Differences Between Compounding and General Pharmacies

As a significant part of the healthcare system, pharmacies play a vital role in providing the required medication. From flue tablets to any other medication, we frequently visit pharmacies to get prescribed medication. Despite complete dependence on pharmacies to get the needed medication, most of us are unaware of different types of pharmacies. Retail pharmacies in hospitals and local markets aren’t the only option to get prescription drugs. Pharmacies are of two types- retail pharmacy and compound pharmacy. Not many people know about compounding and the range of services these specialized pharmacies offer. This is because unless you need a specialized medication, the concept of a compounding pharmacy may be foreign to you. While both retail and compounding pharmacies provide medication, there is a difference between the two. Compounding pharmacies differ from standard pharmacies because they provide specialized services to meet your pharmaceutical needs. To understand the differences and choose the right one, let’s find out more about these two types of pharmacies.

Retail Pharmacy

As you already know, traditional pharmacies are found in local markets or healthcare facilities. Once a physician prescribes a specific medication, you take that prescription to the nearest retail store to get those medicines. The pharmacist at the retail store dispenses the medication, as well as informs about any risks. It doesn’t take long to fill in the prescription at the retail pharmacy because they already have mass-produced medications in specific dosages.

Compounding Pharmacy

Compounding pharmacies aren’t the same as regular pharmacies that dispense commercially manufactured medication. These are specialized pharmacies that create personalized medications for individual patients. It means that you won’t get the prescription medication instantly. Compounding pharmacies have licensed pharmacists to listen to your specific health needs and customize medication accordingly. Depending on your needs, you may need a formula in different dosages or with specific flavors.

The process involves combining or altering ingredients of a formula to create a specialized medication that meets the individualized needs of the patient. A compounding pharmacist can perform a variety of different tasks to tailor medication such as changing the form or dosage of the medication, adding favors, or creating a discontinued formula. Compounding pharmacies are based on the fact that every person is unique, and so is their health condition. For instance, a child may refuse to take bitter-tasting syrup or your doctor may prescribe only 10 mg of a medication that is only available at 20 mg in the market. In all such conditions, a compounding pharmacy can customize medication by adding flavor or reducing the dosage. It is also possible to eliminate harmful, non-essential ingredients that may cause allergies such as dye, lactose, or alcohol. So, a compounding pharmacy can help you get access to:

  • Discontinued medication
  • Custom dosage
  • Alternate medication forms such as liquid, capsule, ointment
  • Allergy-free medication

Retail Vs. Compounding Pharmacy

Both retail and compound pharmacies are integral parts of the healthcare system. However, there are some striking differences between the two. Despite the fact both provide medication, the type of drugs they offer differs. Retail pharmacies provide medication mass-produced by large companies. These commercial medications are prepared using standard formulas to meet the health needs of a vast population. Compounding pharmacies, on the other hand, prepare medication on-site for specific patients. They don’t produce drugs for the masses but specialize in creating unique formulations for those with special needs.

General pharmacies are best suited to getting medications quickly such as over-the-counter pain relievers, cold and flu medications, and more. But if you’re allergic to commercially available medication or need a specific dose of a medication, a compounding pharmacy can customize the medication.

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