News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Q & A: Why does my doctor want me to have a prescription compounded? What does a compounding pharmacy do, and why would we use one?

JCCHD | Mon, May 28, 2012 | [Healthcare][Q and A ]


Compounding pharmacies have the ability to create custom pharmaceutical products tailored to the specific needs of your child. There are a number of reasons why practitioners at The Johnson Center recommend that medications be filled by a compounding pharmacy. Benefits include: altering the form in which the medication is available, changing the route of administration, and ensuring the cleanest products possible are used. For these reasons, the use of compounded medications often increases compliance, directly affecting health benefits.

Medications that are mass-produced for retail pharmacies often contain colors, preservatives, and fillers that can sometimes have a negative effect on the patient. Some medications may contain allergens, such as gluten or dairy. Another issue with the use of retail medications, as mentioned above, pertains to the forms in which medications are available. Some children and adults have not yet mastered pill swallowing, leading people to crush and add pills to food, changing the taste and texture of the food and potentially compromising the effectiveness of the medication. Compounding pharmacies can offer most medications in liquid or chewable forms that have a pleasant taste, thus increasing patient compliance and ensuring proper medication delivery. In many cases, transdermal preparations (“transdermal” means “across the skin,” i.e., creams and lotions), sublingual tablets or drops (“sublingual” means “under the tongue”), nasal sprays, and suppositories can be utilized to deliver the appropriate medication.

A compounding pharmacy may also be used to compound vitamins, minerals, and other supplements together, in order to minimize the number of capsules or the amount of liquid required daily.

Sometimes cost can be an issue with this approach, because certain insurance companies do not directly reimburse for medications that do not have a National Drug Code ID number.  To assist with this issue, most compounding pharmacies will provide you with a universal claim form which you can then send to your insurance company for reimbursement.

The health and well-being of those we serve is our top priority. Not all medication requires compounding, but the use of compounding pharmacies allows practitioners to customize and individualize the use of medications and supplements designed to treat illness and promote health.