Pharmacies, as we know them today, have been a significant help in giving patients easy access to quality healthcare. These medical establishments have been a comprehensive part of the healthcare system by providing quality medications to individuals in every corner of the country.
However, before mass drug manufacturing was introduced, pharmacies actually had an even larger role to play in providing healthcare. Besides preparing and dispensing drugs, pharmacies also offer compounding services, which are beneficial to many patients.
Learn more about the role of compounding pharmacies, like Seven Cells, and why it’s an essential pillar of the healthcare and community.
What Is Compounding?
According to the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), compounding refers to the act of preparing, assembling, altering, packaging, and labeling drugs. Compounding services are done by a licensed compounding pharmacist and only in accordance with a medication order or a doctor’s prescription.
In layman’s terms, compounding is simply the act of preparing customized medications that commercial drug manufacturers cannot meet. It involves mixing ingredients to create a pill that suits a patient’s needs in terms of strength, dosage, and form.
What Is a Compounding Pharmacy?
The role of a compounding pharmacy is to provide compounding services based on doctor-prescribed medications for patients with specialized needs. Rather than counting pills and dispensing drugs, a compounding pharmacy combines base drugs and creates a medicine suitable for what the patient requires.
For example, an individual allergic to a specific ingredient used in making commercially available analgesic drugs can go to a compounding pharmacy for help. The pharmacist will then create a custom-made analgesic medication without using or replacing the allergy-inducing ingredient. This allows the patient to get the proper medication that’s both safe and effective.
Some specific examples of what a compound pharmacy can do for both patients and doctors include:
- Customize the dosage and strength of medication to suit the patient’s needs.
- Reformulate a drug to exclude allergy-inducing, unwanted, or nonessential ingredients. Some examples include dye, gluten, fillers, and lactose.
- Add flavor to medication to make it more attractive to a child or pet.
- Manufacture or create a specific discontinued medication that a patient needs.
- Chemically combine medications without reducing their potency to make them easier to take.
- Alter the form of a specific medication to accommodate the patient’s needs. For example, turning the oral medication into a liquid one to address a cancer patient’s swallowing problems.
However, it’s important to note that compounding pharmacies DO NOT make or copy the formulation of drugs already commercially available.
Additionally, compounding services may only be practiced inside a compounding pharmacy. Such a facility has the proper equipment, tools, and environment needed to deliver safe and effective medications.
What Does a Compounding Pharmacist Do?
A compounding pharmacist is a licensed medical professional trained and educated to perform basic compounding. They operate in a safe and controlled environment to produce high-quality medications.
Instead of providing a pre-mixed formula or dispensing drugs, compounding pharmacists produce custom medications from base ingredients. Ingredients used in compounding formulas are chemically identical to what manufacturing companies use. They only differ in the actual process of creating specific drugs.
How Is Pharmaceutical Compounding Different from Drug Manufacturing?
Drug manufacturing is an industrial-wide production of pharmaceutical drugs facilitated by large commercial companies. These companies create pre-set formulas or doses in batches, generating millions of formulas and pills every year.
This large-scale production can benefit society by delivering thousands of easily-accessible pills in a short amount of time. However, it does not leave room for customization to cater to patients with unique medical needs.
On the contrary, pharmaceutical compounding is practiced by a compounding pharmacist inside a compounding pharmacy lab or facility. It involves the preparation of medications that meet the specifications indicated in the patient’s prescription form.
Rather than large-scale drug production, compounding happens on a per-prescription basis. Here’s how it works:
- It starts with a prescription (from a doctor or licensed practitioner) indicating the medical needs of a patient.
- The prescriber will also indicate in the prescription how they want the drug to be customized. For example, they will list down what active ingredients to use, dosage form, dose, dosing intervals, and route of administration.
- In some cases, the prescriber will also decide what inactive ingredients to use, especially for allergy-related reasons.
- The compounding pharmacist will then prepare, formulate, and dispense the medication to the patient.
Although there’s no mass production of drugs, pharmaceutical compounding still highly benefits patients by providing a therapeutic alternative.
Are Compounded Drugs Safe to Use?
Yes. State boards of pharmacy regulate compounding pharmacies and the compounding process itself. Moreover, the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation of the ACHC assesses all compounding pharmacies to ensure that they comply with the medication quality and consistency standards.
Although compounded drugs are not FDA-approved, safety and effectiveness are still monitored through the regulations outlined in the FDA Act of 1938 Section 503A.
Where to Find a Compounding Pharmacy Near Me?
If you’re looking for a compounding pharmacy to address your or your patient’s special medication needs, then we’ve got your health covered!
At Seven Cells Pharmacy, we provide safe, high-quality drugs compounded using cutting-edge technology in a strict and controlled environment. Our dedicated health professionals focus on improving your quality of life by delivering your unique medical needs.
Some of the holistic medications we offer include:
Contact us now to start reinvigorating your mind, body, and life!
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.