Compounding used to be the only source of drugs long before pharma companies began mass-producing medication and the FDA began setting standards. It is a practice that is almost as old as the United States. Every community had one, and a pharmacist you went to with all your prescriptions. Their numbers have dwindled as more and more pharmacists moved into medicine manufacturing. But there are still some you can go to for your special individual medicinal needs.
In the Past
Ancient compounders knew about poisons and their antidotes. They knew the medicinal properties of plants and animal parts. They were alchemists, with their trove of esoteric knowledge. Later they began to extract synthetic dyes, sulpha drugs and plastics. Then they began extracting crude drugs from natural substances like opium. This is how modern medicine began. By the 1940s, it was gaged that almost 50% of all Rxs were compounds.
With the start of regulation, it became necessary for all drug companies to be able to prove that their drugs were all safe. New techniques made it easier for mass-production of drugs. Many compounders moved away and joined these companies. Some remained. Research and development is a very important aspect of medicine manufacturing today. Compounders are therefore needed by drug companies to carry out the research.
But for patients with special medical needs, there are compounding pharmacists that can change the usual form, strength and the flavor of medicines to make it easier to take.
If you or your infant are allergic to the dyes in cough syrups, you can get cough syrups without dyes at the compounders. For those who are unable to swallow pills and tablets, compounders can convert them into liquid in order to make them easier to ingest. For those who avoid medicines that are necessary for them because of a noxious flavor, the pharmacist can create a concoction with the same composition that tastes better – like tutti-frutti or butterscotch perhaps.
Doctors often direct patients to compounding pharmacists for alternative therapies in place of a usual medicine that is not working. This doesn’t mean that the pharmacies are not approved by FDA. As long as they have a license, as does the doctor who is treating you, you don’t have to worry about whether the treatment you are receiving is legal. Sometimes your doctor may be aware of a medicine that will work for your condition, but it is off-label and is not manufactured or available commercially.
If you have been given a prescription that requires medicinal compounding, Sacramento pharmacies can help you. If your doctor does not direct you to someone he knows, you can look for a licensed practitioner on your own.