Compounding Pharmacists

Written by Serena Berger
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Pharmacists are highly trained medical personnel with extensive knowledge of patient care and modern medicine. Occasionally people stop to wonder why pharmacists have to attend so many years of classes when all they seem to so is count pills and transfer them from the manufacturer's bottle to a patient's bottle. Compounding pharmacology has grown out of the frustrations of some highly skilled pharmacists over a role in healthcare that they find limiting and ineffectual or even deeply problematic.

Compounding pharmacists actually prepare custom medications for patients. There are still a relatively small number of compounding pharmacists in the U.S.--certainly fewer than 10,000--but they are convinced they can make a significant change in the way patients view their options for medical care. Most of them still dispense the major manufactured drugs that their clients want and need, but they add significantly to their services with their own healthcare initiatives and a focus on natural care.

Pharmacists have seen major drug companies pushing drugs that they do not believe are always good for the patients for whom they are prescribed. Doctors participate and escalate the issue by prescribing some of these drugs. Many of the leading compound pharmacists site Ritalin, Prozac, Baycol, and other extremely common drugs when they talk about this problem.

Compounding Pharmacists Improving Care for Patients

Instead of (or in addition to) offering these drugs, this new breed of pharmacists makes (or compounds) their own. These may include pain relief treatments or hormone treatments. Sometimes the purpose is to eliminate dyes, make a drug kinder on the stomach or digestive system, or alter the strength based on the characteristics of the patient. A compounding pharmacist can change the form in which a drug is administered--for a child who can't take pills, a pharmacist can make a syrup or skin cream. It really seems as though the sky is the limit for the customized care that you can receive from a caring compound pharmacist. You'll have to do some looking since they are still relatively rare, but in the coming years, there may be more and more of them improving healthcare for everyone.

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