Pharmaceutical compounding is the creation of a particular pharmaceutical product to fit the unique need of a patient. To do this, compounding pharmacists combine or process appropriate ingredients using various tools. This may be done for medically necessary reasons, such as to change the form of the medication from a solid pill to a liquid, to avoid a non-essential ingredient that the patient is allergic to, or to obtain the exact dosage needed or deemed best of particular active pharmaceutical ingredients. It may also be done for more optional reasons, such as adding flavors to a medication or otherwise altering taste or texture.

Compounding is most routine in the case of intravenous/parental medication, typically by hospital pharmacists, but is also offered by privately owned compounding pharmacies and certain retail pharmacies for various forms of medication. Whether routine or rare, intravenous or oral, etc., when a given drug product is made or modified to have characteristics that are specifically prescribed for an individual patient, it is known as “traditional” compounding.

Due to the rising cost of compounding and the shortage of drugs, many hospitals have shown a tendency to rely more upon large-scale compounding pharmacies to meet their regular requirement, particularly of sterile-injectable medications.

When compounding is done on bulk production of a given formulation rather than patient-specific production, it is known as “non-traditional” compounding and becomes manufacturing.

During research and development

Pharmaceutical compounding is a branch of pharmacy that continues to play the crucial role of drug development. Compounding pharmacists and medicinal chemists develop and test combinations of active pharmaceuticals and delivery systems for new pharmaceutical formulations so that the active ingredients are effective, stable, easy to use, and acceptable to patients. However, for actual clinical trials, production of drug products is generally considered manufacturing because compounding is typically defined as being for small batch or single individual patient production only.

Patients with unique or unusual medication needs

Physicians may prescribe an individually compounded medication for a patient with an unusual health need. This allows the physician to tailor a prescription to each individual. Compounding preparations are especially prevalent for:

  • Patients requiring an individualized compounded formulation to be developed by the pharmacist
  • Patients who cannot take commercially prepared prescriptions
  • Patients requiring limited dosage strengths, such as a very small dose for infants
  • Patients requiring a different formulation, such as turning a pill into a liquid or trans-dermal gel for people who cannot swallow pills due to disability
  • Patients requiring an allergen-free medication, such as one without gluten or colored dyes
  • Patients who absorb or excrete medications abnormally
  • Patients who need drugs that have been discontinued by pharmaceutical manufacturers because of low profitability
  • Patients facing a supply shortage of their normal drug
  • Children who want flavored additives in liquid drugs, usually so that the medication tastes like candy or fruit
  • Veterinary medicine, for a change in dose, change to a more easily administered form (such as from a pill to a liquid or trans-dermal gel), or to add a flavor more palatable to the animal.
  • Many types of bio identical hormone replacement therapy

Outsourced Compounding Services

Zion Clinical Pharmacy has the experience and technological capabilities to provide outsourced full service compounding. We are experienced with hospital settings and in unique position to provide fast, accurate and personal service to your clinical staff.

FDA Shortage List

There are several medications that are in short supply in the US (FDA Shortage List). Is your hospital losing or delaying patients because of the widespread shortage? Do not let patients wait any longer, Zion Clinical Pharmacy can compound most of the medications on the shortage list in addition to our extensive menu of compounded and commercially available medications.


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