Compound medications are those that have been made by a pharmacy for a patient using two or more chemical ingredients. Sometimes called “custom compound medication,” this kind of preparation is not the same as those medications you buy over-the-counter. The practice of pharmacy compounding can be used to create personalized medications for patients who need alternative forms of medications. Compounding pharmacies take individual order requests from doctors and prepare them according to the specific prescriptions – often at lower costs than commercially available drugs.
But not all pharmacies offer the service. And not every doctor knows that he or she can call a pharmacy and request a compound medication be made for a patient who needs it. The following are some reasons why you may need to ask your doctor about having a compound medication made for you.
You Need A Very Specific Dosage Of A Drug
Sometimes a doctor will need to prescribe a very specific – usually higher – dose of a drug or medicine, and this would require special preparation by a compounding pharmacy. For example, if you were allergic to the chemical derivative of an antibiotic but needed high doses of it for some reason, your doctor might request that the compounder make it in liquid form with different ingredients so you could take these higher doses. When this happens, be sure to let your doctor know which dosage range is best for you. You may even ask providers of pharmaceutical services to prepare several options for you to choose from. Just be sure to confirm the dosing with your doctor before taking any medication so it’s prescribed correctly.
You Are Allergic To Some Ingredients In Other Medications
Some people are allergic to certain chemicals in medications they have been prescribed before. Some are only allergic to certain drugs, while others are allergic to all chemically derived medications. For example, people who are sensitive to salicylates ( commonly found in aspirin) cannot take most pain relievers because the chemical compounds might be similar. Those who are sensitive to sulfa antibiotics may need an alternative antibiotic that uses different ingredients. If you have previously identified an allergy or intolerance to certain drugs, talk with your doctor about the compound medication so they can prescribe one for you.
You Need A Different Form Of The Drug For Better Absorption
Different forms of medications require different means of administration into the body – orally, intravenously, or subcutaneously for example. If you need medicine in another form that your doctor thinks will be more beneficial to your treatment, they may ask for it to be compounded into that medication. Since injectable drugs are absorbed by the body faster than other forms, some physicians will prescribe them for acute situations. For example, if you need an antibiotic to treat pneumonia but are experiencing nausea or vomiting while taking it orally, your doctor may ask for an injectable form of the antibiotic to be made so that you can more quickly recover.
Your Medication Isn’t Available In Other Forms
Some medications simply do not exist as anything other than their original form. This is often the case with prescriptions that use a single medication to treat a certain illness, such as some cases of bacterial infections. If it’s determined that you need this singular drug and you cannot take tablets or capsules because of nausea or vomiting, your doctor might prescribe it as an injection instead – if it exists as one. Likewise, those who need specific therapy for Lyme disease may find their drugs supplied only in pill form. So, those who cannot swallow pills for medical reasons may ask their doctors about having these medicines compounded into liquid form using ingredients different from sulfa drugs.
You Are Taking Multiple Drugs
Many people end up taking multiple medications as they age. Older adults often take a combination of pharmaceutical drugs to manage their various health issues, and some combinations can cause serious problems if the wrong medicines are taken at the same time. Some combinations can be fatal even if only one is a very small amount – especially for patients with impaired organ function. This is where a compounded medication might come in handy. Your doctor may have you try an over-the-counter medicine that has been worked into a compound medication to see how well it works before prescribing or suggesting any other over-the-counter medicines that would otherwise interact badly with your original prescriptions.
A Compounded Medication Is Cheaper
Some doctors and compounding pharmacies work together to come up with less expensive options that still contain the same ingredients as the brand-name drug. If your insurance company will not cover a much more expensive medication, talk to your doctor about compounded medications that use similar ingredients but cost less. Some companies even take multiple prescriptions and combine them into one compound prescription to save money and provide you with access to all of them in one dose. Talk with your doctor if any of these instances sound like what you need.
Taking compound medication may be a good idea if some of the above situations apply to you. If it sounds like something you might consider, talk with your doctor about it and see if they may help improve your health. You might just find that a compound medication is just what you need to get back on track.