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What is Compounding?

Ever wished your child’s cough medicine tasted better? Ever dealt with messy pill-splitters because your medication doesn’t come in the dosage you need? Maybe your elderly parent has trouble swallowing and could use a medication in liquid form instead of a giant pill, or you would prefer to take one pill instead of three. Compounding allows you to get the medication you need in the formulation and dosage you require – even when the manufacturer only makes it available in one form.

Simply put, compounding is the science of preparing customized medications. Until the 1950s, the majority of prescriptions were compounded. When mass drug manufacturing became the norm, many patients found themselves without the precise medications they needed. In recent years, modern technology and new techniques have allowed more and more pharmacists to once again offer compounded medications.

Why Should I Try Compounded Medications?

If you have been prescribed a medication which contains an ingredient that doesn’t agree with you (common offenders are preservatives and dyes), or you need a non-standard dosage, you may find a compounded prescription makes it possible to get exactly what you need.

What Customization Can Compounding Pharmacies Perform?

  • Adjust the dosage of your medication.
  • Eliminate ingredients, such as dyes, preservative, lactose, gluten, or sugar.
  • Add flavoring to liquid medications.
  • Prepare medications using unique delivery systems. For patients who find it difficult to swallow a capsule, a compounding pharmacist may prepare the drug as a flavored liquid suspension instead. Other medication forms include topical gels or creams that can be absorbed through the skin, suppositories, sublingual troches, or even lollipops.

Are Compounded Medications Suitable for Children and the Elderly?

Yes! Children and the elderly can benefit greatly from using compounded medications.

If you’re tired of the battle when it comes time for your kids to take their medicine, make it something they look forward to, instead! Our pharmacists can help you choose a flavoring agent that will appeal to your kids and make medicine time fun!

Some older patients who deal with chronic pain have a hard time tolerating pain medications due to gastrointestinal side effects. In this case, a topical preparation may be customized so that it can instead be absorbed through the skin. Other commonly-compounded prescriptions for the elderly are designed to ease pain, nausea and other conditions experienced by those on hospice.

Is Compounding Safe?

Compounding has been around since the beginning of healthcare and is widely used today, even in hospital settings. Advances in technology, quality control and research have again made compounding a safe and readily available way for patients to get the drugs they need. Compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy and the FDA has stated that compounded prescriptions, when prescribed by a licensed physician and filled by a licensed pharmacy are both ethical and legal.

Does Insurance Cover Compounded Medications? Is Compounding Expensive?

Sometimes. Often you will pay the cost up front and then send in a claim for to your insurance company. If you are not sure if your plan covers compounded drugs, please ask us!

Compounding may not cost any more than mass-produced medications. The type of equipment and ingredients required, as well as the time required for research and preparation will influence cost.

What Prescriptions Can Be Compounded?

Nearly any kind!
For example:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Medication for hospice care
  • Pediatric medicines
  • Medication for pain management
  • Dentistry
  • Otic (for the ear)
  • Dermatology
  • Medication flavoring
  • Neuropathy
  • Veterinary
  • Sports medicine
  • Infertility
  • Wound therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Gastroenterology
  • And many more!

Does my Doctor Know About Compounding?

Your physician may be aware of compounding in general without realizing the full extent of our capabilities. If you feel compounding could be of benefit to you or your family, mention it to your physician. You can even suggest that they call us and we will work directly with him or her to provide exactly what you need.