What is compounding?

Compounding is when a physician orders a medication that is not manufactured or commercially available. A licensed pharmacist combines, mixes, flavors, or alters a drug for an individual patients needs.

What are the benefits of compounding?

Medications can be individualized to meet specific patient needs. The physician has more flexibility with regard to dosage, strength, and the route of administration. Concentrations can be changed or flavoring can be added to mask an unpleasant taste. Changing the route of administration can also eliminate side effects such as gastrointestinal distress. Almost all medications can be compounded with safety and effectiveness.

Compounding also has the advantage of providing medication that is tailored to a patient’s individual needs. If a patient has arthritis but cannot take a necessary medication because it causes gastrointestinal problems, our pharmacists can devise a transdermal gel to apply directly to the problem area. Compounding also allows us to customize medication to accommodate individual allergies and prevent side effects or allergic reactions.

Is compounding safe? Is it legal?

Compounding has been a part of health care since the origins of pharmacy. It is used widely today in multiple areas of the pharmaceutical industry, from hospital pharmacies to nuclear medicine labs. Over the last decade, compounding has resurged in the marketplace, largely benefited from advances in technology, quality control, and research. 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.

Is compounding expensive?

The cost of compounding depends on the type of dosage form and equipment required, plus the time spent researching and preparing the medication. It may or may not cost more than a commercially available medication. Fortunately, compounding pharmacists have access to pure-grade quality chemicals that can dramatically lower overall costs. We cannot compound dosages of medication that are currently available commercially and approved by the FDA unless the patient has allergies to the inactive ingredients.

Can any pharmacy compound?

Preparation of these custom medications requires chemicals and specialized equipment not available in most pharmacies. Along with technology, compound pharmacists have received additional training in compounding techniques. We work with a support network including other pharmacies, Ph.D. chemists, and research pharmacists to exchange ideas, innovations, and new techniques.

Does my doctor know about compounding?

Prescription compounding is a rapidly growing component of many physician practices. But in today’s world of aggressive marketing by drug manufacturers, some may not realize the extent of compounding resurgence in recent years. Ask your physician about compounding and get in touch with the compounding pharmacist to find out what can be done to meet your prescription needs.

Why is compounding not FDA approved?

Traditional compounding does not need to be approved by the FDA because we are not manufacturing for bulk use but instead are making each drug for a specific patient’s needs. However, all of the chemicals and drugs we use in compounding are FDA approved and purchased from FDA approved manufactures.

Who regulates compounding pharmacies?

The FDA regulates compounding pharmacies to make sure they are not manufacturing medication. Compounding pharmacies are also regulated by the State Board of Pharmacy.