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When it comes to medications, the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t always work. If the mass-produced commercial drugs are causing allergic reactions or you’re unable to get access to a discontinued medicine, then a compounding pharmacy may help you. Compounding medications are the best choice for patients who need customized medications that meet their specific needs. A qualified compounding pharmacist can mix, combine, or alter ingredients to prepare personalized medications. So, whether you want to avoid dyes or preservatives found in FDA-approved drugs or need to change the form of the medication, compounding can be right for you. Compounding medication has several benefits, however, choosing the right compounding pharmacy is as important as selecting the best physician.
If you think compounding is right for you, then it becomes crucial to carefully choose the right pharmacy. Unlike retail pharmacies that are regulated by the FDA, compounding pharmacies are regulated by the state and different compounding pharmacies may have different quality standards and expertise. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has clearly stated that the practices of compounding pharmacies should be supervised by licensed pharmacists or physicians. Only a qualified pharmacist knows how to accurately mix and combine medications that are safe for consumption. Typically, all compounding pharmacies offer services such as:
- Create personalized medications without unwanted ingredients like preservatives, dyes, sugar, gluten, or lactose
- Modify the strength of a medication
- Add a flavor to the medication
- Change the delivery form such as flavored liquid suspensions, topical gels, or creams
What to Look For In a Compounding Pharmacy?
The services offered by compounding pharmacies are of great help but selecting the right pharmacy can be daunting. There are several things you need to consider before choosing a pharmacy that is safe and reliable. Similar to traditional pharmacists, compounding professionals should also have extensive training, license, and experience to meet your state’s standards and requirements. To help you choose the right professional, here we have listed some tips to choose the right compounding pharmacy.
1. Check PCAB Accreditation
The first step in choosing the right compounding pharmacy is checking the accreditations and certifications. The compounding pharmacies are certified by the PCAB (Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board). If a pharmacy is accredited by PCAB then it means their activities comply with nationally accepted standards for compounding pharmacies. The Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) is a separate body that sets rigorous standards for compound pharmacies to ensure that their compounding processes and procedures meet established protocols. So, if choosing a PCAB accredited pharmacy means your compound medications are coming from a trusted source. Certification also indicates that their pharmacists are properly trained in compounding and they maintain high-quality procedures to ensure the safety of medications. So, no matter where you live, make sure the pharmacy is legally allowed to operate and is accredited by national regulatory bodies.
2. Quality of Ingredients Used
Next, you need to make sure that the compound medications are close to the quality and effectiveness of commercially produced retail drugs. To ensure that compound pharmacy is creating drugs that are safe and effective, you need to find out the quality of chemicals or ingredients they are using for compounding. A reliable compounding pharmacy will also source high-quality chemicals and ingredients from trusted sources to create safe and effective formulations. You may check if they have a Certificate of Analysis (CofA) for the ingredients they use in their compound medications. Ideally, the compounding pharmacy should source substances from wholesalers that are FDA-registered and their pharmaceutical ingredients should be USP-grade (United States Pharmacopeia) or EP-grade (European Pharmacopeia).
3. Batch Testing
Once you’re satisfied with the accreditation and quality of ingredients, another important consideration is batch testing. To ensure the safety of the compounded medication, the pharmacy should further perform batch testing of their formulations. Batch testing ensures that their compounded prescription is safe. The pharmacy can either choose in-house testing or work with a reliable external batch testing agency to perform rigorous testing. Testing will ensure that no mistake or error was committed during mixing ingredients and the potency of the compounded medications is safe for humans. You may also visit their facility to check the quality of their production process and testing procedure.