Azathioprine is an immunosuppressant that's often used to treat children with bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Azathioprine is available in tablet form, but many children struggle to swallow tablets. Additionally, the tablets are available in only a few different strengths, which are tailored toward adult usage. This can cause a problem when trying to administer the correct dose to a child because the therapeutic dosage will change as your child grows. As azathioprine is cytotoxic, you should never break a tablet into pieces, so a child's dosage cannot be made up of half or quarter tablets.
Using a compounding pharmacy can improve your child's willingness to take their daily medication. A compounding pharmacy is licenced to alter the ingredients and dosage form of prescription medication, and this enables medicines to be tailored to the needs of the individual. You should never alter medication yourself at home, as you may dilute the concentration of the active ingredient. Here's an overview of how a compounding pharmacy can improve your child's azathioprine prescription:
Change The Form
Azathioprine can be ground into a powder in a pharmaceutical mortar and suspended in an oral solution. One benefit of this is the dosage can be altered very easily, so your child can get the exact dose they need rather than having to take slightly too much or too little when using the tablet form of the drug, which, as mentioned above, is only available in a few different strengths. Additionally, liquids are easier for children to take, and the oral solution can be taken neat from a spoon or syringe or mixed with a drink.
Medicines don't tend to taste very good, and while adults understand the benefit of taking their medication regardless of the taste, children often don't. This can create stress for parents, but children are inclined to be happier about taking their medicine when it tastes pleasant. When azathioprine is compounded into an oral solution, the pharmacist can add flavouring, such as strawberry or banana, to disguise the taste of the medicine and encourage kids to take it without the daily battle many parents will be only too familiar with. The pharmacist will discuss the flavours they have available, and your child can try out different flavours until they find one they like.
Your child's specialist bowel disease nurse or GP can give you a list of the pharmacies in your area that offer compounding services. Simply give them your child's prescription a few days before their current supply of azathioprine runs out, as these pharmacies usually cover large geographical areas and can be busy.