Compounding:

The Triad Relationship

Compounding is achieved through an essential triad relationship — patient, physician and pharmacist. The physician first prescribes the medication, then the pharmacist takes the necessary ingredients, compounds them, and dispenses the medicine to the patient after a thorough consultation. This enables patients to receive the type of personalized care they deserve and allows independent community pharmacists the opportunity to provide superior, patient-oriented services.

Reasons for Compounding

There are several reasons why pharmacists compound prescription medications; yet, the most important one is patient noncompliance. 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 systems, such as a sublingual troche or lozenge, a lollipop, 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 gastrointestinal side effects. Working with their physician, a compounding pharmacist can provide them with a topical preparation with the anti-inflammatory or analgesic their doctor prescribed for them.