treatment.
During periods of drug shortages, compounding pharmacists are able to compound drugs that are scarce in supply. They are also able to compound formulations using drugs that have been discontinued and are no longer available in the market. Therefore, compounding opens up possibilities that do not exist in the realm of mass-produced drugs, as some of these discontinued medicines may prove more effective to a particular individual than the current formulations present in the market.
Veterinary medicine compounding is also a big plus on the side of compounding. The dosages available to animals are limited and vary with species as well as within one species as well. Therefore, each animal requires a customised dosage of a particular drug. A horse, for example, may need a higher dosage of a particular drug than a dog and may have a different set of reactions to a particular chemical. Different breeds of horses may also differ in terms of requirement. Veterinary medicine compounding is therefore the optimal way to cater to the needs of these animals.
Sports medicine compounding pharmacy is also required these days as athletes are unique in terms of age, size, tolerance and a multitude of other such factors. The formulations to these athletes must be tailored according to their requirements in order to ensure that they perform to the best of the abilities in a consistent manner. Compounding also enables the pharmacist to formulate a single capsule that accounts for most of the common injuries and other pains that athletes may face on a consistent basis. This leads to ease of use for the customer as well as cost-cutting on the producer side as well as the consumer side.
Compounding also enables the customer to avoid or at least reduce the effect of allergies and other such irritabilities as the specific chemical that may act as an allergen can be substituted with another chemical with a similar effect, which is not possible in mass-produced drugs.
Some of the reasons why compounding is relevant today have been highlighted above. We will look at some of these in detail in future blog posts.