What is a compounded medication?

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Compounding is the method used to prepare a tailor-made drug for a specific patient, done only by a qualified compound pharmacist.

Veterinary compounding is important, because every time a medication is changed from its original form—even just the act of crushing a pill—means that, essentially, a new medication is created, and it is no longer approved for safety and effectiveness by the FDA.
Here are some reasons you might want a compounded medicine:
• Your pet will only take liquids, but the medication is only available in pills
• Flavoring the medication makes it a lot easier to administer
• Your pet needs a drug without a certain additive because of allergies or sensitivities
• Combining drugs together can help you administer the drug. It can be a lot easier to give your pet one pill, rather than three or four in the course of a day.
• The strength of medication you need for your pet is not available because your pet needs a specific, tailored dosage
• Your pet is taking a human medication that was removed from the market

Pharmacists are trained to make medications from raw ingredients. For hundreds of years, all drugs were compounded since there was no way to make large quantities of the same medication, test it for safety and store it. The pharmacist would take the order and custom make the medication for the individual. Half a century ago, 60 percent of all medications were compounded. Today, only about one percent of all drugs given are compounded. The majority of these are within the animal field.

Drugs have been compounded for veterinary practice for many years because it has been necessary in the course of routine practice. However, regulations and compliance policy guidelines (CPGs) should be recognized. A new CPG issued in July 2003 listed the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limitations on compounding for veterinary medicine.

To summarize the guideline: drugs must not be compounded from bulk substances, and the compounding must not constitute manufacture of a new animal drug. Drug compounding on a case-by-case basis is allowed under the CPG. However, veterinarians and pharmacists must be aware of potential incompatibilities and practices that may interfere with the drug’s stability, purity, and/or potency.

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