FAQ - Answers to Your Questions

How can compounding benefit my family and me?
Can children or the elderly take compounded medication?
Is compounding legal? Is it safe?
Are compounded medications covered by insurance plans?
Is compounding expensive?
Final Notes

How can compounding benefit my family and me?   return to questions

Prescribers use compounded medications for their patients for several reasons. The most important is to avoid patient non-compliance due to the patient’s unwillingness or inability to take the medication as directed. Many patients require dosages not available in standard strengths, or they may be allergic to one or more of the ingredients. This is where compounding enters the picture and those issues can be resolved to benefit the patient.

With a prescriber’s direction, compounding pharmacists are able to:

  • Preservatives
  • Fine-tune the medication's strength
  • Eliminate unwanted ingredients that might cause allergic response
  • Flavor the oral medication to make it more palatable
  • Prepare delivery systems specific to the patient’s needs, for instance creating a liquid form rather than a pill for patients who have difficulty swallowing. Many medications can be prepared in gel or cream for and absorbed through the skin. Other options are suppositories or sublingual lozenges.

  • Can children or the elderly take compounded medication?  return to questions

    Absolutely! They often benefit from compounding. Both children and elderly often dislike taking medicine because of the taste; a compounding pharmacist will work directly with the parent, patient, and physician to select a flavor agent geared to the patient’s preference. At the same time, the pharmacist will mix the proper ingredients for the medication with the flavoring agent and in compliance with prescriber’s instructions.

    Patients with chronic pain or gastrointestinal issues are also often helped by compounded medications. Compounding pharmacists may work with a patient’s healthcare provider to provide topical medications to treat inflammation and/or pain. The medicine is absorbed through the skin bypassing gastric upset, thereby alleviating discomfort. Additionally, compounded gels or creams are used to relieve nausea and other symptoms for hospice patients.

    Is compounding legal? Is it safe?  return to questions

    The Food and Drug Administration confirms that compounded medications are ethical and legal provided they are prescribed for a particular patient by a licensed healthcare provider. Also, state boards of pharmacy regulate compounding activity.

    All medications were compounded at one time since the origins of pharmacy until the birth of mass-produced drugs. During the last few decades, compounding has made a comeback largely because of research methods, quality control, and technological advances. It is commonly used worldwide for the benefit of patients.

    Are compounded medications covered by insurance plans?  return to questions

    Some insurance plans will allow full reimbursement. Others may require a co-pay. Even though the patient pays the pharmacy directly, many insurance companies will cover the final cost upon receipt of a patient claim form.

    Is compounding expensive?  return to questions

    As with any commercially-prepared product, cost is dependent on the ingredients needed.

    Final Notes  return to questions

    Almost any type of prescription can be compounded. They are ideal for any patient needing unique delivery devices as well as specific dosages. Applications for compounded medications include:

  • Dermatology
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Podiatry (jogger’s heel, etc.)
  • Pain management
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Sports medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Wound healing
  • Muscular inflammation
  • Anti-fungal
  • Hospice
  • Pediatrics
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary

  • Patients should discuss compounding with their prescriber. Prescribing compounded medications is quickly becoming a common practice for many physicians again. Physicians are aware of the resurgence of compounding to help their patients get the best treatment possible. Patients should ask their healthcare provider about the benefits of these medications. Strong communication between the prescriber, patient, and a compounding pharmacist may solve distinctive medical issues and may be just what the “doctor orders.”

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    One of my patients takes multiple prescriptions for various conditions. To avoid negative drug interactions, I worked with the RX Care Compounding pharmacist to ensure the patient received the precise medications he needed yet minimizing the possibility of interactions.”

    Dr. Stan Wilson, Florida