‘Compounding’ may be possible alternative to Tamiflu

FILE -- This Wednesday, March 15, 2006 file photo shows the antiviral drug Tamiflu. (AP Photo/Michael Probst/file)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – With so many flu cases, Tamiflu is in top demand. But what if you can’t find or take it? There is one possible solution.

It’s a decades old pharmaceutical practice called “compounding.”

When News Channel 8 stopped by the Davis Islands Pharmacy, Kathy Maguire was picking up her Tamiflu prescription.

Pharmacist Bob Bobo says it’s a wise choice.

“It does cut the severity down and it does cut the duration,” he said.

As of now, he doesn’t know of any shortage of the brand name version in the Tampa Bay area.

“It is available,” he said. “The generic, there is a shortage of. We have plenty of it on the shelf, though.”

But for some patients, Tamiflu isn’t an option and that’s why compounding can be an alternative.

“Compounding is usually used to get an exact dose. Possibly to get rid of something someone is allergic to for a different route of administration if they can’t swallow pills,” Bobo said.

In that case, a licensed pharmacist combines, mixes or alters a drug’s ingredients to create a tailored medication, topical or even suppository.

“I hear some pharmacies are doing it because it’s less expensive. But the brand is available and we’re not supposed to compound when it’s available,” he said.

As for Maguire, she was just eager to get home and take her Tamiflu.

“I’ll do anything to shorten the duration,” she said.

The local availability of Tamiflu fluctuates, so be sure to call multiple pharmacies to see who has it in stock.

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