Friday, November 30, 2012

The benefits and risks of compounding pharmacies

  • Infectious Disease News, November 2012
    Edward A. Bell, PharmD, BCPS
As of the end of October, 28 deaths resulting from the use of poorly prepared compounded medications by a Massachusetts-based compounding pharmacy have been reported. These deaths have focused increased attention on the role and safety of compounded specialized medicines and dosage forms in the United States.
Pharmaceutical compounding is defined as the combining or mixing of pharmaceutical ingredients to create a customized medication product for a specific patient by a prescriber’s order or prescription. Inherent in this definition is the notion that the final product is not tested for safety and efficacy by data that the FDA normally uses to assess a product. Because pharmacy school curriculums include training in the science and art of compounding, pharmacists are generally well trained in how to compound many medicines. More advanced training is also available for post-graduate pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, by organizations such as the Professional Compounding Centers of America. Although most independently owned and chain pharmacies (eg, Walgreens) do not prepare many compounded products, specialized compounding pharmacies are available that do prepare many compounded products.

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