Topical Dosage Forms (Creams, Ointments, Gels & Lotions)

Topical Dosage FormsTopical dosage forms have been around for thousands of years, primarily to deliver a drug into the skin for various disorders. In more recent years, compounding pharmacists have compounded transdermal formulations as well. Whether to use a cream, ointment, gel, or lotion depends upon both the degree of skin penetration of the medication that is desired as well as the characteristics of the skin to which the product is being applied.

How do we compound your topical dosage form?

Click to enlarge

Weighing The Ingredients

The drug(s) to be incorporated is weighed out accurately on a prescription weigh scale. As well, the base(s) is accurately weighed.

Click to enlarge

Mixing The Drug and Base

For basic topical compounds, the drug is wetted with an appropriate liquid and is incorporated into the base either on an ointment slab or using a mortar and pestle. Occasionally, heating is necessary for some preparations. Mixing is continued until the product is uniform in nature. For transdermal preparations, an electronic mortar & pestle or an ointment mill is used to provide a product of the highest possible quality. This ensures maximum penetration of the drug.

Click to enlarge


Topical dosage forms are packaged in a variety of different storage containers, depending on the dosage form characteristics or patient preferences (ex. jars, bottles, tubes, lotion applicators, spray applicators, brush applicators). The product is labeled appropriately for the patient it was compounded for. Lot number and expiry date are noted and any special storage instructions are included.