Preparing custom dosage forms for patients has been practiced since the first time someone collected medicinal herbs, crushed them to a powder, to be brewed as a therapeutic tea for an ailment. This became the purview of the pharmacist until commercially prepared dosage forms entered the profession in the 20th century. When dedicated pharmaceutical companies were established to manufacture medications in various dosage forms, this skill and its offering gradually became infrequently used, although never lost or forgotten.
Increasingly, however, physicians and pharmacists found that the commercial medications often did not meet the needs of the patient or as is common today, the commercial product is not available or discontinued by the manufacturer. Fortunately, with the introduction of new technologies made available to pharmacists as well as the access to pharmaceutical grade raw materials, compounding became a viable alternative to commercially available products. This allows for a variety of therapeutic problems to be solved with customized solutions in the form of medications as capsules, suspensions, lozenges (troches), suppositories, creams, gel and ointments to just name a few.
Although custom compounded medications have been prescribed by physicians for the last 80 years, veterinarians also discovered customized medications as a great problem solver for the many companion animals they care for. Most often a compounded formulation is prescribed because a commercial veterinary product does not exist or not in a dosage form that would be appropriate for the species. When prepared with the animal species in mind, the size of the dose, the dosage form and the flavouring are all adjusted so it is appropriate for that animal patient and easy for the owner to dose.
There is growing number of drugs that we are learning to deliver via the transdermal route as well. This means incorporating the medication in a topically applied gel form that is designed to penetrate into the blood stream – an injection of medication without the needle. The dose is delivered in a very small 0.1ml volume of gel and rubbed in well, usually the inside of the ear pinna. Blood supply is very good there and skin is relatively thin.
Questions about the potential benefits of a customized dosage form for your pet, talk with our pharmacy staff or discuss the option with your veterinarian.