Our last blog post talked about compounding pharmacy, what it is all about and the safety of compounded drugs. As the name suggests, compounding pharmacy combines or alters drugs to produce a specific medication to meet the exact needs of a patient. Compounding pharmacists also use the ingredients used to formulate standard and mass-produced over-the-counter medicines; the only difference is they change the form, add or remove some of the ingredients, or recreate a drug when it’s no longer commercially available. These tailor-made drugs are prescribed by healthcare providers and prepared in licensed pharmacies.
What Compounding Pharmacies Can Do For You
Despite of the benefits of compounding, not many people are aware of it. After all, doctors usually prescribe drugs that can be bought from regular pharmacies. Why would any patient need drugs prepared by compounding pharmacies? Here are some situations where you might need compounded medications:
- You are allergic to a certain ingredient in the manufactured drug
- The prescribed medicine is no longer available in the market
- Your child cannot tolerate the flavor of the drug
- The patient can only take the medicine in liquid form but it’s only available in tablets or capsules
- The patient needs a specific dose of the drug that’s not being produced commercially
The main benefit of compounding is it saves you the difficulty of having to suffer through your illness while you wait for the right medicine. In some circumstances where time is of the essence, compounded drugs may save your life. With compounding pharmacies, you have the assurance that you will be able to get the right medicine when you need it most.
If a prescribed medicine is no longer being commercially produced or is not available in regular pharmacies, a compounding pharmacy can recreate it for you. This addresses the problem of unique medical cases that affect only an extremely small percentage of the population.
Medicines sold over the counter over the counter come in specific doses based on averages to save on costs—to the detriment of some patients. If you need a higher or a lower dose version of the drug that is not commercially available, compounding pharmacies can help solve this problem as they can adjust the medicine’s dosage and strength.
Compounding pharmacies may also alter the form of the medicine. If a patient is unable to take the medicine in the commercially available capsule or tablet form, compounding pharmacists can make the same drug in liquid form. They can also change its taste, a service that can be useful for kids or pets who cannot tolerate the taste of manufactured drugs.
Allergies to specific ingredients can also be addressed. Compounding pharmacies can take away ingredients, sweeteners or artificial coloring and recreate the drug without reducing its effectiveness.
Knowledge is Power
Why should the existence of compounding pharmacies matter to you? When it comes to health, being aware of all the possible options that you have allows you to make better decisions. Knowing the compounding pharmacies in your area can prove useful especially when you or your loved one becomes faced with a situation where a needed medication cannot be bought over the counter.
While there are risks that come with compounded drugs, it is worth noting that these pharmacies are regulated by state boards of pharmacy and in 2013, the US FDA has also started taking steps to regulate them. The benefits outweigh the risks in many ways. Ask your healthcare practitioner about compounded drugs and go for reputable and licensed compounding pharmacies. The best ones will be able to provide you with all the information you need.