Monday, March 25, 2013

What is Compounding Pharmacy?

     So, why am I interested in compounding pharmacy? I suppose the place to start would be to first look at what exactly compounding pharmacy entails. The following is taken from the Professional Compounding Centers of America's (PCCA) website: "Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients. Compounded medications are “made from scratch” – individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to customize a medication to meet the patient’s specific needs."
     Before attending pharmacy I was a little undecided in my career path. Right out of high school I went to college for fashion design. I also graduated from cosmetology school and worked in a salon for awhile. Most recently I have worked as a bartender. What is the one thing all these very different jobs have in common? Creating something. I have always been more interested in fields that allow me to be creative or make a product.
     When I started pharmacy school I did not have experience working in retail pharmacy or hospital pharmacy, so I didn't really know what I was getting into. Our first year we were introduced to compounding in PPL and I also did an IPPE rotation at Care Pro in Cedar Rapids which has a compounding pharmacy on its premises. "This is something I'm familiar with", I thought. There are so many parallels I could draw between compounding pharmacy and my past careers. Compounding involves working with patients and doctors to make a product that will satisfy the needs of everyone. As a hairdresser I loved customizing color formulas to use on clients and bartending definitely involved measuring and combining different ingredients to make the perfect cocktail. Compounding is also a mixture of art and science. A good compounding pharmacist must know what ingredients should be mixed together to achieve the desired product, but care must be taken to also prepare an attractive product that the patient wants to use.
     Compounding pharmacy also reminds me of a bygone era when pharmacists compounded practically everything they sold. Or even further back to the roots of pharmacy when people used various natural products to create cures for illnesses. There's just something about it that is exiciting and mysterious to me. I'm sure once you've worked in compounding pharmacy for years it becomes more routine to you, but I think I would still appreciate the fact that I'm doing things the "old fashioned way".

Here is the link to the PCCA website:
and the What is Compounding? page:

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