Compounding pharmacies are a vital resource for people who need specialized medications, have hard-to-find prescriptions, or need modifications to accommodate allergies.
What Is a Compounding Pharmacy?
A compounding pharmacy prepares customized medications and drugs—under the direction of a doctor’s prescription—specific to your medical needs and personal preferences. Your compounding pharmacy can create a formulation to fulfill most special requirements, including:
- Doses of your medication that are not available commercially
- Hypo-allergenic versions of your medication
- Alternate prescription forms like pills, drops, powders, liquids, troches, and ointments
- Added flavoring to make your prescription more palatable
At one time, compounding pharmacies prepared most prescriptions. Then, in the 1950’s, drug companies began to mass-produce drugs and medications in standard forms and doses. Pharmacies stopped compounding their own medications in favor of dispensing the new standardized drugs.
This switch made it difficult for a significant portion of the population to find a pharmacist who could make the custom formulations they needed. Now, with an increase in the availability of medical technology and an emphasis on personalized medical care, compounding pharmacies are making a comeback.
Five Benefits of a Compounding Pharmacy
- Drugs can be formulated to meet your medical needs. Compounding pharmacies can create dosages of your medication that are not produced commercially. For instance, if you require 10mg of a drug, but the smallest commercially available dose is 30mg, your compounding pharmacy can create the smaller dose in a convenient form. This option saves you from the struggle of dividing too-large doses on your own and from the possibility of accidentally overdosing.Likewise, if you are allergic to a common preservative or additive in commercial medications, your compounding pharmacy can create a hypoallergenic version of your prescription. If you are unable to swallow pills and need your medication in a liquid form, a compounding pharmacy can formulate a liquid dose—and even add flavoring to make it easier to swallow!
- Taking multiple prescriptions is more convenient. Compounding pharmacies can combine certain prescriptions into a single dose. Consolidating multiple pills makes it less likely that you or your loved one will forget to take one. Having one pill to take, versus two or more, also decreases the likelihood that you will skip your medication by making it easier to manage.
- Compounded medications can be significantly cheaper than commercial products. Although the cost of compounded drugs depends on several factors—including the equipment required to produce the medication and the amount of time spent in researching and preparing the medication—the compounding pharmacist has access to pure, high quality chemicals that often have lower costs.Higher quality pharmaceuticals can translate to lower doses, which is less expensive. Also, by removing any designer dyes and preservatives patented by a specific drug manufacturing company, compounded medications can end up being significantly cheaper than their commercial counterparts.
- Compounding pharmacies increase the availability of hard to find drugs and medications. Certain medications like hormone therapies and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) diet injections are hard to find. Because they can create your prescriptions for you, rather than waiting on a drug manufacturer to produce more, compounding pharmacies are often able to offer you much more reasonable wait times.
- Unique medications can be produced by a compounding pharmacy. Medications for your pets, diaper rash creams, and homeopathic treatments are all available through compounding pharmacies. Some compounding pharmacies hold patents on their own formulas and sell them locally.
For more information on how the benefits of a compounding pharmacy can work for you, talk to one of Smith-Caldwell’s pharmacists. They can help you find the best delivery method for your medication and accommodate any allergies you may have.
If you are looking for a compounding pharmacy in Arkansas, contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-392-5470 to speak with one of our pharmacists.