What is Compounding?

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By Sheila Jiwan, Pharmacist and Certified Metabolic Anti-Aging Medicine Consultant

Simply put, compounding is the art and science of creating personalized medication. We take individual ingredients and mix together the exact strength and dosage required by the patient and prescriber. Unlike manufactured medications, where there are only a few different dosages strengths and forms, compounding allows for endless options.

Compounding’s history

Back in the days of your great grandparents, nearly all prescriptions were compounded. It wasn’t until the 1950’s and 60’s that mass drug manufacturing began to rapidly grow. Pharmacists quickly changed their role from manufacturer to dispenser. Unfortunately pharmacists were no longer trained to compound medication. However, the “one-size-fits-all” nature of many mass-produced medications meant that some patients needs were not being met. Fortunately, compounding has experienced resurgence as modern technology and innovation have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to meet your specific needs.

What are the BENEFITS of Compounding?

We can help personalize medication for patients who need specific strengths, dosage forms, or ingredients excluded from medications due to allergies or other sensitivities.

  • When your medication is either discontinued or unavailable from the suppliers we can compound the medication for you so you don’t have to be without or switch
  • If you have allergies to the medication due to preservatives, dyes or fillers, we can customize your medication for you to avoid this problem
  • Tailored dosage strengths for patients with very specific needs such as a baby can be achieved through compounding when the strength required is not commercially available
  • If your doctor has prescribed a strength that is not available, we can compound it for you
  • If you have problems taking the medication; for example, if the pill is too large to swallow we can make the medication in an alternative dosage form such as a suspension liquid or cream.
  • Your option of having alternate dosage forms such as lozenges or gummies
  • We can combine several medications to increase compliance (ie. cream for your skin)
  • If a medication does not taste good, we can add flavor to make it more palatable for the patient, this is ideal for children. We can also flavor accordingly for your pets.
  • If you are prescribed one of many possible dosage forms for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

How does a compounding pharmacy work?

A compounding pharmacy uses state-of-the-art equipment, chemicals and advanced techniques to compound and ensure quality products. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to customize a medication to meet the patient’s specific needs. Other pharmacies do not have the time, equipment, chemicals, or education to ‘custom-make’ your medications.
Our trained pharmacists use the only sterile “clean room” in Burnaby to custom make your prescribed medications. Each compound is hand made from the highest quality chemicals and quality assured by the Pharmacist.

For more information on our compounding services, please contact us.


Sheila Jiwan is the Pharmacy Manager at Pharmasave-Canada Way Health Centre in the Summitview Medical Centre. She is American Board Certified in anti-aging medicine as a Certified Metabolic Anti-Aging Medicine Consultant. She leads the compounding pharmacy located in Summitview Medical Centre that prepares unique and highly individualized prescriptions.


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