July 20, 2021

What You Need to Know About Compounded Medications

Compounded Medications

Pharmaceutical compounding has been around for a long time. Lately, it has been growing in popularity. As a pharmacy, people often ask us about what compounded medications are. Simply put, it is an extremely helpful technique of mixing or altering drugs tailored to a specific patient’s needs and restrictions.

If you have been prescribed compounded medications, here are things you need to know to understand.

What Are the Benefits?

Compounded medications can be beneficial to everyone but even more so for people with unique medical needs. Some patients will not take traditional or commercial medicine, which is where this type of medicine works best. Here are a few benefits of compounding medications.

  • It allows people access to discontinued medications. Large manufacturing companies can cease producing certain medicines for many reasons and without much warning. This leaves patients who rely on that medicine scrambling for alternatives. Compounding medication plays a vital role in maintaining the quality of life for people with these unique needs.
  • It makes medicine easier to use. Most medications have very strong and unpleasant flavours. Compounding pharmacists can help patients by creating their medicine from scratch, swapping the sour or bitter flavour with something of their choosing. Children, seniors, and even adults with particular tastes can appreciate it.
  • It allows for alternative medication dosage forms. Aside from adjusting the flavouring of your medicine, pharmacists can also create it in a different form for easier consumption. Depending on your needs, your medication can be compounded into the following forms: creams, ointments, gels, lozenges, capsules, tablets, suspensions, tinctures, suppositories, transdermals, balms, and more.
  • It makes medicine allergy-friendly. Patients can be allergic, sensitive, or intolerant of some aspects of medication like dyes, lactose, gluten, or alcohol. Commercial medicine can also contain preservatives that most people will be adverse to.

Are Compounded Prescriptions Safe?

You might be wondering about the safety and regulation of such drugs. Before acquiring compounding services from your pharmacy, consult with your physician.

That said, before any of the available commercial drugs are made available to the public, they must be reviewed and approved by Health Canada. The compounded medications produced in the pharmacy only use ingredients that have gone through the testing process and been approved. For your peace of mind, note that pharmacists follow guidelines set by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) to ensure everyone’s safety.

How Is It Made?

There are two ways to compound medicine: sterile and non-sterile.

Sterile compounding is typically done for medications applied directly into the eyes or intravenously (in an IV). These medications require an environment that is 100 percent free of harmful microorganisms like bacteria or viruses.

Non-sterile compounding is used when creating more common medications like the ones you apply topically or take orally. The environment only needs to be clean but not necessarily devoid of viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms.

Do All Pharmacies Offer Compounding Services?

The short answer: no. Most pharmacies offer basic compounding services, but it’s best to seek ones that specialize in it. Advanced compounding services are unique to some pharmacies, thanks to their staff and equipment.

All pharmacists undergo compounding training, but others will take additional training to offer more services to their clients. Additionally, only certain pharmacies carry the equipment for creating complex compounded medications.


Compounding medications is a developing trend that can greatly benefit patients that have had a hard time complying with their prescriptions. The traditional role of this technique is to make drugs for patients with specific needs. However, it is a service that can serve others with the desire to make their medication better suited to their tastes.

If you are looking for the medication that’s just right for you, give our store a visit! Pharmasave Westmountis a compounding pharmacy committed to serving the community of Edmonton, Alberta.