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Pet Ownership 101 | Compounded Pet Medication

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Any pet owner who has ever had to convince their pet to swallow a pill knows that wrapping it in cheese or covering it in peanut butter does not always work. Pets are smart. Eventually, they realize your deception and just lick the peanut butter off, spitting out the pill. Compounding medicine is designed to succeed where cheese has failed. Here's what you need to know.

What is a compounded pet medication?

A compounded medication is a drug created by combining two or more drugs to create a new formula. This process is done in order to change the strength, dosage form, or flavor of the medication. Both humans and animals can take compounded medications.

Why would a veterinarian need to have a drug compounded for a patient?

Pets resistant to taking oral medications or that require a certain dosage that is not available in commercially-manufactured drugs can take compounded medications. For example, some pets may need a smaller dose of medication than what is commercially available. In this case, a compounding pharmacist can adjust the strength of the medication accordingly. Additionally, some pets may have trouble taking oral medications due to the size or taste of the pills. In these cases, compounding pharmacists can prepare the medication in a different form, such as a transdermal gel or an injectable. Flavoring can also be added to compounded pet medications to make them more palatable.

Another benefit of compounded medications is that they can be created without certain inactive ingredients that may cause allergies or other adverse reactions in some animals. For example, some commercially-available medications contain dyes, gluten, lactose, or sugar, which could trigger an allergic reaction in some pets. By eliminating these inactive ingredients, veterinarians can tailor compounded medications to meet the needs of individual animals.

Can veterinarians dispense compounded pet medications?

Yes, veterinarians can dispense compounded medications to their patients. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) rules for compounding medicine are much more stringent for food animals than non-food animals.

Are compounded medications safe?

Yes, compounded medications can be safe for both humans and animals when prepared by a licensed compounding pharmacy using FDA-approved ingredients.

How long does compounded medicine last?

The shelf life of compounded pet medication will vary depending on the ingredients used and how the medication is stored. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label regarding storage, like refrigeration.

Compounded medications offer many benefits for both humans and animals. If your pet is having trouble taking their medication due to its size, flavor, or inactive ingredients, speak to your veterinarian about whether compounding might be right for them. 

For more info about compounded pet medicine, contact a professional.