Long-time compounding pharmacy Liggett’s is leaving Lugoff and Kershaw County to relocate and merge with Landy’s Pharmacy on Clemson Road in Columbia.
“The pharmacist that’s buying Liggett already has an existing pharmacy. She is a pharmacist with a compounding lab and is doing compounding now,” Liggett Pharmacy owner Dr. Charles Smith said.
Smith said he plans to retire, but will continue to work for the next few months as Liggett’s transitions with Landy’s.
“I will probably be working full time for several months until the transition, to do some training of the Landy’s Pharmacy staff, getting things arranged and organized. There are a lot of formulas I have developed over the years that need to be incorporated into what she does,” Smith said. “The compounding tech I’ve had many years will also transfer and will be working for her full time.”
Smith has been in the pharmacy business for the past 43 years, his concentration in compounding pharmaceuticals.
“We make the actual prescription drugs on site and the reason we would do that is to solve a problem,” he said.
According to Smith, problems can range from difficulty taking medicine to needing an exact, precise measurement of a medication.
“If you had a child that needs an antibiotic in a liquid form because they can’t swallow a tablet, but the only way it comes is as a manufactured tablet with the strength of 250 mg ... we could make that antibiotic into a liquid and into a 50 mg dose that the child could take,” Smith said.
He said doctors or individuals might also seek the assistance of a compounding pharmacist to help with unsuccessful pain management.
“We also do pain management ... usually with pain gels that often contain multiple ingredients so we are attacking pain by a number of different mechanisms,” Smith explained. “For example someone with back pain may be getting a pain gel with an anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxant and a drug that stabilizes the nerve that transmit pain impulses.”
Smith has also worked with vets in compounding medication for animals.
“We do a lot of veterinary compounding. Have you ever tried to get a pill into a cat? There will be blood, not the cat’s. Can you imagine trying to get a pill down twice a day for the rest of the cat’s life? Not easy. So we make a transdermal gel … rubbed in the ear. There is a lot of blood supply in the ear and the cat can’t get it off. So that’s a very common one. So we do quite a few things in the ear, for cats,” Smith said also noting he commonly makes liquid compounding for dogs.
Looking back on his career, Smith said his greatest achievement is helping to relieve pain of hospice patients.
“Probably the greatest enjoyment I’ve had is working with the hospice patients who often have pretty significant pain issues. Especially when they lose the ability to swallow and we are able to do some things that alleviate the pain,” Smith said.
Smith said pain alleviation can make a patient’s last moments peaceful.
He said the gels he compounds also work very well in helping manage pain in patients who have lost control of their swallowing.
“If they can’t swallow, we put (the medicine) in a transdermal gel which works very nicely. They don’t have to get the patient to swallow, they can apply it even when the patient is asleep to keep it in the system,” he saidl. “There was a patient who was severely nauseated and not able to eat, losing weight, losing strength, losing the battle and we used a transdermal gel and were able to stop the nausea. He was able to begin eating again and gain his strength back.”
Anyone can seek consultation from a compound pharmacist whether through a doctor or personally.
“Sometimes, a physician or vet will write a prescription for a compound or they will call and say, ‘This is what I would like to do, can it be done?’ Other times the patient comes in and says ‘I’ve been having a problem, I’ve been taking things that have not helped’ …we can do research and make a recommendation,” Smith said.