Compounding FAQs

Compounding is art and process of a pharmaceutical preparation—a drug—by a licensed pharmacist to meet the unique needs of an individual patient (either human or animal) when a commercially available drug does not meet those needs. A patient may not be able to tolerate the commercially available drug, the exact preparation needed may not be commercially available, or a patient may require a drug that is currently in shortage or discontinued. The U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) formally defines compounding as “the preparation, mixing, assembling, altering, packaging, and labeling of a drug, drug-delivery device, or device in accordance with a licensed practitioner's prescription, medication order, or initiative based on the practitioner/patient/ pharmacist/compounder relationship in the course of professional practice.”

Commercially available drugs are manufactured by drug companies in mass quantities for the general population with no specific patient in mind. Compounded medications are ordered by a physician, individually prepared by a compounding pharmacy and made specifically for your unique medical needs.

A health care provider will prescribe a compounded drug only when commercially available drug products do not meet your needs. If you do not understand why you have been prescribed a special formulation, ask your prescriber. If you are concerned about taking a compounded drug and you and your prescriber agree that you can tolerate the commercially available drug, you may also ask if there is any evidence that your outcome will be better on the compounded formulation.

For the most part, the answer is yes. Most of our prescriptions come from Medical Doctors (M.D.), Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) and Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.). Some doctors have limitations on what may be prescribed and these limitations may vary from state to state.

Some insurance plans cover compounded medications. You may want to check with your insurance company for your specific coverage. At PeopleFirst we try to bill the patient's insurance first before offering a cash price. If the compound is not get covered by the insurance plan, we supply you with an Insurance Claim Form that you may send to your insurance carrier to seek reimbursement

No, each individual compound is not approved by the FDA. However, the ingredients used in compounded medications are. The FDA approval process was created to ensure that drugs marketed by manufacturers in the US are safe and effective- this determination applies only to the specific disease or condition for which the drug was tested. Often times, physicians and veterinarians (using their professional judgment) write scripts for treatments for which they were not FDA approved. Moreover, compounds are similar to the “off-label uses” of FDA approved drugs. Keep in mind, some medications you may receive at hospitals and at your doctors may be compounded such as IVs and injections. 

Compounding has been part of healthcare since the origins of pharmacy and is used widely today in all areas of the industry, from hospitals to nuclear medicine. Over the last decade, compounding’s resurgence has largely benefited from advances in technology, quality control, and research methodology. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that compounded prescriptions are both ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and compounded by a licensed pharmacy. In addition, compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy. PeopleFirst Pharmacy meets and exceeds all state board regulations and national FDA criteria, to ensure our patients are provided with the very finest, safest and effective compounded therapies available.




Question Not Here? Ask Our Expers!

Do you have questions regarding compounded medications therapies and why they are beneficial or the importance of taking vitamins and supplements and how they affect our health? PeopleFirst Pharmacy can help you answer some of those questions. Feel free to call our pharmacy or fill out the form below and we will have one of our expert pharmacists answer you as soon as they can.