By Zachary Phillips, PharmD

Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients. Compounded medications are made based on a practitioners prescription in which active ingredients are mixed together with excipients (inactive ingredients) to make a specific dose and dosage form required by the patient. Drugs mass manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are FDA approved in different dosage forms but are not appropriate for every patient, or may not be in the correct dosage form for an off-label medical use. Sometimes a drug is shorted in the wholesale market, or just isn’t manufactured at all. Another issue with mass-prescribed drugs is that allergic reactions to ingredients are rarely taken into account, so some people can’t use the drug even if it is readily available. This is especially true from individuals who have an allergy to corn and products derived from it. Additionally, certain ingredients may be offensive or unhealthy to pediatric patients, such as alcohol, which is commonly found in OTC solutions.

Is it a generic? We get this question a lot. The name of the compound almost always shares the drug or drugs’ generic name(s), but it is not technically a generic. Simply put, a generic is a drug which is a “clone” of a brand name drug, approved by the FDA to act the same as the brand when consumed or applied. The active ingredients used by compounders are FDA approved, and are identical to that of products which are already on the market, but studies have most likely not been done on the final product because the product is custom to the patient. While medical claims cannot be made if the FDA has not already approved the claims for each specific product, the science behind compounding is sound, and compounding is how the entire practice of pharmacy (as we know it today) began. Only relatively recently in healthcare history have drugs been mass produced by companies, often referred to as “Big Pharma”.

Most compounding pharmacies use high quality bases, inactive ingredients, and dispensing containers so that the products patients receive are safe, effective, precisely dosed, and easy to consume or apply. The pharmacists at Capital Compounding are knowledgeable about all of these aspects of your medicine and are readily available to answer any questions you may have. At Capital Compounding, we pride ourselves on using FDA approved active ingredients of the highest quality, in a way that is supported by the evidence available to us. Capital Compounding even works with physicians who are interested in studying the efficacy of drugs and presenting the results in peer-reviewed academic journals. Practicing “evidence-based medicine” is paramount to the progress of healthcare, and you’ll find no “snake oils” being suggested by our staff. Most importantly, you’ll never be the “guinea pig” for a product which doesn’t work or hasn’t ever been used before. We hope this article helped answer the question of “What is compounding?” but if it wasn’t clear or created more questions, we’re happy to speak with you on the phone.

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