If a doctor or healthcare provider has ever given you a prescription that is only available at a specific pharmacy, it may be a compounded medication. Prescription compounding is a specialized pharmaceutical practice dedicated to creating custom medications to meet the unique needs of individual patients. While the majority of prescriptions are commonly filled with commercially available drugs, prescription compounding remains a vital practice, particularly for patients - both human and animal - with special medication needs.

What is Prescription Compounding?

Prescription compounding involves combining, mixing, or altering pharmaceutical ingredients to create custom medications that address individual requirements not met by mass-produced drugs. This practice allows for the formulation of personalized medicine in alternative dosage forms, strengths, or with specific flavorings, making it a valuable solution for patients with allergies, sensitivities, or other unique medical considerations.

We can trace the roots of prescription compounding back to the days when pharmacists were widely responsible for preparing medications from raw ingredients before ready-made drugs existed. During this time, prior to widespread pharmaceutical manufacturing, compounding was essential for creating medicines to meet individual healthcare needs.

Today, prescription compounding is still a vital component of pharmaceutical care, filling the gaps left by standard formulations or dosages. Modern compounding practices are guided by strict regulations to ensure the safety, efficacy, and quality of customized medications, with compounding pharmacists collaborating closely with healthcare providers to address specific patient requirements.

Benefits of Compounding for Human Patients

Prescription compounding is a personalized approach that emphasizes individualized care by tailoring treatments to each patient's distinct needs and preferences. This practice presents a very special advantage - allowing compounding pharmacists to formulate medications to fit specific needs, whether that’s making the medication easier to take or at a specialized dose.

Personalized Dosages and Forms

Most commercially produced drugs and medications come in a one-size-fits-all dosage form, strength and formulation. However, many times, individuals may need an alternative to what’s commercially available. That’s where prescription compounding comes in, as a compounding pharmacist can create a customized formula to meet different dosage needs.

For example, a pediatric patient may need medicine in a dosage that is not commercially produced, i.e., the available options may be too strong. In such cases, a compounding pharmacist can create a customized formulation with the exact dosage needed for the child's specific medical condition and weight, such as a liquid formulation with a precise concentration.

Allergy-Friendly Medications

Compounding pharmacists can also create allergy-friendly medications for patients sensitive to certain ingredients commonly found in commercially available drugs. These allergy-friendly compounding solutions ensure that individuals with allergies can receive effective treatment without the risk of adverse reactions.

In these cases, the compounded medications can be personalized to exclude allergens such as gluten, lactose, dyes, preservatives, sugars, soy, corn, or other problematic substances. The result is a customized and safe formula, aligning with the growing demand for allergen-free prescription options while improving patient outcomes.

Backordered Commercial Drugs

In today’s pharmaceutical markets, we are also seeing a variety of commercial drugs on backorder. In the last year, Tylenol for children was unavailable in many places, so our pharmacy was able to compound Acemetephin in the correct doses for your little ones. Currently Progesterone capsules are also on backorder and our compounding labs can create progesterone capsules in customized strengths for hormone replacement therapy, pregnant women with low progesterone levels, and women who experience post, peri and pre-menopausal symptoms.

Compounding for Pets: Special Veterinary Needs

Creating personalized medications through compounding isn’t just for human patients, as beloved pets may also need a specially formulated medicine when the commercially produced product isn’t a fit.

Custom Dosages for Pets

Pets vary widely in size, weight, and species. However, commercially available pet medications may not always offer the flexibility needed to tailor dosages to the specific requirements of individual animals. Therefore, veterinary compounding addresses the unique needs of animals by providing customized and precise pet medication dosages for all types of pets, no matter the size or species.

Palatable Medication Options for Animals

If you are a pet owner, you’ve likely struggled with administering medications at one time or another. Although animals cannot talk, they typically have no problem letting us know what they do not like. Fortunately, a veterinary compounding pharmacy can formulate pet-friendly medications that are easier to administer, including creating specialty flavored pet medicine, incorporating medicines into chewable treats, a fishy or chicken flavored liquid, or creating formulas for transdermal application (via the skin rather than orally).

The Process of Prescription Compounding

The compounding process is a collaborative effort between healthcare providers, pharmacists, and patients that begins when a healthcare provider prescribes medication and recognizes the need for customization, at which point a compounding pharmacy can help.

Consultation and Customization

Once a specialty prescription request is received, a compounding pharmacist will assess the patient's medical history, allergies, and specific requirements before selecting the pharmaceutical-grade ingredients necessary for the compounded formula. Next, the pharmacist applies their pharmaceutical expertise to calculate and formulate the medication in the precise dosage, strength, and form required. Once the compounded medication is complete, a pharmacist consultation is recommended to cover the administration and storage of the medicine.

Quality and Safety in Compounding

Certified compounding pharmacies, like Martin’s Wellness Pharmacies, are staffed with extensively trained pharmacists and experts in preparing, and packaging compounded medications - including using the latest technology to research, formulate, and create the most sophisticated compounding recipes.

Federally, compounding pharmacies are bound by regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure compliance with industry standards and guidelines. On a local level, they are subject to state-specific regulations, pharmacy standards, and oversight by the State Board of Pharmacy, further reinforcing regulatory compliance and compounding safety.

Overall, prescription compounding is a tailored healthcare approach that offers many benefits, especially when comparing compounded medications to commercially available options. Let’s recap the benefits of medication customization:

  • • Creating personal dosages not met by commercial drugs or to match a person’s specific weight and size.
  • • Combining multiple medications into one single dose for easier administration.
  • • Adding flavors to make unsavory medications more palatable.
  • • Creating allergy-free medications by removing or swapping out inactive ingredients (lactose, preservatives, dyes, etc.).
  • • Compounding pet medication with tasty flavors into treats or liquids that make administration easier to manage.
  • • Creating alternate medication forms for easier swallowing or application.

Although the readily available commercially produced medications work well for many people and pets, there are times when these formulas simply do not address all they can or should - and prescription compounding can fill those gaps.

For two decades, Martin’s Wellness Pharmacies have offered prescription compounding and other specialty services unavailable at traditional or community pharmacies. Our two locations in  Austin and Dripping Springs cater to helping individuals reach wellness goals through a dedication to the highest quality of accuracy, ethics, and clinical confidence.