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Answers to Some Commonly Asked Questions About a Compounding Pharmacy

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When your doctor gives you a prescription, you may go to a pharmacy and get it filled without much thought. A compounding pharmacy is a pharmacy that makes medicines from scratch rather than dispensing factory-produced medicines as you would find with a standard pharmacy. There are many advantages to such a pharmacy; note a few of those here and some questions you might have about using one so you can discuss this choice with your doctor if needed.

Why use a compounding pharmacy?

A compounding pharmacy may be able to offer a different form of the same medication, such as a syrup or a lozenge that dissolves rather than a pill you swallow. This can make it easier for you to take that medication. They might also make medications without dyes or other additives that bother your system; some can even create gluten-free or vegan medications, made without animal fats. A compounding pharmacy may be able to create a medication without sugar, which is often added to syrups to make them easier to swallow, for diabetics or those with sugar sensitivities.

Do you need to get a special prescription to use a compounding pharmacy?

A compounding pharmacy can create a medication for you that fills your prescription; consider that they are not giving you a different medication but are creating that same medicine from scratch. However, you might want to talk to your doctor about how a dose may need adjusting if you are taking it in a different form, such as a lozenge versus a pill you swallow. In some cases, this might affect the effectiveness of the medication, or your doctor may know that this might affect other areas of your health; for example, if you have problems with your esophagus or stomach, a syrup might be more troublesome for you than a pill, whereas a lozenge might irritate your sensitive gums. Whenever you want to make any changes to your medication or any adjustments, it's always recommended you do this with your doctor's knowledge.

Does a patient need to do anything different when visiting a compounding pharmacy?

A compounding pharmacist will instruct you on the proper administration and storage of the medicine, just as they would in any pharmacy. As long as you're storing the medication as instructed and taking it as instructed by the pharmacist and your doctor, you shouldn't expect anything different from this type of pharmacy or the medicine you're given.