How Compounding Pharmacies Mix Compounds

A key part of the compounding process is the method chosen to mix the medication. There are several processes used by pharmacies to create topical compounds. The 3 primary options we are reviewing are the traditional mortar and pestle, the electronic mortar and pestle, and the planetary mixer. In order to better understand and appreciate the planetary mixer, you have to first know about the more common compounding methods used by most compounding pharmacies.   

Traditional Mortar and Pestle

Traditional mortar and pestles are used to crush and mix various ingredients to create the final mixture used for a patient’s prescription. It takes time to crush and mix these ingredients together by hand. A drawback of using a traditional mortar and pestle is the consistency and the quality of the final product. Due to human limitations, some mixtures might be more or less finely mixed than others which leads to inconsistent results. For a visual representation of this style you can think of a handheld whisk in the kitchen. Traditional mortar and pestles are good if you only need to create a few prescriptions, but time really starts to add up once you need to create more.

Electronic Mortar and Pestle

Using an electronic mortar and pestle makes the cumbersome process of grinding and mixing ingredients together far more efficient. Rather than using an actual person to mix the ingredients, the electronic mortar and pestle mixes the ingredients based on what settings and time it is set at. For a visual representation of this style, you can think of an electric mixer in your kitchen. This leads to more consistent and reproducible medication results. Unfortunately, heat from the mixing process can cause unintended degradation of the medication. While it may mix those medications with consistency, it can degrade the quality of the final product.

Planetary Mixer

A planetary mixer uses simultaneous revolutions and rotations to mix and de-aerate the final product without the need for rods or blades. Planetary mixers mix medications in a closed system that reduce heat, compared to the electronic mortar and pestle. For a visual representation, there is not an equivalent kitchen gadget, but you can imagine how a planet revolves around the sun and spins on an axis in the opposite direction. This results in a mixing process that is unparalleled by any other method. While mixing extremely thoroughly it keeps heat at a minimum, as well as de-aerates the product, helping to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality and consistency. This also produces efficiency in the compounding lab by speeding up processes that once took 20 – 30 minutes of labor and reducing it to 2 – 3 minutes to create a product. Planetary mixers are the industry gold standard, but they come at a very high cost of about 10 times what an electronic mortar and pestle cost.

Conclusion 

We have chosen to invest in planetary mixers (ours is called The Mazerustar) to allow us to create final products of the highest quality and consistency while improving efficiency. We believe it is our responsibility to provide our patients with the best medication for their prescription needs in as little time as possible.

At claRx we guarantee that the patient will receive their compounded medication within 7 days or it’s FREE. 

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