Many people take prescription medications to control various health issues. Some people have allergies or special conditions that make taking medications difficult or even dangerous – and that is where a compounding pharmacy can be especially helpful.
If a person needs a specific medication but they are allergic to the dye used or they cannot swallow a pill, then they can visit a compounding pharmacy. There, a pharmacist can custom-make a version of their needed drug while removing the harmful properties.
Who Needs Compounded Medications?
There are a number of reasons why a patient may need to have their medication altered, including:
- Difficulty swallowing pills
- Allergy to a nonessential ingredient in the medicine
- Need to have the medication injected rather than ingested
If medicine comes in a pill form but the patient cannot swallow a pill, a compounding pharmacy can create a liquid form for swallowing or injecting. This way, the medicine maintains its medicinal effects but is now able to be taken by the patient.
Compounding pharmacies take existing drugs and manipulate them for a specific patient; they do not copy the medicine. They may change the formula so the color is different or to remove a certain nonessential ingredient like lactose, gluten, or dye. They can also add or change flavors to make it more palatable to children.
Benefits of a Compounding Pharmacy
There are roughly 56,000 community pharmacies in the U.S., of which 7,500 are also compounding pharmacies. These pharmacies were actually the prevalent type prior to the 1950s.
In the 1950s pharmaceutical companies began mass-producing drugs and medications in standard sizes, and most pharmacies switched from doing the compounding themselves to just dispensing the standard sizes. Today, compounding pharmacies are the minority but offer superb services.
For example, if a patient needs 10 mg of a medication whose smallest manufactured size is 30 mg, rather than having to try to cut the pill into thirds, a compounding pharmacy can create a 10 mg version.
A compounding pharmacy can also combine the active ingredients in multiple medications into one pill. The single tablet would therefore do what several would do, which makes taking medications much more convenient and easier to remember.
Risks of Compounding Medicines
There exists a higher risk of possible contamination when more people are manipulating a medication after it has already been manufactured. In addition to safety risks, there is also the issue of whether the efficacy has been affected by the extra handling.
Compounded medications are not officially approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), because each compounded medication is made specifically for one person. Because of this, there is no way to efficiently test it.
Some compounded medications are also not covered by insurance. Patients who have compounded medications often incur a higher cost than their normal co-pay.
Medical Care in Northeast Ohio
Wooster Community Hospital is proud to announce the addition of a compounding pharmacist right on-site. We are conveniently located west of Canton and south of Cleveland in Northeast Ohio, and we are ready to serve all of your medical and prescription needs.
Call us today at (330) 202-5570 – and don’t suffer the frustration of breaking pills, taking a handful of medications, or forcing down a tablet that is difficult to swallow. Our new compounding pharmacist can take care of all those issues.