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Compounding This Week Newsletter from
Our Compounding Knowledge, Your Peace of Mind
April 1, 2022  |  Volume 19  |  Issue 13
Loyd V. Allen, Jr., Ph.d., R.Ph Letter from the Editor
Pharmaceutical Compounding Errors, Part 10

Classification, Description, and Prevention of Errors

Compounding errors can be divided into the following categories:

  • General Errors,
  • Incorrect Ingredients,
  • Incorrect Concentration,
  • Incorrect Use of Equipment,
  • Physicochemical Issues,
  • Microbiological Contamination,
  • Analytical Testing Issues,
  • Microbiological Testing Issues, and
  • Miscellaneous Errors.

We will continue to look at errors using the format or subject-headings of "Error Type," "Description," and "Avoiding the Error."


Error Type Description Avoiding the Error
Brittle suppositories and medication sticks Suppositories and medication sticks can be brittle and break easily, resulting in loss of the preparation. Brittleness is often caused by excessive powder in the suppository or medication stick. In many cases, reduce the powder quantity or incorporate a liquid that is miscible with the base.
Oils floating on top of oral or topical liquids Oils have been reported to be floating on top of liquids, both oral and topical. When used, there is a very strong flavor or odor. Floating oil occurs when an oil is added to an aqueous preparation with no cosolvent or surfactant agent added to disperse it. Mix the oil with a solvent like propylene glycol or glycerin, or add a few drops of an oil-in -water surfactant.
Incorrect or insufficient cleaning of equipment Improper cleaning technique can result in use of dirty and contaminated equipment. Follow a strict SOP for cleaning different types of equipment. For example, clean items with water first, then with alcohol or suitable solvent. If alcohol is used first, it may precipitate proteins and so on that will be more difficult to remove because they will tend to stick to surfaces.
Excess heating When using a hot plate, initiating heat at too high a level can result in boilover and loss of preparation. Calibrate the hot plate so a compounder knows the approximate temperature of the container contents at different dial settings on the hot plate. Microwaves should not be used unless the preparation has been demonstrated to be suitable. If used, a carousel type microwave should be used to minimize hot spots.

Loyd V. Allen, Jr., PhD, RPh

International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding
Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy Twenty-second edition


Did You Know (On Errors)...

...the following?

"An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth in it." (Henri Frederic Amiel; Amiel's Journal: 1883)


Thought of the Week (On Errors and Fools)

"However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him." (Nicholas Boileau)

"No error is so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men." (Lord Acton: 1881)

"Ridicule is the first and last argument of fools." (C. Simmons)


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