Pediatric patients offer one of the best opportunities for a compounding pharmacist to show their creativity and skill. In many cases, commercially available products are made in dosage forms that are unpalatable to a child. Pills can be hard to swallow and other forms may just taste bad. Compliance and outcomes for pediatric patients can be greatly improved with the use of specialized services only available from a compounding pharmacy.
The bitter or salty taste of many medications can make it difficult to get a child to take them. The options for making a medication taste better include a variety of flavors children will like made with different kinds of sugar-free sweeteners. A bubblegum, strawberry, or grape flavored medication can make it easier for a doctor or parent to get a child to take a medication. Using colors and texture can make something look less like medicine. Doctors can even give their pediatric patients a choice of flavors or colors to make the experience of a doctor’s visit more fun.
The delivery method of a medication is another factor that is important for pediatric patients. Besides their taste, pills can be difficult to swallow for younger children. A compounding pharmacy can make many alternative methods of delivery for a medication that improve compliance. Colorful or flavored delivery methods can be used to make taking a medication more enjoyable and more likely that a child will get the whole required dose.
- Gummies: A gummy bear can be a fun alternative to a pill and tastes better too.
- Lollipops: Lollipops can be medicated with anesthetic and used for treating sore throat or mouth sores.
- Lozenges/Tablets: Tablets that dissolve in the mouth can provide medication quickly without the struggle of swallowing a pill.
- Slow-release: There are options for having a medication that is released slowly so that medication can be taken less frequently.
- Drinks/oral liquids: A flavored liquid is often easier to take than a pill, and sometimes a drink can even be made that makes the taste of the medication less strong.
- Transdermal/topical gels: Medications can often be formulated to be used transdermally, which is preferable to other delivery methods like pills or suppositories. Pain relief medications are often made into topical products.
Compounding for pediatric patients is more than just making a medication taste good. It requires innovative methods and careful attention to the individual child’s needs. When compounding for pediatric patients it is important to consider the variety of patient types and the dosages they require. Compounding pharmacists can customize dosages to each individual child based on their age, weight, dietary restrictions, health conditions, sensitivities and more. Children often require lower doses than what is commercially available. Since many prescription medications are marketed towards a larger adult population, they may have a higher dose than is necessary or healthy for a child. In these situations a compound pharmacy can make a custom lower-strength medication.
Compounding pharmacists are able to formulate prescriptions that meet a child’s dietary needs and sensitivities. This is more difficult to manage with commercially available medications that often contain ingredients like gluten. Medications can be made gluten-free, sugar-free, casein-free, and more. Suspension bases for medications can be made that are free of ingredients known to cause reactions for children with certain conditions. Working with a compounding pharmacy allows complete customization of a medication so that it excludes certain ingredients.
- Gluten-free: Gluten is usually part of a medication’s binder that holds the medicine together. Manufactured drugs can contain gluten without any requirement to note this on a label. Generics and brand name drugs can also use different binders so one may contain gluten while another does not. A compound pharmacy can make a medication that is completely gluten-free.
- Sugar-free: Usually the sweeteners used in a compound prescription lollipop or gummy are sugar alternatives.
- Casein-free: Autistic patients are sometimes treated with a gluten-free/casein-free (GFCF) diet. A compounding pharmacy can make medications that meet these dietary restrictions.
- Soy-free: For children with an allergy to soy, medications can be made without this ingredient. Formulas for infants and nutrition supplements often contain soy.
- Other allergies: There are many alternatives to ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. A compound pharmacy can work with doctors and parents to come up with a treatment that will be safe and effective for a child with allergies.
Customized Treatments for Children
Doctors can improve outcomes for their pediatric patients with the use of specially formulated medications that can only be obtained from a compounding pharmacy. Parents can have the peace of mind that their child is taking a medication specially made for them and their unique needs. Dosage, delivery method, and ingredients are all customizable to the pediatric patient. Flavors, colors, and textures can all be altered to improve compliance and make a doctor’s visit less stressful. When considering options for treating a child it’s best to consult with a compounding pharmacist who can provide you with the full range of options available.