Have you ever wondered when every person is unique then how mass-produced medications can suit every individual? The drugs manufactured by large pharmaceutical companies are created using standard formulas. These medicines work well for the vast majority of the population. But the same medication that works fine for hundreds of patients could cause side effects on some patients with a unique health condition. It is also possible that a medical formula needed by a patient is no longer produced by the pharmaceutical company. In all such situations when commercially-produced medication fails to meet the specific needs of the patients, the physician prescribes compounded medication. So, what exactly compounding means, how it works, and what are its benefits, let’s find out!
What is Compounded Medication?
Based on the production method, medication can be classified into two main types– commercial medications and compounded medications. Commercial medications are mass-produced using standard formulas and sold in retail pharmacies. Compounded medications, on the other hand, are customized to fit individual patients’ needs. The goal of both, compound and commercial medication is the same- to improve the health condition of patients. However, they both differ in terms of the production process. Mass-produced, commercial drugs are manufactured by large pharmaceutical companies and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These medicines are easily available at all local retail pharmacies.
A compounded medication is prepared by specialized compounding pharmacies by following a prescription followed by a licensed physician. The process involves adding or eliminating ingredients to make the formula safe and effective for the individual patient. Unlike commercial medication, compound drugs are tailored for each patient. The process involves specifically mixing active ingredients based on a prescription from your doctor. Licensed compounding pharmacists customize medication following the best practices. It’s necessary for a pharmacist to obtain a license from the state board for filling prescriptions for medical doctors.
What Are Compounded Medications Used For?
A compound medication pharmacy has highly trained professionals for creating tailored medications for various health conditions. Compounding pharmacies offer both non-sterile medication (pills, lotions, and ointments) and sterile medication (injections and eye ointments). Compounding allows customizing medication for many different health conditions but most commonly it’s used for hormone-related conditions, pain management, skin issues, and more. Compounding medication is most commonly prescribed by:
- Dermatologists (skin)
- Gastroenterologists (digestive system)
- Pain specialists
- Endocrinologists (hormone imbalances and other endocrine disorders)
- Podiatrists (feet)
These medicines can be used by patients of all age groups and health conditions. Patients ranging from newborns to senior citizens can get the benefit of compounding because these are tailored to meet their exact needs.
Benefits of Compounded Medications
As compared to generic medications available at retail pharmacies, compound drugs offer a range of benefits. Branded, mass-produced drugs are certainly easily available. But these are not particularly created for you. Compounded medications aren’t commercially available because these are made on order, especially for you based on your doctor’s prescription. Whether you need to make the medication easier to take or more palatable, compounding addresses your specific concerns. The option of adding flavors or removing allergy-causing ingredients makes compound medication easier and safe to consume.
Factors like health conditions, allergies, or age could make it difficult to take commercial drugs in the same form. Throat swelling could make it painful to swallow pills. Compounding helps you get the same formulation in a different form. Moreover, if the commercial drug is discontinued by the manufacturer, you can still get access to the same formula through compounding. So, the major benefits of compounded medication include:
- Access to Discontinued Medication
- Remove Allergy-Causing Ingredient like dyes or lactose
- Add flavor to Improve the Taste
- Change the Medication Form or Dosage