Today, customizing a medication, creating accommodating methods of drug dosages and providing other methods of dispensing drugs, are fundamental underpinnings of the role of compounding pharmacies. The goal is to provide a drug that fits the unique needs of a patient. Physicians may prescribe compounded medication for a patient with a unique health need that can include:
- Used in the Veterinary profession for a change in the method of administration, a change in dosage, and to make it more pleasant tasting for the animal.
- Patients having the need of medicines that require a certain dosage not available in regular mass produced forms. An example would be a small dosage strength such as an infant who requires a tiny dose of a particular medication.
- Patients undergoing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy It is used as an alternative to synthetics for patients suffering from menopausal symptoms
- Patients requiring allergen-free medications
- Children who require flavored liquid drugs
- Patients who need drugs that have been discontinued by pharmaceutical manufacturers
- Another method of taking a medication required such as making a pill into a liquid medication. Liquid forms of medications for patients who have difficulties swallowing
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA (fda.gov), “unless absolutely necessary, patients are better served when taking commercially manufactured drugs that have been scientifically tested and their safety and efficacy has been proven with sufficient standards.” The FDA has also stated that “compounded prescriptions are ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and are compounded by a licensed pharmacist.” Pharmaceutical companies are regulated by the FDA and must meet stringent quality control standards to ensure their products are safe and that each batch is consistent with other batches. Compounding pharmacies are regulated by state boards of pharmacy therefore each state will have a different set of standards and regulations that requires compliance.
Most compounding pharmacies are conscientious about their quality control practices and techniques so that the drugs made in the facilities are safe. However, it is important to be aware of prescription medications such as injectibles to ensure the compounding pharmacy is a legitimate, reputable, pharmacy regulated by the FDA.