What is Compounding?

Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of creating customized medications based on physician specifications and patient needs.

Prior to the development of mass production of medications, compounding was a routine activity among pharmacists. Pharmaceutical compounding has ancient roots. Hunter-gatherer societies had knowledge of the medicinal properties of the animals, plants, molds, fungus, bacteria and inorganic minerals within their environment.

Ancient civilizations utilized pharmaceutical compounding for diverse purposes including religious rituals, grooming, keeping the healthy well, treating the ill and preparing the dead. These ancient compounders produced the first oils from plants and animals. They discovered poisons and the antidotes. They made ointments and poultices to treat wounds as well as creating perfumes for customers.

The earliest chemists were familiar with various natural substances and their uses.

Alchemy, the medieval forerunner of chemistry, was based on the supposed transformation of matter and was particularly concerned with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal youth elixir. Alchemy eventually contributed to the creation of modern pharmacy and the principles of pharmacy compounding.

Depiction of the first drug store in Bagdad around 754 AD

In the medieval Islamic world in particular, pharmacists and chemists developed advanced methods of compounding drugs. The first drug stores appeared in Baghdad around 754 AD.

The modern age of pharmacy compounding began in the 19th century with the isolation of various compounds from coal tar for the purpose of producing synthetic dyes. From this one natural product came the earliest antibacterial sulfa drugs, phenolic compounds made famous by Joseph Lister, and plastics.

During the 1800s, pharmacists specialized in the raising of raw ingredients, preparation and compounding of crude drugs. Crude drugs like opium are from natural sources and usually contain multiple chemical compounds. The compounding pharmacist often extracted these crude drugs using water or alcohol to form extracts, concoctions and decoctions. Pharmacists began isolating and identifying the active ingredients contained within these crude drug concoctions. Using fractionation or recrystallization, the compounding pharmacist would separate the active ingredients, like morphine, and use it in place of the crude drug. It was during this time that the age of modern medicine began.


What are the benefits of compounding?

One major benefit is compounding can make medication allergy-friendly.                                  

A patient may be allergic to or intolerant of an ingredient commonly found in the commercially manufactured form of a medication. Ingredients that may be allergy-inducing include:

  • Lactose
  • Preservatives
  • Dyes
  • Gluten
  • Sugar

Our compounding pharmacists at Promise Pharmacy can work with patients’ physicians to create a personalized medication formulated to provide patients with the therapeutic treatment they need while omitting any problematic ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction.   

Another benefit is compounding can make medication in forms that are easier to administer

Some medications are only made in certain forms that may make it difficult or even impossible to administer to some patients. Compounding can make it possible to create the medication in another form that can be more easily administered to the patient. An example would be patients who are unable to swallow capsules or tablets. For these patients, it may b possible to create their medications in a liquid form, as rapid-dissolving tablets that will dissolve in the patient’s mouth, or as a troche that is placed under the tongue or between the cheek and the gum to dissolve and be absorbed by the mouth’s buccal tissue.  Another example would be adding flavoring to a medication to make it more palatable to the patient. This is can be especially helpful with administering medications to young children.

Compounding pharmacies can make medications that are difficult to find or are discontinued

Sometimes a pharmaceutical manufacturer discontinues a medication. This may occur because not enough patients are taking the drug, therefore making it unprofitable for the manufacturer to continue mass-producing it. But what about the patients who still need that drug? Hundreds or even thousands of patients still may need that medication.

A compounding pharmacy can re-create a discontinued medication, so that even if only one person in the world still needs that medication, they can have it thanks to compounding.

At Promise Pharmacy we understand that each individual has his or her own medical requirements. Through our compounding services, we can create customized medications that are designed to meet the unique needs of individual patients.

Promise Pharmacy offers a variety of compounded products for:

  • Wellness and Anti-Aging Therapies
  • Male and Female Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Weight Management Therapy
  • IV Therapy
  • Ophthalmology
  • Dermatology

For more information, please call us at 727-772-0500 or email us at info@promisepharmacy.com.

About Us

Promise Pharmacy is an independent pharmacy specializing in quality sterile and non-sterile compounded medication options for physicians and their patients in 36 states nationwide.

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