Compounding medication in pharmacy has been done for hundreds of years. You can even say thousands of years depending on how you view the process. While compounding itself may not be new, we continually improve our processes using the most up to date methods and equipment. Today we want to help you understand the process of actually creating a compound from start to finish. To do that, we will go through the steps of creating a compound and some of the details along the way.
First Step – Compound Request
The first step begins when a provider requests a specific compound medication. From there, one of our pharmacists has to find out if we have a formula to create the compound. If we already have a formula on file we can begin compounding the medication and skip to step 3. If we do not have a formula, then the pharmacist evaluates the formulas on file to see if we can extrapolate from one of them to create a safe and effective compound. If no formula is found, then we start the formulation process from scratch.
Second Step - Formulation
To create a new formula, we generally start with the desired base, an ointment, cream, solution, or some other type of base that will serve as the vehicle for the drug to interact with the skin. Then we evaluate what other ingredients other than the base and the active drug ingredient might be needed to stabilize it, if any. Oftentimes, we work with Medisca and their chemists to assist with new formulations. Once the formula is created, it will be logged into the compounding system and made available for use.
Third Step – Verification and Creation
At this point we have both a compound prescription request and a formula that allows us to meet the request. Before the compound creation can begin, the pharmacist verifies that the compounding formula meets the needs of the prescription.
Once this is verified, the compounding technician begins to build to the prescription. They will weigh out the different active, inactive, and base ingredients that go into the compound. The pharmacist then verifies those weighed out ingredients to make sure they are accurate per the prescription. From there, the compounding technician will take all those pre-weighed out ingredients and combine them, according to the formulation, to create the prescription.
There are an indefinite number of ways you can combine the ingredients together and it is important that they are combined according to the formula directions. Once the tech has finished combining those ingredients together, the compounded medication is ready for dispensing, then the pharmacist will do a final verification check. It is at this point the prescription compound is ready to be used by a patient.
Labor of Love
From formula creation to final verification, creating a single compound takes roughly 2-3 hours of time split between, pharmacists, technicians, and sometimes chemists. We always want to make sure we are paying extra careful attention when creating our compounds to provide a superior product to the patient. Our intense focus on dermatology allows us to take those time consuming formulas and leverage them for thousands of patients. That way, we can take a compound that would cost a patient hundreds of dollars if they were the only patient on the medication and bring the cost down to the $50 range.
This behind the scenes look into our compounding process provides a better understanding of what we do at claRx Big Country Dermatology Pharmacy. We want to ensure that we are creating safe and superior compounded medications for our patients' benefit.
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