Frequently Asked Questions

Compounding is the long-established tradition in pharmacy practice that enables physicians to prescribe and patients to take medicines that are specially prepared by pharmacists to meet patients’ individual needs. A growing number of patients have unique health needs that off-the-shelf prescription medicines cannot meet. For them, customized, compounded medications prescribed or ordered by licensed physicians or veterinarians and mixed safely by trained, licensed compounding pharmacists are the only way to better health.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, approximately 60 percent of all medications were compounded. Then in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with the creation of commercial drug manufacturers, compounding declined. It was during this time that a pharmacist, known as a compounder or apothecary, became known as a dispenser of manufactured drugs. Within the last two decades, however, compounding has experienced resurgence, as modern technology and innovative techniques and research have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to meet specific patient needs. Today, an estimated one percent of all prescriptions are compounded daily by pharmacists working closely with physicians and their patients.

Yes, compounding is legal! Compounding is an integral part of the practice of pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies, like all pharmacies and pharmacists, are regulated by State Law and the State Boards of Pharmacy. State Boards of Pharmacy require that pharmacists have knowledge of and proficiency in compounding to become licensed. Compounding is a fundamental feature of virtually every pharmacy curriculum.

No. Compounding, like any other form of therapy, is not always the right choice for every patient. However, thousands of patients rely on compounded medications to meet their needs when another treatment option will not. Doctors may prescribe compounded medications when: the best therapy for a patient is commercially unavailable, the active ingredient is not available in the desired strength or dosage form, or a commercial product is on extended back-order and using the compounded preparation may mean there is no interruption in proven therapy for a patient.

No. Generic drugs are copies of brand-name prescription drugs that are manufactured in large quantities by FDA-licensed manufacturers. Custom-compounded medications are prepared in response to a prescription by a licensed prescriber and, specifically, may not be merely copies of a brand-name medication. Custom-compounded medications are often prescribed in the following circumstances:

  • When needed medications are discontinued by or generally unavailable from pharmaceutical companies, often because the medications are no longer profitable to manufacture;

  • When the patient is allergic to certain preservatives, dyes or binders in available off-the shelf medications;

  • When treatment requires tailored dosage-strengths for patients with unique needs (i.e. an infant);

  • When a pharmacist can combine several medications the patient is taking to increase compliance;

  • When the patient cannot ingest the medication in its commercially available form and a pharmacist can prepare the medication in cream, liquid or other form that the patient can easily take;

  • When medications require flavor additives to make them more palatable for some patients, most often children. AgeWell Compounding Pharmacy will dispense prescription drugs only after having received a valid prescription. Dispensing a prescription drug without a valid prescription is a violation of federal law.