FAQs for Veterinarians by Pharmacist Hootan Melamed

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Q: What is compounding?

Compounding refers to a process of creating a customized medication beyond what is mentioned on the drug label. Compounding is designed to individualize the medication to match with a patient’s needs. Prescription from a licensed veterinarian should be a pre-requisite for veterinary drug compounding.

Q: How about the regulation in compounding pharmacy?  

Compounding pharmacy industry is regulated by both the federal government (under the FDA) and the state governments.

Q: Is it necessary for a pharmacist to receive specific training for compounding for animals?

Most pharmacy courses do not include training in veterinary medicine. However, a pharmacy will usually obtained professional knowledge in veterinary compounding through continuing education. Only pharmacists with specialized training should carry out compounding for animals.

Q: What is the difference between generic and compounding medications?

Generic drugs are simply the non-brand-name versions of branded drugs. In case of compounding drugs, the form of the drug undergoes a change, and it is no longer same as the approved drug.

Q: In what situations compounding becomes essential for veterinary medicine?

Sometimes it may be troublesome to administer standard veterinary medications to non-food animals. In such cases, compounding drugs can help to improve compliance. Adjustments in delivery form, minor changes of ingredients, flavoring and diluting are compounding techniques to increase compliance. Wherever approved veterinary drugs are not available, a compounding drug may be used as a fair substitute.

Q: How to manage legal compliance in compounding?

Regulations imposed by both federal and state agencies should be followed to ensure legal compliance. Compounding pharmacist’s license can be verified from the state board of pharmacy. Compounding should be carried out only for individual patients, and any mass commercialized production would render compounding illegal.

Q: What is the regulation for compounding in case of food animals?

In case of food producing animals, the regulations are relatively tougher. Compounding drugs for such animals should only be used when there is no other alternative left to treat the animal. Once the drug use is stopped, the safe use of the animal for food must be predictable.

Q: What is the meaning of mimic drugs?

If someone compounds a drug just to imitate an FDA approved medication in order to avoid the approval process, it is known as a mimic drug. In case of mimic drugs, the goal is not medical, but purely financial. Mimic drugs can pose health risks and they are illegal to produce.

Q: Is it ethical to compound drugs just for their economic viability?

If an approved drug is easily available and appropriate for use, it may not be a wonderful idea to choose a compounding drug just because it may offer a better economic advantage in a particular case.

Q: How to verify the safety and reliability of compounding medications?

At the outset, the veterinarian must make sure that compounding medication is the absolute best solution under the circumstances. Once this is determined, they must get in touch with a certified and reputable compounding pharmacy. They must also try to obtain evidence that establishes the stability and the assigned date of expiration of the drug from the pharmacist.

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