Have you ever wondered why every prescription you fill has that cryptic emblem "Rx" on it?

Sweetgrass Pharmacy and Compunding

These letters are shorthand for the Latin command "recipere" which means to take certain ingredients and mix them together for the patient in question.

Once upon a time, all pharmacists assembled, or compounded, all of their own “recipes.” Slowly, throughout the 20th century, drug companies began providing pharmacists with pre-compounded medications, until, by the 1970s, hardly anyone was creating customized, individually tailored prescription drugs.

Today, only a tiny fraction of pharmacies compound their own medications. Sweetgrass Pharmacy is among them.

Owned and operated by Cynthia Reich, PharmaD, MBA, Sweetgrass opened its doors at The Shoppes at Seaside Farms last November but has already established itself as the go-to place for patients seeking both individualized compounds and more standard medications, known in the trade as “retail” meds.

In fact, at Sweetgrass, patients can find not only prescriptions designed and formulated specifically for them but the entire spectrum of drugs that are available at the chain and big-box pharmacies. What that patient won’t find there are greeting card racks, frozen food refrigerators, candy counters and endless displays of products labeled “As Seen on TV!”

That’s because Sweetgrass is a pharmacy, first and foremost. As Marketing Director Gracia Triplett put it, “We think of ourselves much like the old-fashioned apothecary. We offer specialized attention to each person we serve. Patient care is our priority.”

And that patient care extends to the entire family, including the very young, the very old and those family members with ... tails!

Pharmacist-in-Charge Reich noted that for children who find it difficult to take their medications, she can provide them in unique delivery systems such as lollipops pops and gummy bears. Seniors and others who cannot tolerate powerful pain prescriptions can have pain relievers formulated into topical creams or lotions that are absorbed through the skin, lessening side effects that include drowsiness and nausea. And difficult dogs and finicky cats won’t mind swallowing their meds when they are reformulated with flavors and scents they find appealing.

People often associate compounding pharmacies with hormone replacement therapy treatment, which isn’t a bad assumption because the formulation of hormone replacement therapies is a service they offer. But Sweetgrass Pharmacy can provide much more than estrogen and testosterone compounds, including treatments for thyroid conditions and weight management.

A South Carolina native, Reich earned her bachelor’s at Clemson University and her doctorate in Pharmacy from the Medical University of South Carolina. She also holds an MBA from The Citadel. Before opening Sweetgrass Pharmacy & Compounding, she served as director of pharmacy for a large Louisiana hospital and as an inspector for the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy. She and her husband, Josh Feldman, and their children live in Mount Pleasant.

“At Sweetgrass, our goal is to go back in significant ways to what the neighborhood drugstore used to be,” Reich said. “We work closely with physicians – and veterinarians – to put the patient first. When we focus on our patients and their outcomes, everything else falls into place.”

Even that mysterious “Rx” you’ll still find on each and every prescription you fill.

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