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Jonathan Sachs
January 27th 06, 10:12 PM
I have two cats who each receive one or more medications that must be
prepared (not just dispensed) by a pharmacist. The pharmacist's labor
makes these medications very expensive -- $50/month or more EACH.

Our internist suggested that I could save money by preparing some of
these medications myself if I get a scale that can measure milligrams.
I wonder whether anyone here has experience with preparing drugs that
way, and can advise me on what to look for or avoid: features,
particular brands, whatever.

I looked on eBay and found two general types of scales that might be
appropriate.

One is an electronic jeweler's scale. I can get a new one for
$50-$60. Here's a URL for a typical example:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5082080701

The other is an electronic laboratory scale. This is much more
expensive, typically around $350 new. An example:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7584280381

Comments; suggestions?

My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

William Hamblen
January 28th 06, 01:47 PM
On 2006-01-27, Jonathan Sachs > wrote:

> The other is an electronic laboratory scale. This is much more
> expensive, typically around $350 new. An example:
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7584280381

A chemical balance will be more useful. You can adjust for tare
and they are made to work in a harsher environment. Shop around.

--
The night is just the shadow of the Earth.

Jonathan Sachs
January 28th 06, 08:50 PM
On Sat, 28 Jan 2006 07:47:03 -0600, William Hamblen
> wrote:

>A chemical balance will be more useful. You can adjust for tare
>and they are made to work in a harsher environment. Shop around.

Most of these electronic scales are described as balances, although
it's not clear to me what that implies about their mechanisms. Do you
mean a traditional beam balance? I am not aware of any whose
precision exceeds 0.01 g. Where should I look for such an instrument?

My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

NMR
January 28th 06, 08:53 PM
"Jonathan Sachs" > wrote in message
...
> On Sat, 28 Jan 2006 07:47:03 -0600, William Hamblen
> > wrote:
>
>>A chemical balance will be more useful. You can adjust for tare
>>and they are made to work in a harsher environment. Shop around.
>
> Most of these electronic scales are described as balances, although
> it's not clear to me what that implies about their mechanisms. Do you
> mean a traditional beam balance? I am not aware of any whose
> precision exceeds 0.01 g. Where should I look for such an instrument?
>
> My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

any medical supply shop should have one

Jonathan Sachs
January 28th 06, 09:52 PM
On Sat, 28 Jan 2006 20:53:04 GMT, "NMR"
> wrote:


>>Do you
>> mean a traditional beam balance? I am not aware of any whose
>> precision exceeds 0.01 g. Where should I look for such an instrument?
>
>any medical supply shop should have one

With respect, that seems improbable. The web site for Ohaus (the only
"brand name" beam balance manufacturer I have found) does not mention
such instruments. None are listed on eBay. Nor did I find one on any
of several laboratory supply web sites I checked.

I responded to the previous post from the assumption that the poster
knows about something rather exotic and difficult to find. Another
possibility is that no such thing exists.

My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

Matthew Venhaus
January 29th 06, 12:48 AM
"Jonathan Sachs" > wrote in message
...
>
> Our internist suggested that I could save money by preparing some of
> these medications myself if I get a scale that can measure milligrams.
> I wonder whether anyone here has experience with preparing drugs that
> way, and can advise me on what to look for or avoid: features,
> particular brands, whatever.
>
Try a tobacco shop and realize that these are considered drug paraphernalia
and may raise an eyebrow.

Phil P.
January 29th 06, 05:21 AM
"Jonathan Sachs" > wrote in message
...
> I have two cats who each receive one or more medications that must be
> prepared (not just dispensed) by a pharmacist. The pharmacist's labor
> makes these medications very expensive -- $50/month or more EACH.
>
> Our internist suggested that I could save money by preparing some of
> these medications myself if I get a scale that can measure milligrams.
> I wonder whether anyone here has experience with preparing drugs that
> way, and can advise me on what to look for or avoid: features,
> particular brands, whatever.
>
> I looked on eBay and found two general types of scales that might be
> appropriate.
>
> One is an electronic jeweler's scale. I can get a new one for
> $50-$60. Here's a URL for a typical example:
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5082080701
>
> The other is an electronic laboratory scale. This is much more
> expensive, typically around $350 new. An example:
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7584280381
>
> Comments; suggestions?


Which type of medications are you talking about? If the drugs have a narrow
safety margin, it would be well worth the extra expense for pharmacist.

You could probably pick up an AWS MiniPro-30 for less than $200. Usually,
the more accurate, the more expensive.

Phil

Jonathan Sachs
January 29th 06, 02:57 PM
On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 05:21:26 GMT, "Phil P." >
wrote:

>Which type of medications are you talking about? If the drugs have a narrow
>safety margin, it would be well worth the extra expense for pharmacist.
>
>You could probably pick up an AWS MiniPro-30 for less than $200. Usually,
>the more accurate, the more expensive.

The compounded drugs they're getting at present are Cytotec, Tylan,
and cisapride (Propulsid). I don't think any of these have a low
safety margin.

One of the cats is getting piroxicam, which does have a low safety
margin, and I wouldn't compound that myself, even if the doctor would
let me (I didn't ask).

I've tentatively decided to get an Acculab VIC-123 or VIC-303. Both
are precise to 1 mg. The 123 has a capacity of 120 g and can be
bought for about $250. The 303 has a capacity of 300 g and can be
bought for about $300. The 303 is attractive because it provides good
overlap with my postal scale (precise to 10 g), and that might come in
handy in the future.

The MiniPro-30 looks very similar to the VIC-123 except that it is
cheaper, it has less capacity, and it can run on batteries. It is
certainly a possibility too. I'm going to see if I can find
information about the two brands' accuracy, reliability, and general
construction quality.

My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

J. dvm
January 29th 06, 08:56 PM
"Jonathan Sachs" > wrote in message
...
>
> The compounded drugs they're getting at present are Cytotec, Tylan,
> and cisapride (Propulsid). I don't think any of these have a low
> safety margin.
>
I wonder if you really need a weigh scale. Tylan is very safe, I usually
prescribe it at 1/8th of teaspoon feeling quite comfortable knowing that
this cannot be measured accurately. If you compound propulsid and cytotec
into a liquid suspension then there is nothing to weigh, the tablets provide
a very precise quantity of medication. You can use syringes to measure the
volume of liquid added. You would want a good, nonporous mortar and pestle
and you should be familiar with the technique of serial dilutions used in
compounding suspensions (basically this involves starting by thoroughly
mixing the powder with a small amount of suspending agent and then repeating
with increasing amounts of suspending agent).
You would need to find out what would be an appropriate suspending agent
for these medications. Pharmacists have books with this information and
perhaps it is available on the internet. Before veterinary compounding
pharmacists came on the scene I would often have to compound my own
suspensions for my pocket pet patients. For a suspending agent I used those
syrups from the grocery store used for mixing drinks. Technically this
would only be appropriate for medications that should be compounded with
'simple syrup'. You could also check out flavorx.com . This company makes
flavoured suspending agents for compounding.

Compounding capsules would be much more complicated and would require a
weigh scale. I'd probably leave that to the pharmacists.

J. dvm

Jonathan Sachs
January 30th 06, 03:36 AM
On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 15:56:28 -0500, "J. dvm" >
wrote:

>I wonder if you really need a weigh scale. Tylan is very safe, I usually
>prescribe it at 1/8th of teaspoon feeling quite comfortable knowing that
>this cannot be measured accurately. If you compound propulsid and cytotec
>into a liquid suspension then there is nothing to weigh, the tablets provide
>a very precise quantity of medication....
>
> Compounding capsules would be much more complicated and would require a
>weigh scale. I'd probably leave that to the pharmacists.

I appreciate the professional experience you can bring to this topic,
but it still appears to me that the scale is a better approach (for
me).

Some drugs have a limited useful life when dissolved, so that I might
have to throw away most of each batch I mix up. I could avoid that by
mixing smaller batches, but that would greatly increase the amount of
work required. (Information on suspension life seems to be hard to
find. I did not see any in the drug information pages I found on the
Web.)

And of course I can't predict the suspension life of other drugs I may
have to give in the future.

Nor can I assume that those other drugs will either be very safe, like
Tylan, or come in tablet form and have an acceptable flavor when
prepared as a suspension. And I would always wonder whether any given
drug that is "very safe" is actually safe for my cats, who both have
impaired renal function, and can be expected to develop more problems
over time.

I'm comfortable with paying $250 or so for a laboratory scale. In the
short run, I can recoup the cost through what I will save in two or
three months of use. In the long run, I can recover much of it by
reselling the scale, or I can use the scale for other purposes. I
used to make wine, and would like to do so again; a precision scale
would be nice to have if I do.

Regarding complexity, I don't see the problem. Perhaps, from
experience, you can make this clearer. On one hand, I can prepare a
liquid suspension by powdering some tablets and performing a serial
dilution, then administer it by drawing a measured volume into a
syringe, putting it in the cat's mouth and hoping it all stays in, and
cleaning the syringe. On the other hand, I can powder some tablets and
put a measured amount of powder in each capsule, then administer it by
popping a capsule into the cat's mouth, followed by some water.

The capsule approach seems no more complex than the suspension
approach, and perhaps a little less so, but the labor is weighted more
toward the preparation end of things, and less toward administration.
When I have to administer four different drugs on a weekday morning,
I'll appreciate that.

Space permitting, I can combine drugs that are to be given at the same
time in a single capsule, simplifying the process further for both me
and the cats. On weekday mornings I'll appreciate that, too.

The one difficulty I foresee with capsule preparation is how to get
tiny amounts of powder into tiny capsules efficiently and reliably. I
have never seen a funnel small enough to fit into a #3 capsule, and if
I had one, I would expect the powder to cling to the walls or plug up
the neck.

My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

rrb
January 30th 06, 03:54 AM
Jonathan Sachs wrote:
> I have two cats who each receive one or more medications that must be
> prepared (not just dispensed) by a pharmacist. The pharmacist's labor
> makes these medications very expensive -- $50/month or more EACH.
>
> Our internist suggested that I could save money by preparing some of
> these medications myself if I get a scale that can measure milligrams.
> I wonder whether anyone here has experience with preparing drugs that
> way, and can advise me on what to look for or avoid: features,
> particular brands, whatever.
>
> I looked on eBay and found two general types of scales that might be
> appropriate.
>
> One is an electronic jeweler's scale. I can get a new one for
> $50-$60. Here's a URL for a typical example:
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5082080701
>
> The other is an electronic laboratory scale. This is much more
> expensive, typically around $350 new. An example:
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7584280381
>
> Comments; suggestions?
>
> My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.

So how many medications do they get for a month and how much do they
cost total per month?

Jonathan Sachs
January 30th 06, 01:59 PM
On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 19:54:00 -0800, rrb > wrote:

>So how many medications do they get for a month and how much do they
>cost total per month?

Not all of the following information is relevant, but it will give you
some idea what I'm dealing with. Between them, the two cats get 18 or
19 different doses of solid drugs per day, depending on the day. By
"compounding" my own capsules from the tablets that I can use whole,
or break into halves or quarters with my fingers, I combine those into
12 or 13 capsules. If I could compound the three additional drugs that
I would have to weigh, I could probably reduce the count to 7 or 8
capsules.

I calculated that those three drugs cost me about $150/month. By
compounding them myself I could reduce their cost by about 90%.

My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.