July 3, 2022

What Is the Difference Between Compounding and Regular Pharmacies?

When you’re given a prescription to treat an ailment or condition, you’ll likely need to visit a pharmacy to collect your medication. However, what you’re prescribed will determine how readily you can access said medication and whether you’ll need to visit a regular pharmacy or a compounding pharmacy to collect your script. What is the difference between compounding and regular pharmacies? Read on for clarification. 

Compounding Pharmacies vs. Regular Pharmacies

In medical terms, compounding is the process of mixing, altering, combining or tailoring the components of a medication to meet specific needs. Only certain pharmacies offer this service, as it requires specialized training and equipment to do so. Pharmaceutical compounding can be of great importance to some patients, such as those who are allergic or intolerant to certain substances, require unique dosages, or specific delivery methods.

Compounded drugs are drugs composed of two or more individual medications and create a vast number of new drug compounds. The result of this process is not FDA approved, and thus the safety and effectiveness of the drug cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, careful consideration must go into the administration of the drug, and the safety protocols printed on the medication’s information leaflet should be followed to ensure the drug is taken safely. 

Regular pharmacies quality assess their drugs through the FDA, whereas outsourcing facilities must follow current good manufacturing practices (CGMP). Compounding pharmacies, however, are not required to comply with the CGMP and thus can potentially lack the same degree of consistency in their compounding practices. That said, compounding pharmacies offer a service regular pharmacies are unable to, meeting needs an ordinary pharmacy cannot. For this reason, compounding pharmacies can meet the therapeutic needs uncatered to by regular pharmacies and their uncompounded medications. 

Would a Compounding Pharmacy Offer the Right Service for Me? 

Compounding allows for the combination of different drugs and adjustments in dose and method of ingestion unavailable elsewhere. For example, if you have difficulty swallowing, a compounding pharmacy could formulate the medication into a liquid cream or gel. You may find a compounding pharmacy can also alter the flavor of medicine or create allergen/preservative-free medications for those with specific intolerances. All the above can significantly aid a patient in complying with their medication regime for the betterment of their health. 

Although the prospect of a drug specifically tailored to your individual needs may seem attractive, it’s essential to acknowledge the inherent risks. Though compounding pharmacists are extensively trained, there’s a slightly higher risk of cross-contamination in compounding pharmacies due to the presence of so many different drug particles as a result of the compounding process. These risks are tightly regulated by the strict implementation of protocols and standards designed to prevent any cross-contamination, and are followed across all facilities, including The Healthy Choice in New York. 

Find a Compounding Pharmacy in Elmsford, New York

With a better understanding of the differences between regular and compounding pharmacies, you should now know which is better suited to your own needs. If you have allergies, intolerances, or unique needs that complicate your medication regime, it may be worth investigating how a compounding pharmacy can be able to help.

If this would be of value to you, contact The Healthy Choice on 914-238-1700 to request a consultation. We’re always happy to take inquiries and offer advice based on the information you can provide us. By speaking to one of our pharmacists, you may learn of a means by which we can tailor your medication to better suit you and your daily routine.