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The three times veterinarians turn to compounded medications

For Veterinary Practices
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For Pet & Horse Owners
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There are three typical situations that would result in a veterinarian needing to turn to a compounded medication for their patients.

When the best therapy for a patient is not commercially available

Drugs can become unavailable for any number of reasons. The most common factors are manufacturer backorders, recalls and discontinuations (for reasons other than safety). Frequently, and at an increasingly regular pace, a pharmaceutical manufacturer may temporarily halt production. Manufacturers can experience interruptions in the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and other components of the commercial medicines they make. When situations like these occur, veterinarians often turn to compounding pharmacies to assure continuation of critical therapies.

When a manufactured drug is not available in the necessary strength, dosage form or flavor

In a typical companion-animal practice, veterinarians treat all sizes and shapes of pets from many species. In a single day, a practice may see a chubby cat, a chatty cockatiel, a charming Chihuahua and a cantankerous Collie. The animals seen in daily veterinary practice vary greatly in weight and food preferences, creating unique challenges for dosing and compliance. For some disease states, getting the dose exactly right can make the difference between helping and hurting a patient. Because of these factors, veterinarians frequently need to depart from commercially available options to get the right strength, dosage form or flavor. In many cases, compounded preparations are prescribed instead of manufactured drugs because an animal, literally, won’t swallow it. A specialized compounding pharmacy can be a critical ally in patient care.

When a patient is sensitive or allergic to a non-active component of a manufactured product

Some animals are allergic to components of manufactured medicines such as lactose, dyes, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. Through custom compounding, veterinarians can finely tune not only the strength of the active pharmaceutical ingredients but also the other components of a medicine (for example, an ophthalmic can be changed from a corn oil base to an aqueous base to reduce irritation in the eye). Custom compounding can be a life-saving option when a pet can't tolerate a drug component.

Learn more about the role of compounding in veterinary practice

We've recently published a guide to compounding pharmacy in veterinary practice as an ebook downloadable from our website. In it, you will get a comprehensive overview of

  • the most commonly prescribed compounds
  • when to and when not to prescribe a compounded medication
  • how dosage forms and flavoring may increase patient (and owner) compliance
  • instruction on how to write a prescription for a compounded preparation
  • statistics on how veterinarians are using compounds in their own practice
  • information on how to choose a compounding pharmacy for your practice
Your copy of the Guide to Compounding Pharmacy in Veterinary Practice from Wedgewood Pharmacy is now available for download.

Phil Scully R.Ph. Phil
Phil Scully, R.Ph.
Technical-Services Pharmacist
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About Phil Scully:
Philip A. Scully, R.Ph., technical-Services Pharmacist for Wedgewood Pharmacy, works with prescribers and their staff to develop custom formulations. He is a member of the Formula-Change Control Committee and Quality Review Board of the company and works closely with Research & Development.

Scully is experienced in all aspects of the compounding-pharmacy specialty and has developed unique expertise in compounding formulations, flavoring and oral dosage-forms. He has been in the pharmacy profession since 1993 and has worked at Wedgewood since 2003.

He is a Registered Pharmacist in New Jersey and was a certified primary diabetes educator. Previously, he was director of Operations/pharmacist-in-charge for Winslow's Pharmacy: An Omnicare Company (Vineland NJ); a consultant pharmacist with Cherry Hill Pharmacy LTC (Cherry Hill NJ) and was pharmacist-in-charge for an independent pharmacy.

He holds a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Wedgewood Pharmacy.

Medications compounded by Wedgewood Pharmacy are prepared at the direction of a veterinarian. Many compounded preparations are commonly prescribed, and supported by literature, to treat particular disease states, but you should always consult your veterinarian before taking or administering any compounded medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy does not make claims for the efficacy of its compounded preparations.

Phil Scully, Technical-Services Pharmacist 6/15/2011 9:31:00 AM

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