Pharmacy Professors Receive Grant to Study Beyond-Use Date of Compounding Drugs

Published on May 10, 2017 by Olivia Odom  
arnold gorman

The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists provided Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy with a $10,000 grant for research directed by associate professor John Arnold and professor Gregory Gorman. 

The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists is an organization that advocates for compounding pharmacists and financially supports compounding research. The grant was given in 2013. A one-year time extension was requested and granted in order for Arnold and Gorman to conduct additional studies. 

Arnold and Gorman worked with research associate Lori Coward and 2015 alumnus Simara Sokom to study the beyond-use date for compounded topical gels containing multiple active drugs. Individual drugs have an expiration date, in which the drug is not necessarily harmful, but it no longer has the same effect. As a result, the patient is no longer receiving the treatment needed. 

The issue that arises with compounding drugs is that with 3–5 different drugs involved, more research is needed to know on how long a compounded drug is effective. 

“One of the things we try to do as faculty and scientists at a pharmacy school is to do research that will be translatable to clinical situations that compounding pharmacists run into in the community,” said Arnold. “These are people who are always looking for data. Pharmacists want to make patients feel better. They don’t want to sell them something that does not work.” 

The team’s research investigated how chemically and physically stable a compound is, since it contains more than one drug, and they conducted beyond-use date testing to provide more data on how long different compounds are effective.   

Compounding pharmacists use standards established by the United States Pharmacopeia, and for this study, Arnold and Gorman used guideline USP 795 for nonsterile compounding. It provides information on a drug’s stability, and it often recommends a beyond-use date of 14 days, but this is not always accurate. 

This study found what Arnold and Gorman expected: combining drugs alters the stability. Through their research, the team is now able to provide more data that compounding pharmacists can use to have more accurate and precise information on how long different compounds are effective. 

Olivia Odom is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the College of Health Sciences.

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