MEDISCA Network now offers helpful compounding tips for everyone! Be sure to come visit us regularly as we post new tips from our team of experts.
MEDISCA Network now offers helpful compounding tips for everyone! Be sure to come visit us regularly as we post new tips from our team of experts.

Compounding Tips

Tip #1: Issues Working With Static Powders?

Consider the following options to reduce static charge on powders:

  1. Placing powder in a metal bowl for 1-2 days prior to use to allow dissipation of charge. Exception for those that are metal reactive. Be sure to take any special preparatory handling measures into considerations e.g. those that are hygroscopic or light sensitive.
  2. Use of an anti-static agent like Silica Gel (0.1-0.5%) or Magnesium Stearate (10 mg/g).
  3. 1% Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can be added to the powders to neutralize electrostatic forces.
  4. Use microcrystalline cellulose or Dextrose (anhydrous) as a filler.
  5. Place powders in the freezer for a short period, with the exception of APIs that are sensitive to freezing temperatures.
  6. Place mortar with powders on magnetic stir plate.
  7. Use of ionizer or demagnetizer at entrance of electronic balance:
    1. Ionizer Bar
    2. Tape head demagnetizer
  8. Increasing room humidity can correct problems of capsules clinging to each other or plastic surfaces due to static electricity.

NOTE: It is important to take into consideration the compatibility between any excipients that will be used with the static powders.

Tip #2: Selection of Suppository Base as a Function of Desired Release Rate of Drug

The following table provides a general summary of the relationship between drug solubility, property of suppository base and drug release rate:

Drug Oily Base Water-Soluble/Miscible Base
Oil-Soluble Drug Slow release rate; poor escaping tendency Moderate release rate
Water-Soluble Drug / Miscible Drug Rapid release rate Moderate release rate; based on diffusion; all water soluble

Tip #3: Use of Dye to Ensure Homogeneity in Powder Preparations

View this instructional video about the appropriate technique for geometric dilution on the LP3 Network website.

Consider using a tracer dye when compounding powder preparations, as it is often difficult to visually inspect homogeneity in these types of preparations, especially if all of the ingredients are the same color.

  1. By adding a small amount of dye to serve as a tracer dye, this will allow the compounder to visually inspect the final preparation for homogeneity:
    • If the color is evenly distributed, it can be assumed that homogeneity is achieved.
    • If there are sections of more concentrated dye and uneven color, it can be assumed that homogeneity was not achieved.
  2. The use of tracer dye can also be used to validate various equipment and methods of mixing to determine the most effective method.
  3. Tracer dyes can also be used for stock powder blends, especially those containing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that have a narrow therapeutic index.

Tip #4: Steps to Effectively Triturate a Powder

View this instructional video about the appropriate technique for triturating powders on the LP3 Network website.

Many bulk API powders are becoming more readily available in a micronized form. The reduction in particle size allows for increased solubility or better incorporation into an emulsion of the finished compounded preparation. For APIs that are not available in a micronized form, the compounder can use trituration methods to reduce the particle size of the powder ingredients. The following steps should be followed to effectively triturate a powder:

  1. Place the desired powder into a mortar and pestle.:
  2. Firmly grip the pestle with one hand to apply adequate force to grind down the particle size and firmly grasp the mortar in place with the other hand.
  3. Apply sufficient force against the sides and bottom of the mortar while stirring the powder.
    • This allows for the grinding of the powder between the mortar and pestle.
  4. Continue mixing and grinding until a fine homogeneous powder results.

Tip #5: Correct Weighing Technique

View this instructional video about correct weighing technique on the LP3 Network website.

Correctly weighing ingredients is not only essential for the proper composition and dosage of the final compounded preparation but is also important to avoid unnecessary waste of the ingredients in the weighing process. One way to minimize errors and unnecessary waste is by the correct use and handling of a lab scoopula. Following the tips below can help compounders perfect their weighing technique and manipulation of powdered ingredients.

  1. It is very difficult to only drop a small amount of powder into your weigh boat when your hand is holding the far end of the scoopula.
    • When you use your index finger and tap the scoopula, the scoopula experiences a large range of movement and this leads to having less control of the quantity of powder that falls into the weigh boat. This flawed technique makes it very easy to add too much powder into the weigh boat and overshoot the desired weight value.
  2. If you move your hand down the length of the scoopula so that it is closer to the powder, you will have more control of the scoopula.
    • Now when you lightly tap your index finger against the scoopula, there is less movement and, in turn, more control of the scoopula. This will allow a smaller amount of powder to fall into your weighing container.
  3. If you feel more comfortable holding the scoopula at the far end, you can use your second hand to lightly tap the hand holding the scoopula. Once again, this allows for more controlled movement so that you can slowly add powder into your weigh boat.

Once you have added your powder, always remember to fully close your draft shield, step away from the balance and let the weight reading settle to get an accurate reading on your balance.

Tip #6: Leveling an Electronic Balance

View this instructional video about leveling a balance on the LP3 Network website

Among many daily tasks that compounders must complete, one of the most crucial involves making sure the balance is level prior to performing any calibration steps. In order to properly level a balance, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Select the most suitable location for your electronic balance and make sure it is on a level surface.
    • An unlevel balance can produce incorrect weight readings leading to weighing either too much or too little of your ingredients.
  2. The level indicator of the electronic balance indicates the balance is level when the air bubble is within the circle on the indicator; ideally when it is perfectly centered in the middle of the circle.
  3. Every electronic balance will have either two or four adjustable feet that will allow you to modify the height of the balance to compensate for any minor imperfections of the countertop.
    • To decrease the height of the balance feet, you would turn the feet counterclockwise and to increase the height of the balance feet, you would turn the feet clockwise.
    • Begin with all the feet at the lowest position and check the position of the air bubble in the level indicator. The position of the air bubble will let you know how the balance height needs to be adjusted. The location of the air bubble will indicate whether or not the front or back feet, as well as the left or right side needs to be adjusted.

Using these simple guidelines, compounders can adjust the feet of the electronic balance to ensure it is level according to the level indicator. Once this has been completed, calibrations of the electronic balance begin. Compounders should always consult the user manual for any manufacturer/model specific information.


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