Compounded Pharmacies: Should You Trust Their Safety?
Most people who rarely turn to the pharmacies for medications have never heard of compounded medicine. And, it is a common practice because it is not in demand within doctors. These dedicated experts have their benefits of prescribing only drugs from manufacturers as far as they can get in on the act with local pharmacies or they just work on enlarging the profit of the whole healthcare system. So, as a result, the more money, you spend on medications, the more bonuses they get. But, compounded medicine still has the right to exist.
What Is It For?
In fact, compounded medications are the ones prescribed by doctors with a unique formula. You can get them at any pharmacy where only experts make them. As of now, they are physicians, licensed pharmacists or doctors and of course, outsource facilities. Such products differ from brand analogs only with their composition, active ingredients, package, color, and so on. And, they are made to meet the requirements of particular patients who for some reasons cannot take ordinary pharmaceutical products. So, it is possible to say that any medication can be duplicated that way. Unfortunately, due to this fact, many distributors feel free to dispense fake medications that have nothing to do with safety or quality.
Who Will Need Compounded Products?
There is a wide range of cases when a doctor may prescribe such medicines and here why:
- A patient has an allergy to one or a few ingredients of the medication. Instead of prescribing another expensive analog, it is possible to write a recipe excluding the ingredient he cannot tolerate;
- There is no required dosage. For instance, a manufacturer may distribute one medication only in a blister of ten pills but a patient needs for the whole treatment only two of them;
- Exclusively for baby taste. Is your kid too much picky toward the taste of medications? Or, he cannot drink cough syrup because it is too bitter. Not a problem, let’s create the same liquid but without coloring, smell and taste agents;
- For removing side effects. Of course, they will be present but removing one ingredient that causes drowsiness is possible;
- Doctors cannot find a suitable drug in the market for various reasons such as available products are too expensive or they cannot be transported from other countries.
So, the events when you will be prescribed such formulas are broad. Today, one of the most popular products created on the spot by pharmacists are solutions for hair loss. A product in most cases will be given to you in a designated bottle where there are no promises from manufacturers to revitalize your hair. But, you will for sure know the composition and possible effect. Usually, such solutions contain vitamin supplements and exclude sodium Laureth sulfate that is required to only make your shampoo and other products for hair foamy.
Where to Find Such Pharmacies?
Perhaps, their variety is large if you look them in your neighborhood. For example, more than 56,000 compounded pharmacies can be found now in the USA. Regarding online spots there are much less but anyway it is possible to find them. Another question is the customers’ safety. If speaking of manufacturers they will 100% ensure the reliability and safety of their products. The factories are equipped with the latest technologies and accomplished pharmacists who know how to spot the defect. Besides, they regularly test their products to be aware of all the side effects and positive results. If you are prescribed to get a compounded formula from a local pharmacy, you cannot be sure about the sterility. Why?
Even though these companies located on every corner in cities and look professionally designed, you only see the cover but stuffing and the laboratories hidden in operating cabinets are invisible to the public eye. So, no one will ever ensure you a clean and sterile environment when your formula will be created or mixed. The same concerns people who will do them. Again, in factories, people pass disinfection control whenever they are in contact with ingredients. In local pharmacies let’s hope they at least clean the hands. A few years ago, there was an accident when one pharmacy in the USA managed to put more than 10K people at risk of fungal meningitis because of their compounded products. So, it is only up to customers whether to go for ordinary medications that may cost much money, to look for generics, or buy such formulas.
How to Protect Yourself From Low-Quality Products?
The first and the best approach is to find the feedback from patients or clients of your local pharmacies. Check Facebook or other websites where people share their experience buying the pharmaceutical goods here or there. At least, it is a minimum you can try. Then, after making a choice, find out whether all the ingredients pharmacists work with are FDA approved. And, at last always before applying gel, lotions, solutions, taking medications, do it with a half of portion to avoid negative reactions. If it is a gel, put some on your hand and monitor if there are any allergic reactions.
Finally, if you have such an opportunity, ask pharmacists for their medical card. All those who deal with making compounded medications should undergo medical examinations for detecting transmittable diseases. And, upon receiving your product make sure it is of a proper temperature otherwise, it can be spoiled.