4 Things to Know about Compounding Pharmacies

If you have a child that doesn't like the taste of their medication or you need a special formula of medication, you may be in need of a compounding pharmacy. Not all pharmacies offer compounding processes, but many of them do. Here is more information about these pharmacies and why they exist.

What Compounding Pharmacies Do

Compounding pharmacies essentially make drugs for patients that have specific needs that regular drugs can't provide them. It can be anything from changing the flavor of a medication to turning a pill into a liquid form. Since it requires special training and licensing on the pharmacist's part, this is not a service provided in all pharmacies. It is also important to ask the compounding pharmacy what type of training they had to learn these techniques. The pharmacist is changing the original form of medications and needs proper experience to do it correctly.

How Patients Benefit from Compounding Drugs

There are many patients that have specific needs for the drugs they take. Some people have allergies to dyes or other ingredients used in commercially available drugs and need a different formula for that drug. Some children need medications in liquid form that usually only come in pill form, as well as adults that experience anxiety with swallowing pills. There are also some people that need a different dosage from what is commercially available.

Additional Benefits of Compounding Pharmacies

Another benefit to going to a compounding pharmacy is that they are sometimes able to combine multiple prescriptions into one dosage form. This can be more convenient for people who take dozens of pills a day for their medical conditions. They only have to remember to take one dose thanks to the compounding pharmacist. There are also compounding pharmacists that can provide preservative-free medications for people that have bad reactions to certain preservatives.

Possible Health Risks

Since compounding drugs are not approved by the FDA, there is always a risk in getting these drugs. This is where the importance of finding a licensed compounding pharmacy comes in. Some pharmacies might be willing to alter certain drugs, but they don't necessarily have the training to do it effectively. Check your local pharmacy boards to verify that the pharmacist is licensed in creating compounding medications.

There is also the risk of contamination while altering and combining certain drugs, so keep that in mind when you choose to go to this type of pharmacy.