The science of pharmaceutical compounding has been highly misunderstood (or not understood at all) for decades. In this blog, the Fort Collins Pharmacists at Good Day Pharmacy will help you understand the basics of pharmaceutical compounding and how it helps the general public stay healthy.

What is compounding?

Compounding is the creation of a “custom” pharmaceutical drug made by a licensed pharmacist for the specific needs of a patient (either of the human or the animal variety). By adding and removing ingredients, increasing or decreasing the doses of certain ingredients, or modifying the structure of a prescription drug, pharmacists can provide drugs that are as helpful as possible to their patients.

Why is it important?

There are many purposes and applications for compounded medications. In some cases, patients need a specific prescription drug to treat an illness, but are allergic to one of the ingredients (this is very common for people with lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or other food-related allergies and digestive ailments). Compounding allows pharmacists to remove or replace the ingredient in a safe and stable manner so the patient can get the treatment they need without any negative side effects.

Compounding also allows pharmacists to create custom strengths and doses of medications, flavored medications to make prescription drugs more palatable for kids and pets, or to change the form of a drug for patients who have difficulty chewing, swallowing, or digesting oral medications. These drugs can also be reworked into liquids, transdermal gels, suppositories, and topical creams to make them easier to administer to patients, which is crucial for the health of the public at large.

How are compounding pharmacies regulated?

Compounding pharmacies are subject to strict oversight from state and federal pharmaceutical agencies—and while compounding pharmacies are granted certain exemptions from the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, they must follow virtually all Food and Drug Administration regulations. Controlled substances used in pharmaceutical compounding are strictly regulated the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In addition to these standards, the United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention discusses issues and sets standards for best practices and ethical guidelines in regards to compounding.

Do compounding pharmacists have special training?

Compounding is an essential practice for all licensed pharmacists. In pharmacy school, pharmacists are trained on methods for properly compounding medications, and must pass rigorous tests about compounding and other pharmaceutical methods before they are issued a pharmaceutical license.

When do I need a compounded drug?

Compounded drugs are prescribed to patients only when a mass-produced prescription drug does not meet their needs. Always ask your doctor about if or why they are prescribing you a compounded drug, and make sure they give you reasons why you would not be able to tolerate the commercially available drug.

How do I find a compounded pharmacy in my area?

If you are prescribed a compounded drug, your pharmacist will direct you to the compounding pharmacy that can meet your needs. Fortunately, Good Day Pharmacy has compounding pharmacy locations across northern Colorado with experienced pharmacists and friendly service. Next time you’re in need of a compounding medication, tell your doctor about Good Day Pharmacy!