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Compounding Pharmacies 101 | A Guide For New Customers

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If you are like a lot of people, pretty much any prescription you are given for an illness or ailment will not cause you any serious side effects. However, some people do have issues with taking normal medications because of allergies, sensitivities to certain ingredients, or an inability to physically take a medication as prescribed, such as someone who has a hard time swallowing. If a doctor recommends that you see a compounding pharmacist for a specific prescription, it is likely that you will have a few questions. Here are a few of the most common questions and the answers you should know. 

Is it safe to take compounded medications?

Your doctor has a major hand in determining if a compounded prescription will work better for you than a typical dose of a single type of medication. Therefore, what you are being given is according to their standards of care and assessment of your physical condition. Because of this, most patients see better results with a compounded medication if they were initially having issues with a basic drug. In some cases, your doctor will only prescribe you a trial prescription for a short span of time and then have you come back for a visit to ensure the compounded medication does not need to be adjusted. 

Are compound medications FDA approved?

Compounded drugs are not actually FDA approved. Even though individual components of compounded medications may be FDA approved, the combination of the two is not a formulation that has been assessed by the FDA. However, pharmacists who provide compounded medications are held to strict standards by the state boards of pharmacy when it comes to safety handling and combining medications. The FDA does have some control over the operations and processes, but it is primarily the responsibility of the boards of pharmacy in each state to oversee handling and compounding of prescription medications. 

Will health insurance pay for compound medications?

In some cases, yes, but this is highly variable according to the compounding process and your insurance company. Some medications are frequently compounded and the compounded products are recognized on the insurer's covered medications list. For example, a child who has a difficult time taking a syrup because it upsets their tummy may receive a medication compounded with a medication for nausea. However, most of the time, you will be responsible for paying for compounded medications out of pocket. Click here for more information.