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The Art of Pharmaceutical Compounding

Did you know that pharmacy compounding has been a central part of the practice of pharmacy for over 4000 years?One source says “the art of selecting, extracting, preparing and compounding medicines from vegetable, animal, and mineral substances, is an acquirement that must have been almost as ancient as man himself on earth.” Some of the oldest known prescription records were written in “hieratic writing” of ancient Egypt. Imagine a prescription on a stone tablet instructing a pharmacist to prepare a vapor for inhalation.There is also a document known as the Ebers Papyrus that translates as a sort of a “recipe book” for compounded medications that is thought to date back to 1552 B.C.

Even the first mortar and pestle, a tool used to grind compounding materials, and a commonly recognized symbol of the pharmacy profession, dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome when they were made of earthenware and wood. Pharmacists of the seventeenth century used metallic mortars inscribed with dates and names to indicate ownership. This ancient tool is still used in compounding practice today.

The first pharmacopoeia or book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicine was published in the United States in 1820. Up until the First World War, pharmacists in the United States compounded most prescriptions.In the 1920’s a “broad knowledge of compounding” was still necessary for eighty-percent of prescriptions dispensed. After World War II, compounding practice fell to levels below manufactured prescriptions.

At one time, nearly all prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950s and ‘60s, 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 were no longer trained to compound medications. But the “one-size-fits-all” nature of many mass-produced medications meant that some patients’ needs were not being met.

Fortunately, compounding experienced resurgence in the 1980s as modern technology and innovative techniques and research have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to meet specific patient needs.

While innovations have been made in medicine and pharmaceuticals, some patients don’t respond well to traditional methods of treatment. Sometimes they need medicine at strengths that are not manufactured by drug companies, or perhaps they simply need a different method of ingesting a medication. Pharmaceutical compounding is a way for pharmacists to customize prescriptions based on an individual’s needs, not met by traditional formulas.

Many improved advances in the knowledge and technologies in preparing prescriptions means compounding pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can customize them to patients’ needs.

The Healthy Choice Compounding Pharmacy has been “making the medication fit the patient, not the patient fit the medication” since 1997. We are committed to working with not only the patient but also with the medical practitioner to exceed all expectations when it comes to making a medication that works to help restore health and well-being.Call or visit us for more information about our customized strength and dosage formulas including:

Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, transdermal pain management, thyroid replacement medications and more. Dosages can be in the form of gels, creams, capsules, lozenges, sublingual tablets, liquids and even flavored lollipops.

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