Patients at Tackett Pharmacy in Willow Park may have noticed a big change inside the store this past year.
Owner Mark Tackett removed a few shelves that used to store merchandise in order to build a compounding lab inside the pharmacy.
According to the Professional Compounding Centers of America website, a compounding lab will work with patients and prescribers to give the pharmacist “the means to customize medication to meet the individual needs of each patient.”
And meeting the needs of patients is a top priority for Tackett, who has owned the pharmacy for nearly 30 years.
“We are trying to target people who are interested in a lifestyle change,” Tackett said. “We are trying to help the whole person.
“It’s definitely a team effort – the patient, doctor and pharmacist.”
Communicating with patients and the physicians they see is the key to keeping individuals healthy, Tackett said.
“That’s where we catch a lot of mistakes, just talking to (patients),” Tackett said.
When Tackett began considering the concept of a compounding lab, there was only one person he trusted – his friend, and former college roommate – David Morris.
As a pharmacist and former pharmacy owner, Morris can attest to the fact that Tackett has the right approach, and the best interest of his patients in mind.
“Mark has known some of these people for so long he can tell just by seeing them (they don’t feel right),” Morris said.
Morris, who owned several pharmacies in Oklahoma before relocating to Texas to be near his daughters, designed the lab for Tackett Pharmacy.
Compounding labs were popular back when pharmacies were actually called drug stores, Tackett said. But, with the movement of corporate pharmacies being established in nearly every city, compounding labs began to die out.
Unlike medication that is mass produced, compounding labs do not require FDA approval.
“The FDA approval process is intended for mass-produced drugs made by large manufacturers,” PCCA’s website states. “Because compounded medications are personalized for individual patients, it is not possible for each formulation to go through the FDA’s drug approval process, which takes years to complete and is prohibitively expensive, often costing hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Compounding labs do, however, have to comply with State Board of Pharmacy regulations for the state they operate in.
Morris said the advantage of a compounding lab is that it allows pharmacists to problem solve for their patients, whether the issue be an allergic reaction to dye in medications, an inability to swallow a pill or the taste of a medication, which is a common issue.
“We can make it taste much better,” Morris said. “I’ve been doing it for kids forever.”
Developing personalized medications for patients allows pharmacists to develop individual recipes.
“It’s a lot like cooking in your kitchen and making things from scratch,” Morris said.
In addition to prescription medications, the lab also develops items for nicotine addictions and sea sickness.
“We have something that is faster than dramamine,” Morris said.
Topical gels, which can be absorbed through the skin in 10 to 15 minutes, are also produced in the lab.
The measurement of the topical gels is so precise that each click of the bottle it is housed in delivers an exact dosage of medication, Morris said.
Another product Tackett Pharmacy is creating in its lab is a Rhus Tox poison ivy prevention medication, which helps prevent allergic reactions for individuals exposed to poison ivy.
“It’s been around for almost 100 years,” Morris said. “We had a couple of stores in Oklahoma and we started selling it.”
In order to get Rhus Tox in Texas, patients must have a prescription. But in Oklahoma, no prescription was needed and Morris said he saw a huge benefit for patients allergic to poison ivy.
Employees at the highway department in Oklahoma would take the medication and workers comp during the summer months was cut by nearly 80 percent, Morris said.
“I’ve seen dramatic effects with it,” Morris said.
The concept of poison ivy prevention dates back nearly 100 years, Morris said.
An article in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding by Michael F. Stein, RPh claims that people actually used to chew the leaves of the plants to prevent allergic reactions.
“Chewing the leaves of offending agents is a method of prevention that has been extolled for generations,” Stein wrote. “Allergenic extracts that contain offending antigens have been used for almost 90 years for the diagnosis and therapy of various allergic conditions.”
A study was done on nearly 75 people with a Rhus Tox solution in 2002. Only 56 of the patients were able to be contacted to confirm a poison ivy outbreak earlier that year.
“Of the 56 patients surveyed, 52 reported a reduced severity in symptoms associated with allergic contact dermatitis,” Stein wrote.
Even though the medication reduces the severity of outbreaks after exposure to poison ivy, it must be taken each year prior to the plant’s seasonal debut.
“Patients will always have to take it once a season,” Morris said. “Even if they do have a reaction, it will be much less severe than if they hadn’t taken the vaccine.”
Morris said the vaccine has minimal, if any, side effects on patients.
For more information on the compounding lab or Rhus Tox poison ivy prevention, call Tackett Pharmacy at 817-441-7046. Tackett also has a location inside of Super Save in Weatherford.