What are compounding pharmacies?
Compounding pharmacies have been around since the dawn of medicine. In ancient times, those with knowledge of plants, animals, and other environmental materials would work to heal or cure ailments. Often these practitioners would make a tailored solution for an individual and their afflictions. While intentions were good, they didn't always get it right. In works from the 1740s like John Wesley's Primitive Physick, or, An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases, it was recommended asthma could be cured through a strict diet of boiled carrots.
Modern pharmaceutical science has come a long way since then and now relies on strict scientific peer-reviewed studies and clinical trials to ensure safety. This partnered with rigorous FDA compliance for bringing drugs to market is designed to protect us, the users, and educate us on potential side effects. While over-the-counter drugs are fairly common, what happens when an individual is allergic to a common additive in Ibuprofen? How can safe dosing be provided for people needing hormone replacement therapy when weight, health risks, and deficiencies vary from individual to individual?
Enter compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies provide tailored solutions for patients. This can include over-the-counter medicines with additives removed in case of allergies, changing the method of delivery, or adjusting the dosage to fit an individual. By looking at different types of compounded medications and the purpose of these drugs, we can gain a better understanding of the importance of compounding pharmacies.
Compounding pharmacies focus on unique solutions for each individual for a variety of reasons. Here are some common solutions compounding pharmacies provide:
Women's and Men's Health
Hormonal therapy can be key for both women and men. Whether due to menopause or drops in testosterone, as we age hormones can become imbalanced. Since most of these imbalances are unique to the individual, compounding pharmacies can provide dosages designed to help restore balance.
Many medications may be commercially available in a pill or capsule or at dosages designed for adults. Compounders can adjust the medium of delivery to create medication for children for their specific tastes and texture. This can allow for a much less trying experience for the child and the parents!
Pets come in all different shapes and sizes. This variation across species and breed can make dosing key for things like allergies and pain management. Customized dosages can be key, but as anyone who owns a dog knows, getting them to take a pill can be a laborious affair. Compounders can create great-tasting liquids for our furry friends.
These are just a few of the solutions compounding pharmacies can offer, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Anti-aging, IV therapy, and pain management are also common compounding pharmacy solutions. By offering a solution for the individual, compounding pharmacists look to enhance a medication's potability and enhance its function.
Support Local Business
According to the American Pharmacists Association, of the 56,000 community-based pharmacies in the United States, around 7,500 are specialized in compounding medications. These pharmacies are spread across the country and are often local businesses in the community. By offering services to neighbors and residents, compounding pharmacies can often be a one-stop-shop.
A common misconception regarding compounding pharmacies is the safety of compounded pharmaceuticals. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not directly set the requirements for compounding pharmacies, state pharmacy boards, which often create guidance for daily operation, are regulated by the FDA. Additionally, the FDA is provided some authority over operations in 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
In addition to this oversight, state boards have developed strict facility and compounding procedure requirements to ensure safe products are delivered to consumers. Many of these boards have adopted United States Pharmacopeia's guidance on compounding. USP identifies specific compounding requirements based on the types of drugs being handled. The three most common chapters are: sterile (797), nonsterile (795), and hazardous (800). Each of these general chapters provides facility requirements and aims to provide design requirements to ensure safety.
These standards also help establish primary engineering controls (PEC), which are enclosures used during the compounding process. AirClean Systems helps protect compounding pharmacists or their compounded prescriptions through our USP-compliant solutions. To meet the sterile nonhazardous requirements of USP 797, AirClean Systems' Process Protection line ensures ISO 5 clean environments, designed to protect samples from contamination. For hazardous nonsterile compounding (USP 800), AirClean Systems offers ductless redundant HEPA-filtered options with our PowderSafe B, C, and Bulk Series for technician and facility protection; even during filter changes.
Compounding pharmacies help develop and create products designed for the individual. These often-local businesses aim to meet the needs of those in the community. By offering solutions for things like hormone therapy, compounding pharmacies strive to meet the unique needs of one rather than many. Modern compounding pharmacies also ensure safety by following the state board's requirements for compliance standards. Help support local businesses and keep compounding pharmacies in mind for your next prescription!