Using a compounding pharmacy was a game changer for me when it comes to limiting medication triggers that caused mast cell degranulation leading to anaphylaxis. A compounding pharmacy makes medications to fit the unique needs of an individual patient. Now there you go, bespoke medication just for you. Unlike commercially mass produced medications by pharmaceutical companies, a compounding pharmacy has the ability to adjust a medication to a higher or lower dose according to a physician’s order. A compounding pharmacy can fall into 3 categories: non-sterile, sterile or both. A sterile compounding pharmacy produces medications that are to be administer via infusions, injections or eye ointment. A non- sterile pharmacy produces medications that fall outside of the realm what was previously mentioned. And a non- sterile & sterile pharmacy offers the best of both worlds.

A Very, Very Brief Overview of Medication Excipients

Why are excipients used in making medications? An excipient is used when the active ingredient is to small to be handled efficiently. Meaning the active ingredient is so minute that it can’t be deliverer

into your body without another substance to hold it together. Color is added to make the medication look desirable. Excipients are also used to control the rate which the medication is absorbed by the body such as an extended release or fast acting medication. These additions are considered inactive ingredients because they have no therapeutic effect on the body. For the sake of simplicity I am going to use the word fillers from now on instead of excipient.

The FDA has a database of approved inactive ingredients . This list may be helpful for those who have severe corn, gluten, and milk allergy. If you fall in this category, then I recommend you visit the FDA website.

Examples of Fillers Used in Conventional Medications

Benefits of Using A Compounding Pharmacy

Compounding has a variety of fillers to formulate a medication. I have found that in my case, the excipients or fillers trigger mast cell degranulation leading to mild to severe anaphylaxis. Using a compounding pharmacy has been a lifer saver for me because at a point I thought that I would have to stop taking my antihistamines & immunosuppresants. Once I switched all my medications over to compounded medications, I was able to tolerate my medications again.

AS I mentioned earlier, medication dosages can be prepared to fit a specific need for an individual patient. For example, I am currently on a trial of Mestinon (pyridostigmine) for treating POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Commercially available doses start at 60mg for liquid & tablet. Based on my current state of severe reactivity, my cardiologist wanted me to start with a lower dose of 15mg twice a day. I was able to have the dosage adjusted with a filler ingredient of my choice.

Examples of Fillers Used in Componded Medications

Another benefit of having your is a practical reasons; medications can be combined to limit the amount of pills you have to consume. Compounding pharmacies can also add flavor of your choice to your medications. I avoid flavoring because they make me extremely nauseous and lightheaded. A major plus for me is that my medications do not have a bitter taste because they are all in capsules.

Some Things to Consider Before Using A Compounding Pharmacy

The FDA does not regulate compounded medications, therefore they are not FDA approved. They do conduct inspections for safety. The State Board of Pharmacy regulate the day to day production and safety of compounding pharmacies.

Refills may take a few days to a week to be completed. Remember your medication is custom made each time you put in a refill request. So I recommend calling at least a week in advance for any refills. Don’t forget to factor in shipping time and cost. Some medications that need to be refrigerated can not be transported via ground shipping, they have to be shipped via next day air services. That will add an additional shipping cost.

The next issue may seem silly but it’s relevant. I usually select acidophilus as my filler which is white in color.Well, all the capsules are the same color which makes it difficult to tell them apart. Sometimes in the middle of setting up my pill box I get distracted by the kids, and I have no clue if I missed a pill or added an extra one because they all the same color. Overall, I am very happy with my compounded medications. They have literally saved my life.

Another major obstacle is that your insurance may not pay for compounded medications. Check with your insurance to find out what they are willing to cover. My insurance is willing to cover some of my compounded medications. The paperwork is very tedious. Sometimes,  I say “I need a secretary to manage my health affairs.” That’s an idea, I will start a company that helps chronically ill individuals manage their appointments, medications, therapy & mental health. Anyway, I was caught up in a daydream. I am back now.

I need a secretary to manage my health affairs.


Did you know about compounding pharmacies before this article? Yes or No? Leave a comment.

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