All compounding pharmacies are not the same. Choosing a compounding pharmacy may be as important as choosing your doctor. It is imperative to take control of your healthcare options including who you will trust to compound your customized medications. It is essential that you search for a pharmacy that is reliable, reputable, and cost effective as well as one that is experienced and trained specifically in compounding.
It is not enough to ask if a pharmacy “does compounding.” Many pharmacies will claim to be compounding pharmacies. And most pharmacies will provide some basic compounding – for example, flavoring or combining two ointments into one preparation. However, the more complicated and time-consuming the procedure, the more you need to ensure that you are dealing with a pharmacy that specializes in compounding.
Ask if the pharmacist has completed continued training in the art of compounding. All pharmacists are trained in pharmacy school to compound; the depth of that training depends on when a student graduated and from what pharmacy school. As compounds become more complicated, the amount of training needed increases, often above that taught in many colleges.
Find out where the pharmacy is getting their ingredients from. A qualified compounding pharmacy needs to have the best ingredients – that are tested – to compound a high quality medication to meet your needs. A compounded medication is only as good as the ingredients that go into it.
Realize you may not be comparing apples to apples. Take, for instance, progesterone cream. When made at Norland Avenue Pharmacy, we use “Special Micronized Progesterone”. This means 99.9% of the particles are five micron in size or less which is important because the smaller the particles, the better the absorption in the body. Other pharmacies may use just plain Micronized Progesterone, or it may not be micronized at all!
Next, Norland Avenue Pharmacy uses Versabase cream which has been clinically demonstrated to deliver four times more medication than the commonly used Vanicream. Norland then runs the mixture through a machine called an ointment mill to further reduce grittiness and create something known as micelles. What you need to know about micelles is they too enhance the absorption of medication.
Now our label will read “Progesterone Cream” as will another pharmacy’s, but as you can see, the two products can be very different. That difference may be reflected in the price as well. It may not be wise to choose the cheapest compound.
Find out if the pharmacy is PCAB Accredited. PCAB Accreditation means that the pharmacy has been tested against an extremely challenging set of national standards and has met or exceeded all of them, uses only pure chemicals from FDA registered facilities, has an extensive quality assurance program (including regularly testing their compounded medications) and policies and procedures in place, and meets strict continuous training guidelines to maintain our employees’ skills while using a variety of advanced compounding equipment.
At Norland Avenue Pharmacy, our PCAB Accreditation confirms our commitment to providing safe, personalized solutions that meet your special needs and demonstrates our dedication to being the best in our profession.
As with any other healthcare decision, you have choices when it comes to finding a compounding pharmacy. Be sure to take the time to ensure you are getting the best products available.