What is a Compounding Pharmacy?
Sometimes a “one-size-fits-all” approach to medication does not work for everyone. It means that patients’ needs are not met by a traditional dispensing pharmacy. We have the ability to compound products tailored to suit the needs of our customers, giving them access to the best medicine for their personal needs.
You’re likely to visit a pharmacy when you need to pick up your prescriptions, but have you ever visited a compounding pharmacy?
Most people don’t know the difference between a regular and compounding pharmacy. A compounding pharmacy is a specialty pharmacy that can make a medication prescribed by a doctor, for patients that cannot use a commercially manufactured medication. Often, a compounding pharmacy is used for people with allergic tendencies or for those that are very young and need a small dosage of a certain medication.
Unlike ordinary pharmacies that sell manufactured medicines, a compounding pharmacy will compound (mix) and package your prescription onsite – we often say “make it up from scratch”. Compounding is the process of making a medication from raw ingredients that are either not readily available on the Australian market, currently out of stock or were not manufactured in the precise dose and/or dosage form that you have been prescribed.
Working with your doctor, compounding allows our pharmacists to customise the strength and dosage of a medication according to your individual needs.
Compounding pharmacies will only issue medications that are obtained via a prescription from a medical doctor. This is a safe and reliable way to obtain customised medications. They are individualised for the patient and not administered as a set and predetermined dose like commercial medications. Some compounding pharmacies undergo extra quality assessment to provide consumers with confidence that the product has been compounded to compounding standards. The Pharmacy Boards around Australia are currently reviewing their assessment of compounding pharmacies in an effort to improve the standards of delivery of compounded medicines.
How can someone know if compounding is the right choice for their medication or supplements?
There are many situations where compounding a medicine can be helpful. Compounded medications can be great for people who cannot swallow pills, such as the elderly or young children, and need an alternative form such as a cream or liquid. Many people are allergic or sensitive to particular ingredients in mass-produced medications, and these can be removed in a compounded medication.
A compounding pharmacy can also create custom doses for someone who needs larger or smaller doses than the ones that are mass manufactured. In addition, compounding is worth looking into for pet needs, as the medication will be compounded specifically for your animal.
Overall, compounding is the perfect solution for anyone who cannot tolerate mass-produced medications for any reason. It may also minimise side effects because a compounding pharmacist can help a patient get the appropriate dosage needed whilst removing any ingredients that pose a problem for that patient such as lactose, colouring agents, gluten or preservatives.
There are so many prescription medications available. Why do we need compounded medications?
Some medications are only available by compounding. For people with strict dietary and allergy requirements, compounding the medicine may be the only option. Also, compounding pharmacies cater to medication that has been discontinued or is no longer being manufactured in bulk.
What is involved in compounding medication?
- The dosage compounded is tailored exactly for the patient
- Medication compounded can come in many forms including patches, chewables, suppositories, mixtures, rapid dissolve tablets, or gels
- The medicine can be compounded free of problem-causing ingredients like certain preservatives, alcohol or lactose that may cause an allergic reaction
- The medicine can be compounded in a vegan (eg. cellulose) capsule instead of an animal sourced capsule (eg. gelatin)
Can I buy compounded medication without a prescription?
No. Compounded medication acts in the same way as traditional medication. If the active ingredient in the medication can only be prescribed by a doctor then you must obtain a prescription in order to be able to purchase the compounded medication. Most compounding pharmacies (including Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies) require a prescription for any medicine that is compounded.
Can I have my prescription medicine compounded if it is cheaper to have it compounded?
No. In Australia, it is illegal to compound and sell a medicine that is already produced by a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Only medicines that are not available by a commercial manufacturer and prescribed by a doctor registered in Australia can be compounded.
I want to visit a compounding pharmacy. Where do I find one?
Your GP will be your first point of contact when it comes to prescription medicines to be compounded. There are many compounding pharmacies in Sydney. Get in touch today.
What is the difference between a pharmacy and a compounding pharmacy?
Commercially available medications are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies in mass quantities for the general population with no specific patient in mind. Compounded medications are ordered by a physician, individually prepared by a compounding pharmacist and made specifically for a person’s unique medical needs
How long does it take to compound my medication?
The wait time varies depending on the complexity of the prescription required for compounding. Usually, the medicine can be compounded within a day. However, if an ingredient needs to be ordered, the process can take several days so it is best to check with your Compounding Pharmacy. If you need a repeat of a compounded medicine, it will need to compounded again, as every medicine is bespoke and created to tailor for each specific patient.
As experienced compounding pharmacists, we have outlined the benefits for compounded medication.
Sometimes, patients may need their medication in a different dosage form. For instance, some people who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules may find it easier to take their medication in liquid form. Some medications can be also compounded in cream or gel forms and the medication is absorbed through the skin. As a compounding pharmacy, we can offer medicines in various forms depending on the best solution for you!
When large manufacturers discontinue production of a certain medication, they make it hard for the patients who still need these medicines. Compounding pharmacists play an important role in providing access to discontinued medications by compounding pharmaceutical-based ingredients in order to ensure that patients get the critical care they require. Compounding pharmacies have access to the quality tested pharmaceutical ingredients and can fill the prescription using the latest research, quality control process, and techniques that help meet the individual patient needs. If you want to learn more about discontinued medication, get in touch with us.
Easy to Use
Some medications taste extremely unpleasant, making it challenging for the patients to take them as directed. A compounding pharmacist can customise the prescription from scratch with the patient’s flavour of choice. This is especially handy when dealing with patients who may refuse medication, like young children, elderly patients, or even pets.
We understand that each individual is unique and complex. Many of our patients have issues with allergy, sensitivity, intolerance to dyes, lactose, gluten, fructose or alcohol. These can cause unwanted reactions when taking a certain medication. In other cases, traditional manufactured medications may contain preservatives that cannot be tolerated by the patient because of sensitivities or allergies to these substances. A compounding pharmacist can make a formula without the offensive ingredients, so a patient can still get the right treatment.
When it comes to compounding, identifying our patients’ needs is our top priority. What flavour of an oral medicine would they prefer? Can we compound the medicine in a different sized capsule? Can the medicine be safely delivered through the skin, under the tongue, through the nose or maybe through the vagina? Can we safely combine several medicines in one capsule? What side effects are our patients dealing with? What questions might they have when they take their medicine? We often do a lot of research to source the active ingredients, determine a formula and develop the method to compound the medicine. As a compounding pharmacy, we offer patients a service they can’t receive at most other pharmacies.
Compounding pharmacies are often unheard of. If you have any specific medical or allergic requirements, speak to your GP about compounding your medicine and how it can help you. Alternatively, we have trained pharmacists onsite that are more than happy to give you reputable advice.
For your customised compounded medication, including health plans or advice about prescription medicines, get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable compounding pharmacists today. Visit one of our stores today or call us on 02 9389 3168.