CARE . WELLNESS . COMPOUNDING
Have you or a loved one ever had difficulty taking medication?
You’re not alone. Many people experience issues such as these:
- Stomach upset when taking oral medication
- Reluctance to take the medication due to its taste
- Difficulty swallowing pills
- Requiring a different dose of medication than that which is available from a manufacturer
- Patients who don’t want to take medication at all, especially children or pets
At Greenhill Pharmacy, we may be able to provide solutions for challenges such as these. Working closely with the patient and the prescriber, compounding gives our pharmacists the means to customize medication to meet the individual needs of each patient.
Compounding Pharmacists Make Medication That is Difficult to Find or Discontinued
Sometimes a large pharmaceutical manufacturer discontinues a medication. Often this happens because not enough patients are taking the drug, so it is unprofitable to keep mass-producing it. But what about the patients who still need that drug? Hundreds or even thousands of patients still may need that medication.
Our compounding pharmacists at Greenhill Pharmacy can re-create that medication by compounding it, so even if only one person in the world still needs that medication, they can have it thanks to compounding!
Compounding Pharmacists Make Medication Allergy-Friendly
A patient may be allergic to or intolerant of an ingredient commonly found in the commercially manufactured form of a medication.
Ingredients that may be allergy-inducing include:
Our compounding pharmacists at Greenhill Pharmacy can create a personalized medication, formulated to give the patient the treatment they need while leaving out the problematic ingredient.
Compounding Pharmacists Make Medication Easier to Use
Some medications have a very unpleasant flavor, which makes the patient less likely to take it as directed. A compounding pharmacist can flavor many medications to make it more palatable without compromising the medication’s effectiveness. This is especially handy when dealing with medications for patients who may refuse medication, such as young children, elderly patients, or even pets!
A patient may need their medication in a different dosage form. For instance, patients who have difficulty swallowing a pill may find it easier to take their medication in a pleasantly flavored liquid form. Some medications can be compounded in a topical form such as a cream or a gel that allows the medicine to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.
Compounding Questions and Answers
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for patients. Its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy, although compounding’s presence in the pharmacy profession has changed over the years. In the 1930s and 1940s, the majority of prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950s and ‘60s, compounding declined as the pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms. However, this “one-size-fits-all” approach to medication meant that some patients’ needs were not being met.
Within the last few decades, however, compounding has experienced a renaissance as modern technology and innovative techniques and research have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to meet a patient’s unique needs.
There are several reasons why prescribers and pharmacists provide compounded medications for patients. The primary reason for compounding is to avoid patient non-compliance, which means the patient is either unable or unwilling to use the medication as directed. Many patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes, or require a dosage that is different from the standard drug strengths.
With a physician’s consent, a compounding pharmacist can:
- Adjust the strength of a medication
- Avoid unwanted ingredients, such as dyes, preservative, lactose, gluten, or sugar.
- Add flavor to make the medication more palatable
- Prepare medications using unique delivery systems. For patients who find it difficult to swallow a capsule, a compounding pharmacist may prepare the drug as a flavored liquid suspension instead. Other medication forms include topical gels or creams that can be absorbed through the skin, suppositories, sublingual troches, or even lollipops.
Yes! Children and the elderly are often the types of patients who benefit most from compounding. It is common for parents to have a tough time getting their children to take medicine because of the taste. A compounding pharmacist can work directly with the physician and the patient to select a flavoring agent, such as bubblegum, grape, tutti frutti, or vanilla butternut, which provides both an appropriate match for the medication’s properties and the patient’s taste preferences. Just think – no more wasting medicine when a cranky patient spits it out! (This applies to veterinary patients too!)
Compounding pharmacists also can help patients who experience chronic pain. For example, some arthritic patients cannot take certain medications due to gastrointestinal side effects. With a healthcare practitioner’s prescription, a compounding pharmacist may be able to provide these patients’ anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications with topical preparations that can be absorbed through the skin. Compounded prescriptions frequently are used to ease pain, nausea, and other symptoms for hospice patients as well.
Compounding has been part of healthcare since the origins of pharmacy, and is widely used today in all areas of the industry, from hospitals to nuclear medicine. Over the last few decades, compounding’s resurgence has benefited largely from advances in technology, quality control and research methodology. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that compounded prescriptions are both ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and compounded by a licensed pharmacy. In addition, compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy.
Some insurances will cover custom compounded medications. We accept most major prescription plans and will gladly try to bill the compounds to your prescription plan.
Compounding may or may not cost more than conventional medication. Its cost depends on factors such as the type of ingredients and equipment required, plus the time the pharmacist spends researching and preparing the medication. Fortunately, compounding pharmacists have access to pure-grade quality chemicals which dramatically lower overall costs and allow them to be very competitive with commercially manufactured products.
Almost any kind! Compounded prescriptions are ideal for any patient requiring unique dosages and/or delivery devices.
Compounding applications can include:
- Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)
- Pain management
- Otic (for the ear)
- Medication flavoring
- Sports medicine
- Wound therapy
- And many more!
Prescription compounding is a rapidly growing component of many physicians’ practices, but some may not realize the extent of compounding resurgence in recent years due to today’s climate of aggressive marketing by drug manufacturers. Ask your healthcare practitioner about compounding, or get in touch with us. Through the triad relationship of patient, prescriber, and pharmacist, all three can work together to solve unique medical problems.
Is custom compounding right for you? Ask your healthcare practitioner or call us today about the benefits of personalized prescription compounding.