12 Benefits of Using a Compounding Pharmacy over Retail
12 Benefits of Using a Compounding Pharmacy over Retail
66% of Americans use prescription drugs, but many aren't getting the most from their medications.
Retail pharmacies dispense medications as "one size fits all" solutions. Doctors try to meet patients' needs by prescribing specific medications and doses. Yet, patients are still limited to commercially-produced medications and the small range of doses in production.
There's more variety in patients' needs than major pharmaceutical companies can account for.
Chances are, you'd get more out of personally-tailored medications. If that sounds unrealistic, it's not. That's what a compounding pharmacy is for.
So, what is a compounding pharmacy, anyway?
Compounding pharmacies fill prescriptions using raw ingredients, creating medications that target exactly what patients need. Take a look at this long list of why compounding pharmacies are best for you.
Be Freed From Limited Dosage Options
When you're treating a chronic condition, finding the right treatment can take months or even years. In some cases, patients try all available options during the hunt. There's not much more frustrating than being told by a doctor that there aren't any more treatments to try.
You might imagine that situation is something faced by terminally ill patients and other extreme and unusual cases. In truth, it's the reality for a great many chronic pain patients.
Limitations on opioids due to high overdose rates mean that there are fewer options for pain management. One newer option is naltrexone, a medication designed to help people wean off opioids.
It turns out that small doses help manage pain, without the danger. Yet, low dose naltrexone is a newer treatment, and most companies don't compound such small doses. Major pharmacies only carry naltrexone with traditional applications in mind, which isn't useful for desperate patients looking to reduce chronic pain.
Compounding pharmacies are a great solution to dosage issues like this. Because they formulate drugs from raw ingredients, they offer doses as small or large as your doctor prescribes.
Make Medications Easier to Swallow
Some people have trouble swallowing pills. The action is new to kids, so they often struggle with it. Others have swallowing problems due to chronic conditions and/or disabilities.
Compounding pharmacies help people get their prescription drugs down without a hassle. Because they put the medications together for you, they can formulate things like liquid suspension and chewable tablets that are easier to take.
Get Palatable Prescriptions
If compounding pharmacies make prescription drugs into chewable tablets and liquid medicine, it follows that they're able to flavor those medications. Flavored medicines encourage kids and even pets to follow prescriptions and stay healthy.
Many therapies are prescribed by doctors that are not available commercially but are promising based on research. One such example is the use of topical finasteride for the treatment of hair loss. Finasteride is only available to be taken orally for the treatment of hair loss, but studies have found it can be applied topically for this treatment and can avoid the side effects of taking it orally.
Don't Worry Over Unavailable Meds
Have you ever tried to refill a prescription, only to get notice from your retail pharmacy that they're all out of the medicine? This is an inevitable annoyance when you work with retail pharmacies. Nobody likes having to search and rush to get a much-needed medicine from other pharmacies in your area.
Compounding pharmacies, on the other hand, can help with unavailable medications that are back ordered. They make prescription drugs in-house, so they don't have to worry about late shipments or backlogged medication production. If you search for a "compounding pharmacy near me," it could be the last pharmacy search you ever have to do.
A Compounding Pharmacy Gets the Formula Right
Years of research go into producing commercial drugs. Companies do trials with animals and people to make sure that medications are safe and effective.
Still, "effective" medication that does what it's supposed to doesn't work the same for every patient. Each person has their own reaction to percentages of active ingredients and the different kinds and amounts of other ingredients.
If you get premade medications from a retail pharmacy, you can't change inactive ingredients in a drug or work with your doctor and the pharmacist to find how much of the active ingredient you need. On the other hand, compounding pharmacies let you do just that.
Avoid Allergens and Irritants
Many medications contain common allergens and irritants like lactose and sulfates. These ingredients don't often need to be there and aren't needed for the medication to work in most cases.
It might seem like a small thing, but for people with allergies and sensitivities, these ingredients make all the difference. You can't always avoid them with medications from big companies. A compounding pharmacy will work with you to make a medication that doesn't use problematic inactive ingredients.
Buy Vegetarian and Vegan Medications
Some medications come in gelatin capsules or use other animal-derived ingredients. If you're vegetarian or vegan, you might feel uncomfortable taking those medications.
Religious Restrictions Are No Problem
On a similar note, compounding pharmacies also accommodate religious dietary restrictions.
Chances are that your compounding pharmacy won't be able to certify medications as kosher or halal, but they can avoid the use of ingredients like gelatins that cross a line in Jewish and Islamic dietary laws. Sticking to medications suitable for vegans is the easiest way to do this.
You may still have other challenges to navigate that have nothing to do with animal products, like the use of alcohol in medication, for example. Drinking alcohol is not permissible under Sharia law, the rules and traditions of Islam. Taking medication containing alcohol, unless totally unavoidable, is not permitted either.
This is another restriction that compounding pharmacies have few problems navigating. Pharmacies are often able to formulate prescription drugs without the alcohol used in retail products.
If you're concerned about a particular religious dietary restriction, ask a compounding pharmacy to see what they can do for you.
Get to Know Your Pharmacy
Unlike a retail pharmacy where the most interaction you have with the pharmacist and their technicians is when you are informed about a new medication, the basis of a compounding pharmacist has always been the patient-physician-pharmacist relationship. With a compounding pharmacy, your pharmacist will work closely with you to learn more about your specific condition, allergies, and treatment options and will make recommendations to your physician and customize medications to meet your individual needs.
They're customizing your medications, and you're more involved in the process of filling scripts than you are with retail pharmacies. You can build a relationship with the pharmacy and its staff that will help you stay in the know and keep you on your medication.
Order Specialty Drugs for Pets
Compounding pharmacies aren't just for humans: They also fill orders for pets! Animal medications are put together in much the same manner as human drugs are, and some of them are the same medications at different doses. So, it's no stretch for a compounding pharmacy to fill a script for Fido.
Not all retail pharmacies offer veterinary medication. Getting pet medication from a compounding pharmacy makes your life easier by letting you get your whole family's drugs at one place.
On top of that, a compounding pharmacy's custom services allow you to give the same attention to detail to both you and your pet's medication. We all want the best for our animal friends, and to help them live happy and comfortable lives for as long as possible. Common compounded drugs and custom solutions make that mission easier.
Medication Discontinued? Not Anymore
It's bad enough when the retail pharmacy tells you they're out of a medication. What's even worse—a nightmare scenario for many patients—is learning that your medicine is no longer produced.
Big pharmaceutical companies don't feel a responsibility to the people who take their drugs. For the most part, they're out to make money. So, if a medication stops being profitable, these big companies might just take it off the market.
Sometimes, alternative options are hard to find, meaning that you have to start from square one with your doctor and find something else that works for you. In the worst-case scenarios, there's nothing that can replace discontinued medications.
Because compounding pharmacies have access to all kinds of raw ingredients for medications, they can make drugs with the same active ingredients. They'll get you back on track with a custom medication that works like the discontinued drug.
Try a Pharmacy That Cares About Your Needs
Now that you know some of the excellent benefits of using a compounding pharmacy, are you ready to get started on perfecting your daily medications? CareFirst Specialty Pharmacy is prepared to meet all of your needs.
To learn more about our services and find out how you can get started, contact us today.