Learn more about custom prescriptions and compounding pharmacies. These days, savvy shoppers are often steering clear of one-size-fits-all food, and instead heading for the diverse, local options like a farmers market and community supported agricultural (CSA) programs. Now you can make a similar choice with your medications. In addition to your typical commercial pharmacy, there is another choice: a compounding pharmacy.
What is a compounding pharmacy?
It’s just what it sounds like: a pharmacy that compounds or combines ingredients to make individualized medicine. By combining the ingredients themselves rather than simply ordering complete medicines from a large brand name company, a compounding pharmacy can tailor medicines like hormone replacements, pain relievers and scar treatments to you exact needs. The compounds are nor FDA-approved, but not because they are unsafe. Casey Gaetano, vice-president of P3 Compounding Pharmacy, explains that FDA approval takes million of dollars and years of testing, and since each compound is specific to you, there’s no realistic way for each medicine to go through the approval process. If you’re with a doctor you trust, theirs is likely all the approval you need to put your mind at ease.
How do you find one?
It starts with consulting your doctor – this might be your primary care physician, your orthopedist or your OB/GYN. Instead of your doctor writing out your typical prescription, you can ask them to write a prescription for compounding, which is like a recipe for the pharmacist that is based on your exact needs. If your doctor doesn’t feel comfortable writing a prescription for compounding, you may have to be more proactive and call other doctors to find one who will. Once you secure the correct type of prescription, you can then take it to your local compounding pharmacy, like the newly opened P3 Compounding Pharmacy, where they can fill it and send your medicine to you overnight. You can also pick up your medicines and chat with your pharmacists at their office in Sandy Springs.
What are the advantages?
First, you can be sure that your prescription is personalized rather than generically prepared, which means fewer fillers. Second, it may allow you to avoid unwanted side effects. For example, you can apply topical cream to a sore knee instead of taking an oral pain reliever and involving unrelated parts of your body, like your stomach, liver and kidneys. A compounding pharmacy can even combine multiple medicines into one easy pill for you to take, which often means you can spend less on your medicines overall, though cost varies depending on the prescription. Like most medicines, insurance coverage for compounds varies based on your plan, so be sure to check with your provider for more information.