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Aug 16, 2013 6:49 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Compounding Medication: A Tricky Process

CORPUS CHRISTI - As the fallout from the tainted I.V. drugs continues, we looked into the practice of compounding medication. What is it? How careful do pharmacists have to be when compounding?

Simply put, compounding is taking a drug in one form, and turning it into another.

For instance, taking a drug and making it a cream, or a pill, etc...

And whenever you take a drug like calcium gluconate, something that's usually a powder, and turn it into something injected through an I.V., you have to be extra careful.

Kelby Gorman with Moore's Compounding Pharmacy in Sinton explains.

"The skin is our protection, it's our barrier, our first line of defense to infection. When we take something internally, we have to do an injection, we need something sterile because we bypass that first line of defense," he says.

And that is called sterile compounding. A process where you take a medication, make it injectable, and make sure it's 100 percent free of any possible contaminants.

Gorman says typical techniques involve filters, or an extreme heating process where you put the medication into an apparatus set to a temperature hot enough to kill off any potential bacteria.

But apparently, that didn't happen at Specialty Compounding in Austin, the pharmacy responsible for the tainted I.V. drugs.

Gorman says while he doesn't know what went wrong at Specialty, true compounding pharmacies should be small-scale operations tailored to specific client needs.

At this point, it's clear that something went horribly wrong at Specialty Compounding Pharmacy in Austin.

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