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How to talk to your doctor about compounding

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Prescription compounding is a rapidly growing component of many physicians’ practices. But some may not realize the extent of the specialized medications and dosage forms that modern compounding pharmacies offer. If you have a prescription for a compound, get in touch with a compounding pharmacy — one that is committed to providing high-quality compounded medications in the exact dosage-form and strength prescribed by your physician. To find a compounder, visit the Professional Compounding Centers of America or the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists.

Start by asking your doctor to recommend a compounding pharmacy. If he or she has prescribed a compounded medication for you, chances are that he or she will know where you can have the prescription filled in a safe, professional, affordable and convenient way. If your doctor recommends several pharmacies or you decide to evaluate your choices, here are some things to look for:

  • Experience: Some pharmacies compound medicines as a sideline and some do nothing but compounding. Be sure that the pharmacy has specific experience with the medicine you need. As in any area of healthcare, you always want to deal with the professional who has the most experience in a specific procedure.
  • Affiliations: Check for professional affiliations such as membership in the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), the American College of Apothecaries (ACA) and Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) and independent certifications such as PharmacyChecker.
  • Quality: Will your medicine be prepared on a counter next to the greeting cards or in a climate-controlled laboratory? Is every step of the compounding process, from prescribing to compounding and labeling through dispensing, reviewed and verified by a licensed pharmacist? Are the ingredients purchased from FDA-registered suppliers?
  • Convenience: Will you have to drive across the city or the state to pick up your prescription or can you have it delivered to your door? Can you refill online and pay with a credit card? Can you refill 24/7? Can you track the progress of your order and its delivery? Will the pharmacy assist you with insurance-claims processing? Does the pharmacy have professionally trained staff members who can answer your questions? Does it offer other resources that can help you understand your condition such as user groups, forums and online libraries?
You should be confident in the medication you receive from a compounding pharmacy. Some compounded medications must be prepared under sterile conditions, for example, and require complex facilities and equipment to do so properly. So you should do what you can to ensure that the compounding pharmacy you select is doing everything possible to ensure accuracy and quality for the drugs made especially for you.


5 ideas for starting a conversation with your doctor.

  1. I heard about a treatment involving a compounded medication and would like to know more. Are you familiar with this compounded medication?
  2. My regular pharmacy told me that my drug is backordered and unavailable. Can I get it from a compounding pharmacy?
  3. I think I might have an allergy to an ingredient in my medication. Could a compounded version of my medicine help?
  4. The person for whom I care is unable or refuses to take his medicine. What options do I have for adding or changing the flavor or dosage form?
  5. I take multiple drugs and have a difficult time swallowing so many pills. Could a compounding pharmacy combine them into one capsule to make it easier?


2 Questions to ask if your doctor recommends a compounding pharmacy.

  1. Why do you recommend that pharmacy?
  2. Does the pharmacy specialize in compounding?


Learn more on the topic of 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.
Renee Lupo, R.Ph., F.A.C.A., F.A.C.V.P.
Renee Lupo, R.Ph., F.A.C.A.
Technical-Services Pharmacist
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About Renee Lupo

Renee Lupo, R. Ph, F.A.C.A., F.A.C.V.P., technical-services pharmacist for Wedgewood Pharmacy, was the company's lead technical/clinical pharmacist, working with prescribers and their staffs to develop custom formulations. She passed away on May 31, 2012, after a brief illness. A scholarship was established in her name at the University of the Sciences.

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.
Renee Lupo, R.Ph., F.A.C.A., F.A.C.V.P., Technical-Services Pharmacist 7/18/2011 8:36:00 AM

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