Custom made prescriptions may be the next big thing in health care, but the practice of compounding pharmaceuticals dates back to our earliest use of medicine. As professionals recognize the need for individualized healthcare, custom medical mixtures are again becoming available for almost any medical condition imaginable, including dental problems, hormonal and wound care treatments. All of these prescriptions can be filled by compounding pharmacies.
In the 1950’s, with the rise of mass production and branding, custom-made medications moved out of the neighborhood pharmacies and into the hospitals. While doctors continued to make use of these medications, most people switched to FDA-approved set dosages and ingredients, as the FDA approval, coupled with lower price tags made them more desirable. A recent rise in an emphasis on individual and holistic healthcare has inspired many to revisit compounding pharmacies.
Doctors have always recognized that each person’s body is unique and may sometimes require individualized medical dosages. Chemotherapy and total intravenous nutrition are two of the most commonly compounded medications.
Many common medications don’t come premixed and can be prepared in a hospital’s own sterile specialty pharmacy. These include pain-relief gels, antibiotics, amino acid mixtures and bio-identical hormones. Recently, bio-identical hormones have gained popularity as these custom-made prescriptions provide natural hormone replacement based on the measured hormone levels in a patient’s own body.
There is a growing preference to this type of hormone replacement. Big pharmaceutical hormones usually come in pill form (complete with additives) and are absorbed into the body through the digestive system. This is not how hormones circulate through our systems. When ordering this treatment through a compounding pharmacy, patients can receive their medication in troche form – a small lozenge placed between the cheeks and gums. As the hormones are dissolved, they go straight into the body’s blood stream, which is exactly the same as hormone release naturally.
Specialty pharmacies are making a comeback because they allow for more options with regards to dosing, form and the use of secondary ingredients. People need to have the option to choose a standard pill versus liquid suspension, injection or other means of delivery when available.
There is a growing segment of the population that has returned to more natural “homeopathic” remedies for illnesses. These same people, while not opposed to medication, often prefer naturopathic medications free of artificial dyes and binding agents. This growing portion of the population may request compounded prescriptions for health reasons, thus increasing the demand for these pharmacies.
As modern medicine returns to the idea that each patient has unique needs, pharmaceutical practices also begin to focus on the individual, providing each patient with the medication they want or need in the form and dosage that is most appropriate for them.