A filler is a substance in medication that has no therapeutic effect. It’s generally added to provide the medication with some other desirable characteristic such as color, flavor or texture. However, fillers can also have adverse side effects that physicians must consider when deciding which medication to prescribe. Compounded medication is an effective solution to the problems caused by fillers, since it can be customized for an individual patient.
Geriatric patients have special medical needs since they’re often more sensitive to the effects of medication, including the effects of fillers. This problem is caused by the aging bodies of these patients, which are generally slow to clear medication. Elderly patients may also need medication compounded to have a different delivery method if they suffer from dementia or other cognitive disorders, making it difficult for them to take medication orally. Alternative forms of medication can make it easier for caregivers to obtain patient compliance when administering medication.
Compounded medication may have any of the following forms:
- injectable medication
Hospice care often involves administering doses of medication that are much higher than normal. This is especially true of painkillers, where addiction is less of a concern than with other types of patients. The dosage of these medications is often increased to the level needed to keep the patient comfortable without the active ingredient causing adverse reactions.
However, this practice also increases the amount of fillers the patient receives, which also cause adverse reactions. Compounded medications that don’t contain fillers can help provide greater comfort and less stress over medication for patients in the final stage of their lives. These patients are also less likely to care about the color or flavor of medication, which are the most common uses of filler.
Allergies to fillers are one of the most common reasons for using compounded medication. While fillers are typically tested for common allergies, they can still cause adverse reactions in rare cases. Allergic symptoms can also have a wide range of severity, from mild itching to full-blown anaphylactic shock. Drug treatments become more complicated in these cases, since medication may need to be compounded without any fillers.
The offending substance many need to be specifically identified in cases where an active ingredient is the culprit. This process involve some trial and error, since medication may contain more than one active ingredient. These cases are further complicated since the compounding pharmacist can’t simply omit an active ingredient. The medication may need to be broken down into its base components to produce an alternative that doesn’t cause a reaction but is still effective.
A pharmacist may also add an anti-allergen to alleviate allergic reactions when compounding medication. Another reason to compound medications is to combine drugs that fail to provide the desired therapeutic effect when administered individually.