Compounding describes the practice of combining prescription medications in a controlled environment. Licensed pharmacists, physicians, or outsourcing facilities perform compounding under close supervision to create medications tailored to individual patients. Many patients take several medications or have sensitivities to certain compounds, additives, or other medications, and therefore need a more customized approach to their prescriptions. But are compounding pharmacies safe?
Common Misconceptions About Compounding
Technically, compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the oversight agency responsible for ensuring safe and effective drugs in the United States, but they are overseen by professionals in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacy state boards oversee the daily operations of all pharmacies, including compounding pharmacies, which are regulated by the FDA.
The idea that compounding pharmacies aren’t overseen by federal administration is not accurate. Additionally, under section 503A of the FDCA, the FDA has some authority over their operations. When you work with a compounding pharmacy, there are oversights in place to patrons.
How Can I Know What I’m Getting?
The FDA ensures no compounding operation may mislabel or misrepresent compounded medications and their ingredients. Patients are also protected by state boards of pharmacies, which ensure compounded medications are only available with legitimate prescriptions. Most compounding operations have a local network of doctors and pharmacies that work together to provide compounding services to residents in the area.
Is Compounded Medication ‘Alternative Medicine’?
Compounded medications are not alternative medicines. While most alternative medicines claim to be natural remedies or are scientifically unproven treatments, compounding is simply customized prescription medications. Although pharmaceuticals provide relief and medical condition management for countless patients, some people still have difficult sensitivities to certain drugs or may not be able to take the preferred treatment due to a drug allergy or other issue.
Are Compounded Drugs More Dangerous?
Typically, compounded prescription medications are actually safer for patients as long as they use reputable, licensed compounding operations. While mass-produced pharmaceuticals may not pose any issues to the majority of patients, some patients who might otherwise benefit from taking those drugs cannot for various reasons. Compounding allows patients to take valuable medications in appropriate doses and omits potentially harmful additives, filler substances, dyes, or other substances.
Can I Get Compounded Medications Without a Prescription?
Compounded medications still require prescriptions from licensed physicians. State boards of pharmacies manage the processes for obtaining and disbursing compounded medications, and no legitimate compounding operation would provide compounded medications without a prescription from a real doctor. Doctors play an important role in securing effective compounds, because they can help patients identify the elements of typical drugs that may cause adverse side effects for them. Doctors and patients typically work together when securing compounded prescription drugs to ensure the highest degrees of safety and effectiveness are followed.
How Does the Government Regulate Compounding?
While compounded drugs are not FDA-verified, the FDA still oversees compounding operations to ensure they meet the necessary regulations and guidelines for compounding. If a compounding operation fails to meet these requirements or violates their obligations under the FDCA, they are then subject to all the requirements for conventional manufacturers. This means that non-compliant manufacturers must then pay for the verification and testing necessary for FDA approval before resuming business.
Choose The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills
While many people may hold some common misconceptions about compounded drugs, it’s important to separate myth from reality and consider the value of custom-compounded prescription drugs. Some people who suffer from drug sensitivities, allergies to certain substances found in mass-produced pharmaceuticals or allergies to dyes and filler ingredients find tremendous relief thanks to compounding operations.
When ordering compounded prescription drugs, it’s vital to use a trusted compounding operation with a proven track record of customer satisfaction and commitment to providing safe and effective compounded medications.