Is Compounding Right For You?

May 2019

A growing number of people have health needs that require unique medications. When off-the-shelf prescriptions aren’t available or aren’t appropriate for any reason, customized medications can be prepared through a process known as compounding.

What is compounding?

Compounding is the tailored preparation of a medicine to meet a patient’s individual needs when those needs can’t be met by medications that are commercially available either over the counter or by prescription. Compounding can be used to adjust the strength, form or inactive ingredients of a single medication. It can also be used to combine two or more drugs in ratios other than what are currently available.

What are the benefits of compounding?

Drug makers mass-produce medications, but a one-size-fits-all approach to health doesn’t work. Compounding allows a prescription to be created based on your personal needs.

Customize strength. The strength of a medication often needs to be altered depending on your weight, age or size. If you need a strength that is not commercially available, compounding can help ensure you get the most appropriate medication for you without the hassle and potential inaccuracy of cutting up tablets or splitting up the contents of a capsule on your own.

Combine medications. Multiple medications can also be combined into a single dose, making it simpler to adhere to your doctor’s orders. Combining medications can sometimes also make your prescription cheaper if the compounded medication is made from less expensive bulk ingredients.

Access to discontinued medications. Pharmacies can recreate discontinued medications using compounding, giving you access to much-needed care.

Reformulate the drug to remove allergens. Fillers, dyes, binders and other additives used in medications can trigger adverse reactions. These ingredients can be removed through compounding. Preservative-, dye-or gluten-free medications can be a lifesaver for people with allergies.

Change the medication form so it’s easier to take. Have you ever had trouble swallowing a pill? A compounding pharmacy can create an easily digestible, liquid version of the medication for you. Other common forms include lollipops, lozenges and suppositories. These types of compounded medications are a great option for children or elderly adults who have trouble swallowing capsules or tablets. Topical formulas like creams, gels, lotions or ointments may be prepared and applied directly on the skin to provide faster, more targeted relief.

Where can I have compounded prescriptions made?

Based on your medical needs, your doctor will determine if compounded medication is a good fit for you. Any doctor can prescribe a compounded medication. Compounded medications are prepared by many licensed pharmacies that operate under a state board of pharmacy and are subject to regulatory oversight by the FDA. Compounding is available at many Good Neighbor Pharmacy locations. Ask your pharmacist for more information.

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