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Compounding Helps The Medicine Go Down

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NASHVILLE — Buying medicine can be a lot like buying clothes.You get some selection of brands and sizes, butthe fit or color is not quite right.Compoundingspecialists can make a big difference by tailoring medications to your needs and taste.

Some local pharmacists are practicing the lost art of compounding to deliver medication the way patients need it. The specially-trainedpharmacists blend medications by hand to suit individual needs.

"We can change dosage forms and dosage amounts daily if need be, becausethese doses are all customized specifically for each patient," saysGary Glisson, a compounding specialist at Ward Drug in Nashville.

Compounding includes the active ingredientsand how they get into your body.

"We use a lot of the drugs that are basicallyavailable to everyone else or chemicals thatare available to everyone else," says Glisson. "We don't use anyspecial drugs really, but we are dosage form experts, and we can take [thedrug] and put it in the proper form dosage form to get it into the patientwhether the patient is human or animal. We have a lot of animal patients."

If your pet will not take pills, medication can be prepared so it can be rubbed in the ears or spread on the fur.

Flavoring is another big part of compounding. "Obviously if you can't get the patient to take the medication, it doesnot do any good," says Glisson.

Cough syrup that tastes like watermelon or marshmallow-flavored painrelievers are not just for kids; adults like them, too.

Compounding pharmacists work to find the bestdosage and delivery of the drug, no matter who the patient is.

"We have put medication into a rat and fed it toa snake to get it in there," says Glisson. He says no request is "toostrange."

Michelle Singer

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