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Pharmaceutical compounding, the practice of preparing customized medications, has come full-circle. There was a time when pharmacists prepared medications from raw ingredients- the days of the mortar and pestle. The art brought with it the advantage of allowing a pharmacist to consider extraordinary circumstances when preparing medications. However, in recent years, that careful, detailed preparation has given way to mass-produced medicines in standardized dosages changing the pharmacist’s role to that of a dispenser instead of a compounder.

While the current practice of dispensing medicine allows for an efficient output, it simply does not allow the pharmacist the flexibility of providing alternative routes and dosages of medicines that might be more effective in treatment.

Today, new precise methods of preparing and dispensing medications have led to a resurgence of the art of compounding. Specially trained pharmacists are able to compound exact dosages using creative routes of administration specific to a single patients needs. Doctors are realizing the value of this in areas ranging from pain management and hormone replacement therapy to dental treatment and veterinary medicine. “Every individual has different needs, and the flexibility to treat him or her individually just makes sense.”

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Dispensing the proper form and amount of medication is not necessarily a “one-size-fits-all” practice. Pharmaceutical compounding allows the pharmacist to treat the individual, taking into consideration just the factors in their particular situation.

“Every individual has different needs, and the flexibility to treat him or her individually just makes sense.”

It also allows the skilled pharmacist to be inventive in the delivery method, which is a benefit to older patients and small children. A child unable to swallow a pill or accept a rectal suppository due to intestinal complications can be given the medication in a cream form that can simply be rubbed in to the inner wrist. An arthritic patient who suffers from joint pain complicated by a stomach ulcer can be given an anti-inflammatory medication through a trans-dermal gel that can be applied directly to the joint site.

Compounding returns the personal touch for the pharmacist and the attending medical professional.

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