Compounding pharmacies are specialized pharmacies that create customized medications for patients. They differ from regular pharmacies in several key ways. Regular pharmacies provide mass-produced, FDA-approved medications in standard doses and forms like tablets, capsules, or liquids. Compounding pharmacies can customize medications by changing doses, combining drugs, or altering forms like making a liquid instead of a pill. This allows them to create personalized medications based on a patient’s individual needs.
While regular pharmacies serve most people well, some downsides make compounding pharmacies a better option for certain patients. Mass-produced medications only come in set doses and forms. This can be problematic if a patient needs a unique dose, has trouble swallowing pills, or is allergic to common drug ingredients. Compounding lets pharmacists make medications tailored to the patient.
Below are seven key reasons why a compounding pharmacy may be a better choice for some.
1. Compounding Pharmacies Can Produce Liquid Medications
Some patients have difficulty swallowing pills and capsules. That includes the elderly, pediatric patients and those with medical conditions specifically causing swallowing issues. Compounding pharmacies can provide an easy dosing option by making medications into pleasant-tasting liquids.
They can compound bitter pill forms into fruit-flavored syrups or suspensions that are easy to swallow. Liquid forms also allow flexible dose adjustment. Patients can take a fraction or multiples of a dose by measuring out the proper liquid quantity as needed. Overall, compounding liquids ensures patients who struggle with solid medications can still easily get the treatment they need.
2. Compounding Pharmacies Can Create Veterinary Medications
Many medications given to pets and other animals were originally formulated for human use. Since they weren’t made specifically for animals, these drugs can be tricky for veterinarians to work with. That’s where a compounding pharmacy like Apothecary & Co. in Oxford, MI, comes in. Such pharmacies can tweak medications to better suit an animal’s needs.
For example, they can add flavoring to make a medication more palatable for the animal. Pets are more likely to cooperate with taking a liver-flavored pill versus one with a bitter medicine taste. Compounding pharmacies can also adjust doses to account for differences in animal size and metabolism. This helps vets administer suitable and effective drug amounts.
Additionally, pharmacists can alter medication forms, like making a flavored liquid version instead of a pill, for ease of administration. Animals can’t take medications the same way people do. The services provided by a compounding pharmacy can thus be indispensable for vets aiming to customize drugs and doses so they can provide the best care for the furry, feathered, or scaled creature needing treatment.
3. Compounding Pharmacies Can Make Allergy-Friendly Medications
Some people are allergic to inactive ingredients commonly found in medications like dyes, preservatives, or binders. Compounding pharmacies can make allergy-friendly versions by excluding these problematic ingredients that trigger allergic reactions. For example, if a patient is allergic to the red dye often added to pills, the pharmacy can make a dye-free version. They can also compound medications using hypoallergenic ingredients for those with multiple drug allergies.
This customizability gives patients a way to get the treatments they need without risking an adverse allergic reaction. People often have to avoid taking certain medications because of known allergy triggers. With compounding, they don’t have to miss out on potentially beneficial treatments.
4. Compounding Pharmacies Can Make Exact Dosage Forms
At regular pharmacies, medications only come in set doses like 10mg, 25mg, or 50mg tablets. However, some patients need unconventional doses like 7mg, 13mg, or 125mg based on their age, size, or medical condition. Unfortunately, these exact doses aren’t commercially available in standard pharmacies.
Compounding pharmacies can create a custom dose by manually diluting or concentrating the drug, according to the patient’s prescribed dosage, and placing it in a capsule or solution. For example, they may add a certain amount of medication to an oral suspension to achieve the correct concentration.
This tailored dose-making allows patients to get the right amount of medication their bodies need. Getting too high or too low of a dose can cause problems or render treatments ineffective. Compounding removes the need to split tablets or approximate fractions of liquid medicine, methods that aren’t entirely accurate.
5. Compounding Can Provide a Cheaper Alternative
Getting multiple separate prescriptions filled at a regular pharmacy can get very expensive. The costs of each medication add up quickly. Compounding pharmacies offer a more budget-friendly option by combining multiple medications into one.
For example, someone taking separate heart medications could get them compounded into a single capsule. The patient saves money by just needing one prescription instead of paying for two or three. Compounding pharmacies can also substitute costly branded drugs with more affordable compounds containing the same active ingredients. Consider that you might only need a fraction of the number of pills an expensive prescription comes with, while the majority of your regimen consists of a much cheaper medication. With compounding, you can ensure you’re only paying for exactly what you need.
So, instead of getting the expensive brand version, patients can opt for the equally effective compound alternative. This is a great money-saving tactic for those paying for prescriptions out-of-pocket rather than having insurance cover costs.
6. Compounding Pharmacies Can Flavor Pediatric Medications
It’s no secret that kids hate taking medicine because of its taste. Their faces say it all when parents try to give them a dose. Compounding pharmacies can produce more kid-friendly versions by adding pleasant flavors like bubble gum, cherry, banana, or chocolate. A little flavoring can make a big difference in getting picky pediatric patients to cooperate.
Compounding pharmacies can also formulate medications into easy dosing forms for children, like oral suspensions instead of hard pills. Kids have an easier time taking bubble gum-flavored liquid from a spoon or dropper than a bitter pill.
7. Certain Skin Conditions Require Custom Medications
Conditions like eczema, psoriasis, flesh wounds, and infections need specialized topical medications tailored to the specific site and severity. Compounding pharmacies can make custom anti-inflammatory or antibiotic creams, gels, and ointments designed for the unique nature and nuances of a skin condition. This provides targeted relief that’s impossible to achieve with standard one-size-fits-all topicals from a regular pharmacy.
For example, a compounding pharmacy can produce a topical cream with ingredients aimed at reducing the scaling and itching of psoriasis. They can also whip up antibiotic gels designed to penetrate and treat deeper skin layers. Pharmacists can tweak bases, drug strengths, and additional ingredients to create the ideal formulation for each patient’s needs.
While regular pharmacies work for most people, compounding pharmacies offer solutions for patients not well-served by one-size-fits-all medications. By customizing dosing, forms, flavors, and ingredients, compounding provides personalized medications based on each patient’s needs. For those requiring allergy-friendly, exact dose, veterinary, and cost-effective medications, compounding pharmacies can be an invaluable healthcare resource.