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Facts about compounding

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Monday, June 27, 2011

As the person responsible for your own healthcare, or a caregiver responsible for the healthcare of someone close to you, it is essential that you make informed decisions with your doctor about treatments, including compounded medications. This blog series will tell you more about compounding, how it may help you, and some questions to ask your doctor and your pharmacy before filling a prescription.

Patients with unique needs

Millions of Americans have unique healthcare needs that off-the-shelf prescription medications cannot meet. Because every patient is different and has different needs, customized, compounded medications are a vital part of quality medical-care. For many people, personalized medications — mixed safely by trained, licensed pharmacists — are the only way to better health.

Pharmacists with unique skills

Because every patient is different and has different needs, customized, compounded medications are a vital part of quality medical-care. Pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals who have specialized in chemical properties and can prepare alternate dosage-forms. In fact, each state requires that pharmacy schools must, as part of their core curricula, instruct students about the compounding of pharmaceutical ingredients. Compounding pharmacies are licensed and regulated in the 50 states and the District of Columbia by their respective state boards of pharmacy.

A compounding pharmacy is like a custom tailor.

When your physician prescribes a custom-compounded medication for your condition, he or she is essentially sending you to a custom tailor of medicine, who will prepare the exact dosage and form that is right for you. Compounded medications are made just for you, allowing your doctor to specify the appropriate active ingredients, dosage form, strength, size — and even the flavor — that is best for you. Your prescriber will give you a prescription just like any other prescription, and let you know that you need to find a compounding pharmacy to fill it for you. Compounding pharmacies come in all sizes and configurations and are located throughout the United States. Some fill a few prescriptions for compounded medicines every day, some fill thousands. Some specialize in a few compounds, such as bio-identical hormone replacement therapies, or medicines used by urologists, ophthalmologists or veterinarians, while others provide a range of compounded medicines for human and animal use. To find a compounding pharmacist near you, visit the websites of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists or the Professional Compounding Centers of America and use their pharmacist-locator tools. You also may want to use Google or Bing to search for “compounding pharmacy.” Since results from these search engines are tuned to your location, you’ll see local pharmacies first among your search results.

When it comes to filling your prescription, you have options. You can take it to a local compounding pharmacy. By law, you can’t e-mail your prescription to a pharmacy, but you can mail it. This allows you to use any compounding pharmacy you choose, perhaps one that will deliver your medication to your home. Of course, your prescriber can fax or call your prescription to any compounding pharmacy.

Learn how to talk to your doctor about compounded medications

We've recently published information about how to talk to your doctor about compounded medications. It is a downloadable booklet from our website. In it, you will get a comprehensive overview of

  • What compounding is and how it may help you
  • When compounding is appropriate
  • How to start a conversation with your doctor about compounded medications
  • How to choose the compounding pharmacy that's right for you
Your copy of Talk to your doctor about compounded medications from Wedgewood Pharmacy is now available for download.

Phil Scully R.Ph. Phil
Phil Scully, R.Ph.
Technical-Services Pharmacist
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About Phil Scully:
Philip A. Scully, R.Ph., technical-Services Pharmacist for Wedgewood Pharmacy, works with prescribers and their staff to develop custom formulations. He is a member of the Formula-Change Control Committee and Quality Review Board of the company and works closely with Research & Development.

Scully is experienced in all aspects of the compounding-pharmacy specialty and has developed unique expertise in compounding formulations, flavoring and oral dosage-forms. He has been in the pharmacy profession since 1993 and has worked at Wedgewood since 2003.

He is a Registered Pharmacist in New Jersey and was a certified primary diabetes educator. Previously, he was director of Operations/pharmacist-in-charge for Winslow's Pharmacy: An Omnicare Company (Vineland NJ); a consultant pharmacist with Cherry Hill Pharmacy LTC (Cherry Hill NJ) and was pharmacist-in-charge for an independent pharmacy.

He holds a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Wedgewood Pharmacy.

Medications compounded by Wedgewood Pharmacy are prepared at the direction of a veterinarian. Many compounded preparations are commonly prescribed, and supported by literature, to treat particular disease states, but you should always consult your veterinarian before taking or administering any compounded medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy does not make claims for the efficacy of its compounded preparations.

Phil Scully, R.Ph. Technical-Services Pharmacist 6/27/2011 10:36:00 AM

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