What is Compounding?
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for patients.
Its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy, but has declined as mass drug manufacturing radically has expanded. While mass production of a drug helps more people receive their medication, there are still patients whose needs are not met and need a customized approach that compounding provides.
The difference between compounding and a traditional pharmacy is that compounding develops custom medications that solve specific needs relative to each customer. We work with not only with our patients but also with other prescribers to choose the best therapy for you to use.
If someone is unable to take medicine orally (perhaps due to nausea or size of the medication), we can play the medication into a transdermal gel, allowing the medicine to be absorbed through the skin.
If someone can’t take commercial medicine because it contains certain dyes, sugars, alcohols, or lactose, we can compound a medication without the problem causing additive.
These are but two of many examples of how we can help patients receive their necessary medications without any problems specific to their situation.
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How does compounding benefit me?
With a physician’s consent, a compounding pharmacist can:
- Adjust the strength of a medication
- Avoid unwanted ingredients, such as dyes, preservative, lactose, gluten, or sugar.
- Add flavor to make the medication more palatable.
- Prepare medications using unique systems such as flavored liquids instead of capsules, topical gels or creams that can be absorbed through the skin.
Is compounding legal? Is it safe?
Compounding has been part of healthcare since the origins of pharmacy, and is widely used today in all areas of the industry, from hospitals, to zoos and nuclear medicine. Over the last few decades, compounding’s resurgence has benefited largely from advances in technology, quality control and research methodology. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that compounded prescriptions are both ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and compounded by a licensed pharmacy. In addition, compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy.
Will my insurance cover compounded medications?
Some insurance plans allow the patient to be reimbursed by sending in claim forms. While you may be paying a pharmacy directly for a compounded prescription, many insurance plans may cover the final cost.
Is compounding expensive?
Compounding may or may not cost more than conventional medication. Its costs depends on factors such as the type of ingredients and equipment required, plus the time the pharmacist spends researching and preparing the medication. Fortunately, compounding pharmacists have access to pure-grade quality chemicals which dramatically lower overall costs and allow them to be very competitive with commercially manufactured products.
What kinds of prescriptions can be compounded?
Almost any kind! Compounded prescriptions are ideal for any patient requiring unique dosages and/or delivery devices.
Compounding applications can include:
- Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy
- Household Pets
- Zoo care
- Otic (for the ear)
- Medication flavoring
- Sports medicine
- Wound therapy
- And many more…