Modern medicine has improved the quality of life of billions of people around the world. It has cured countless diseases, helped to ease the burdens of aging, and extended our lifespans in ways previously thought impossible. One of the things that have made these outcomes possible has been the development of a vast and ever-growing array of medications that control, treat, or cure the maladies that afflict humans everywhere.
While the benefits of these medications are beyond dispute, their usage has grown dramatically over the last several years. Recent data indicates that seven out of ten Americans regularly take at least one prescription drug, and many are using several at a time. Procuring such medications usually means a trip to a local drug store, but there’s another option that many people aren’t aware of: compound pharmacies. If you’re not familiar with them, here are three benefits of using a compound pharmacy.
1- Procuring Discontinued or Scarce Medications
Many of today’s pharmaceutical products are manufactured en masse by a small handful of companies. This modality is intended to lower the cost of individual doses through the efficiencies of large-scale production methods. There is a downside to this kind of mass-production, though. When not enough people use a particular medication, its manufacture may be halted or discontinued. The decision is wholly economic and has nothing to do with the efficacy of the medication.
Patients who are currently using a discontinued medication often face the difficult prospect of having to find a suitable replacement medication or must try to stockpile remaining doses. Unfortunately, some people cannot find an adequate replacement for a discontinued medication. That’s where a compound pharmacy may be able to help. Compound pharmacies have the tools and expertise to make small batches of medication on demand, as long as they have the correct chemical compound for the required drug. In many cases, they can continue to provide discontinued drugs to patients that require them.
2- Avoiding Ingredient Allergies
Sometimes, a patient will need a particular drug to treat their condition, only to find that they are sensitive or allergic to one of the components found in the medication. That leaves them in the unenviable position of having to tolerate uncomfortable side effects for as long as they are required to take the medication. Sometimes, that is a feasible option. If the patient requires the medication for a long-term, though, the effects of the allergy might outweigh the benefits of the drug.
Compound pharmacies can be an invaluable resource for patients facing an allergic reaction to a needed drug. In many instances, the compound pharmacy can determine the ingredient that is responsible for the patient’s allergic reaction and can create a version of the drug that omits that ingredient. In this way, the patient can take the medication without the allergic side effects that would have otherwise forced them to discontinue use.
3- Custom Medication Formats
If you ask anyone that has taken a wide variety of medications in their lifetime, they’ll tell you that they have occasionally encountered a medicine that worked well but that they had difficulty taking. Some patients report that they have difficulty swallowing pills that are too large, or they find that they are unable to tolerate an unpleasant smell or odor. Rather than avoiding a medication that is otherwise effective, compound pharmacies may be able to help.
In many cases, a compound pharmacy can create a version of a medication that is easier to take than the mass-produced version. They may be able to provide smaller pills or create a liquid suspension version of the active ingredients that is easier for a patient to take. Sometimes, they may even be able to create custom formats of medications that aren’t available anywhere else, such as a pain medication in a topical cream that may be applied directly to the area of the patient’s body that is suffering discomfort.
A World of Possibilities
Modern medicine strives to create solutions to anything that threatens our health. There’s no debating that the healthcare industry has little choice but to focus on the needs of the many, rather than catering to the needs of the few, however. Compound pharmacies help to deliver customized medicinal solutions to those that need them in a way that works for the specific individual. In that way, they are an important bridge between mass-market pharmaceuticals and the patients with special needs that are so often underserved. Hopefully, increasing awareness of these useful resources will help to make sure that nobody is forced to go without a medication that might improve their lives.