What is a Compounding Pharmacy?

A pharmacist in a los angeles compounding pharmacy.
What is a Compounding Pharmacy?

When considering where to refill a prescription, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of pharmacy options to choose from. As you research more closely you might find that some of these pharmacies list themselves as a “compounding pharmacy”. In today’s blog we’ll be going over the question “what is a compounding pharmacy?” to help you better understand what makes them different, and how it might make a difference to you and your medication regimen.


First, we’ll need to cover the basics of what a pharmacy is, in general. The word “pharmacy” refers to the combined science of medicine and chemistry, that is responsible for discovering, producing, and distributing medication. When most people today use the word “pharmacy” in casual conversation, they’re referring to what’s called a “community-based pharmacy”, which are also commonly called “drugstores”. Community-based pharmacies commonly provide prescription medication services as well as over-the-counter medication, food and drink, and other miscellaneous needs.


Put simply, a compounding pharmacy is a pharmacy that engages in compounding medicine, the practice of creating customized drug formulations to fit the needs of a patient. Pharmacists throughout history, and especially before the mass production of medication, have traditionally compounded medicine as their primary service. Compounding pharmacies today mostly provide these services to patients whose needs are unable to be met by commercially produced drugs.


Why go to a Compounding Pharmacy?


Despite the plethora of commercially available medications currently available for use off-the-shelf, compounding pharmacies continue to create customized formulations for patients. There are a number of reasons that patients may need customized formulations, some medical and some non-medical. Below we’ll go over a few of the most common reasons that someone might need a prescription transfer to a compounding pharmacy.


Compounding Specific Prescriptions

The most varied reason to compound is to meet the needs of a specific prescription. The human body is an incredibly complex collection of systems, and some people may need alterations made to suit their body’s needs. For this reason, doctors may create specific prescriptions that can only be filled at a compounding pharmacy.

Compounding to Avoid Allergens

Some patients may be allergic to the formulations used in commercially available drugs. Commercially produced drugs have long ingredient lists, including non-active ingredients that may contain allergens like glutens, dyes, gelatin, and others.

Compounding to Alter Dosage

Commonly available formulations of drugs are often created in dosages designed for an average person. These dosages may come in multiple amounts, but some patients may need further alterations in dosage. Young children may need smaller doses or a liquid version of a tablet-only drug, for example. 

Compounding to Combine Multiple Medications

A patient with many prescriptions may seek out a compounding pharmacy in order to reduce the number of pills they have to take at once. A compounding pharmacy can create customized capsules that contain different drugs to help reduce the strain of having to take multiple pills at a time.

Compounding for Non-Medical Reasons 

There are numerous other reasons why you might want to seek out the services of a compounding pharmacy. Patients with disabilities may have trouble swallowing pills or liquids, and may need the texture of their medicine changed. A compounding pharmacy can even change the formulation of a drug to alter taste by changing inactive ingredients or adding flavoring, so that it becomes more palatable to a young patient.

Contact Medico Pharmacy to learn more about how a Los Angeles compounding pharmacy can help you customize, refill, or transfer prescriptions!