Lethbridge Pharmacy -Martie Dick

Do you have questions about pharmacy compounding?

We have answers.

Pharmacy compounding is a long-established tradition that offers customized care to meet the specific needs of individual patients.

Have you ever wished your child’s medicine tasted better, so they would accept it without a fuss? Or struggled to cut a prescription tablet in half because the pill wasn’t manufactured in the strength you required? Perhaps an ill loved one could have benefited from having multiple medications combined into a single dose. At  Gail’s Apothecary, we  provide solutions to all these problems, and more.

What is compounding?

Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for patients. Its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy, although compounding’s presence in the pharmacy profession has changed over the years. In the 1930s and 1940s, the majority of prescriptions were compounded. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 1950s and ‘60s, compounding declined as the pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms. However, this “one-size-fits-all” approach to medication meant that some patients’ needs were not being met.

How does compounding benefit me?

There are several reasons why prescribers and pharmacists provide compounded medications for patients. The primary reason for compounding is to avoid patient non-compliance, which means the patient is either unable or unwilling to use the medication as directed. Many patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes, or require a dosage that is different from the standard drug strengths.

With a physician’s consent, a compounding pharmacist can:

  • Adjust the strength of a medication
  • Avoid unwanted ingredients, such as dyes, preservative, lactose, gluten, or sugar.
  • Add flavour to make the medication more palatable
  • For patients who find it difficult to swallow a capsule, a compounding pharmacist may prepare the drug as a flavoured liquid suspension instead. Other medication forms include topical gels or creams that can be absorbed through the skin, suppositories, sublingual troches, or even lollipops.

Can my child – or my elderly parent – take compounded medication?

Yes! Children and the elderly are often the types of patients who benefit most from compounding. It is common for parents to have a tough time getting their children to take medicine because of the taste. A compounding pharmacist can work directly with the physician and the patient to select a flavouring agent, such as bubblegum, grape, tutti frutti, or vanilla butternut, which provides both an appropriate match for the medication’s properties and the patient’s taste preferences.

Compounding pharmacists also can help patients who experience chronic pain. For example, some arthritic patients cannot take certain medications due to gastrointestinal side effects. With a healthcare practitioner’s prescription, a compounding pharmacist may be able to provide these patients’ anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications with topical preparations that can be absorbed through the skin. Compounded prescriptions frequently are used to ease pain, nausea, and other symptoms for hospice patients as well.

Is compounding legal? Is it safe?

Health Canada has stated that compounded prescriptions are both ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and compounded by a licensed pharmacy. In addition, compounding is regulated by provincial boards of pharmacy.

Will my insurance cover compounded medications?

Some insurance plans allow the patient to be reimbursed by sending in claim forms. While you may be paying a pharmacy directly for a compounded prescription, many insurance plans may cover the final cost.

Gail’s Apothecary and Compounding Pharmacy is a full service pharmacy specializing in compounding. We are locally owned and operated and have been serving Lethbridge since 1983. We are available for any of your prescription needs and would love to help you meet all of your health care goals. If you have any questions or would like to find out what we can do for you, come and see us today!

#2, 425-13 Street N | (403) 329-4121, gailsapothecary.ca