Consumers are getting better at knowing what’s in our medication, and the medical community is taking notice. Many doctors also see the advantages of custom-made medication. Here’s why you should get on the bandwagon.
The “Compound” in Compounding Pharmacy
When a licensed pharmacist creates a customized medicine to meet the unique needs of an individual patient, it is called compounding. The patient can be a person or an animal.
In contrast, manufacturing is the mass production of medicines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The copying of manufactured medicines is not allowed by law.
The Benefits of Compounded Medicine
A patient may have very specific needs that must be addressed, such as:
- Being allergic to certain ingredients, such as preservatives, sugar, lactose, alcohol, dyes, and gluten.
- Being unable to swallow a tablet or capsule (a liquid, suppository, lozenge, cream, nasal spray, or some other preparation can be prepared).
- Needing a specific dosage that isn’t available in manufactured medicines.
- Needing a flavored medicine (especially true with children).
- Needing a medicine that is no longer manufactured.
Who Can Make Custom Medicine?
Many pharmacies can compound medicine to some degree, but true compounding is often done in pharmacies that have invested in equipment and training so they can safely and efficiently customize a patient’s medicine. All licensed pharmacists learn to perform basic compounding during their training.
How do I Know That Compounding is Safe?
The FDA monitors the integrity and safety of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used in compounded preparations. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) monitors controlled substances used in the preparation of compounded medications, such as narcotics (like hydrocodone or amphetamines), and drugs used for anxiety and sleep disorders.
The mortar and pestle is an enduring symbol of pharmacology. Though pre-packaged, manufactured medicines still have their place, compounding pharmacies bring back the personal touch to make sure your medications can give you exactly what the doctor ordered.