Answering a Patient's Questions About a Compounding Pharmacy

30 April 2018
 Categories: , Blog


A compounding pharmacy is one that makes medicines from scratch and in various forms, rather than simply reselling pills and packaged syrups. Your doctor may have recommended you visit a compounding pharmacy for your prescription needs, or you may want to discuss this option with your doctor, depending on the medication you're taking and its form. Note what is meant by that, and a few commonly asked questions about this type of pharmacy, so you can determine if they can help you with your prescription needs.

Are all pharmacies compounding pharmacies?

A compounding pharmacist needs to have certain medicinal ingredients on hand to create medications in a syrup, powder or pill form, whereas many pharmacies simply have a supply of regularly prescribed pills, packaged syrups and the like. Don't assume that your neighbourhood pharmacist can compound your medication for you, but ensure you choose compounding services in particular so there are no delays in getting the medication you need.

Are there any disadvantages to using a compounding pharmacy?

In some cases you might need to pay a bit more for compounded medication, simply because it's being made for you to certain specifications. Your insurance carrier may cover this cost, so be sure you check with them before having a prescription filled.

Also, when medication is made in a different form, you might need a different dose, so you do need to check with your doctor or pharmacist to know the right number of pills or the right amount of syrup to take; if you're getting medication for someone else, such as an aging parent, you also need to ensure they understand how that medication is taken. That being said, note that the advantage of having medication you can easily swallow, such as a syrup versus a pill, and without irritating dyes, sugar and other additives can far outweigh these inconveniences.

Can all medications be administered in different forms?

Only your doctor can tell you if you can take a medication in a form different than what it prescribed; in some cases it may not be possible, such as when you've been prescribed a certain syrup that is meant to coat your throat or stomach. However, that same syrup might be made by a compounding pharmacist without dyes or sugars that irritate your system, or with certain additives that make it taste better. If you're having difficulty with any medication for any reason, talk to your doctor about how a compounding pharmacy can assist, and about what options they can offer.