What’s The Difference Between A Compound & A Retail Pharmacy?

Two Places To Fill Your Prescription

Pharmacies are a critical part of healthcare and communities of all sizes. Without pharmacies, patients would be unable to get vital prescription drugs and even medical advice. Of the 80,000 in the US, most are big-box retail companies. Close to 7,500 are compound pharmacies, a little-known, valuable resource in the healthcare industry. Patients who fill prescriptions can benefit from both practices.

apthorp pharmacy What's The Difference Between A Compound & A Retail Pharmacy?

Retail and compound pharmacies

Most prescriptions are filled in retail pharmacies found on corners and malls in the neighborhood. Retail pharmacies sell over-the-counter medications, supplements, and similar products with an in-house pharmacist to fulfill and dispense prescriptions. The drugs are commercially produced in specific doses and forms. While a retail pharmacy is a one-size-fits-all, compounding pharmacies take an individual approach to medicine. These pharmacies create medicine using base ingredients. Drug compounding allows for flexibility and is helpful in several ways.

Customized vs standard dosages

Retail pharmacies sell medicine in set dosages. For some chronic conditions, these doses may be too high or too low to treat the symptoms. The drug may be quickly accessible through a local pharmacy, but the effect may not be what's needed. Compound pharmacies, on the other hand, have access to raw ingredients. Based on the patient's needs, compound pharmacies can create the same drug but in a specific dose.

Compounding has your needs and values in mind

Retail pharmacies have the advantage of speed compared to compound pharmacies. The drugs are available on the shelf to be dispensed at a moment's notice. However, these pharmacies cannot guarantee that medication passes medication or dietary restrictions. Medications may not be kosher or halal, while others may not meet vegan standards. Compound pharmacies can create the same drug with the patient in mind considering allergens, diet, or religious restrictions.

Get the same drug in different forms

Since retail pharmacies sell mass-produced medicine, the form cannot be changed. The patient can get the drug only in standard forms. There are cases where changing the makeup of the drug would be helpful to the patient. For instance, a child may need the medication in liquid form instead of pill form. In some cases, taking the medication orally can cause allergic reactions. That's where compound pharmacies come in. A compound pharmacist can convert a drug into a liquid, chewable, powder, suppository, or topical form when needed.

Accessing unavailable medication

Every year, major pharmaceutical companies roll out new medications on the market. At the same time, many are discontinued or no longer sold by retail pharmacies due to demand. But that does not mean there are patients who no longer need the treatment. On the flip side, retail pharmacies can run out of stock of essential medication, which can be a pain for patients. Compound pharmacies can step in where retailers can't. These pharmacies can recreate discontinued medication as well as formulate drugs that are hard to find.

Choose the right pharmacy for you

Both compound and retail pharmacies provide exceptional service to the community. Both have clear advantages and pharmacists that are an essential part of a patient's treatment. However, there are some clear differences. If the patient needs a safe, customized drug, a compound pharmacy can help. Look for the closest compound pharmacy and get a prescription that works.

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