Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between commercially available and compounded products?

Commercially available products are manufactured by companies in mass quantities and with no specific, individual patient in mind. For this reason, some people find that mass-produced, ‘one-size-fits-all’ products don’t always adequately address their specific, individual healthcare needs or don’t do so in a way that best suits their individual circumstances or personal preferences.

 

Compounded products are individually prepared items, carefully formulated (i.e. customised) to meet the specific needs and preferences of the person who is going to be using them. They are prepared by a compounding pharmacy, preferably in consultation with a doctor who knows the person for whom the compounding is being performed.

 

Be aware that compounding pharmacies – such as eCompounding Chemist – are able to use ingredients that may not be commercially available.

When might compounding be helpful?

Compounded healthcare products are often prepared when a person finds that commercially available, ‘one-size-fits-all’ options don’t adequately address their specific, individual healthcare needs or don’t do so in a way that’s sufficiently convenient or acceptable to them. For example, choosing to use a custom-made compounded product might be a useful alternative:

  • When you find that a commercially available product that you have been prescribed or recommended doesn’t completely relieve your symptoms, or if it seems to cause new symptoms or unpleasant side effects;
  • When you find that a commercially available product is difficult or unpleasant to swallow (e.g. due its size or taste), difficult, irritating or unpleasant to apply (e.g. to skin) or simply inconvenient to use (e.g. due to the dosing schedule, or the way the treatment needs to be taken or administered);
  • When a commercially available product contains one or more ingredients that you are allergic to (e.g. you may be allergic to a specific colouring agent, preservative or ‘filler’);
  • When a commercially available product contains one or more ingredients that your doctor believes might interact with other medications you are taking;
  • When a commercially available product contains one or more ingredients that you would prefer to avoid, due to a specific dietary restriction or religious belief (e.g. you might require or prefer a gluten-free, kosher or halal alternative);
  • When a product isn’t commercially available in a formulation that enables the desired dose of active treatment to be easily taken or administered (e.g. you might need a 5 mg dose of a particular drug, but only be able to purchase pills or capsules that contain a 10 mg dose; or you might need to take or receive a particular treatment in an unusual or specific way, which isn’t possible using commercially available alternatives).

 

There may also be times when a desired product – or a desired formulation of a product – is simply difficult to find or not commercially available in Australia.

How long do compounded products last?

Active ingredients in compounded products may degrade when exposed to air, light, heat and/or water, potentially reducing their effectiveness and increasing the risk of side effects (e.g. side effects caused by degradation products).

 

To minimise this risk of degradation, as well as the risk of contamination by germs, our compounded products usually have a relatively short shelf-life before they expire (e.g. up to 28 days for oral and topical products, or up to 24 hours for products designed to be administered via infusion or injection).

Is compounding regulated?

In Australia, the preparation of compounded medicines and other health- related products is subject to strict standards.

 

For example, compounded medicines are not exempted from meeting the quality standards set out in the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) specifies that all compounded medicines must be prepared in accordance with the PIC/S Guide to Good Manufacturing Practice for Medicinal Products.*

 

The practice of compounding by pharmacists is also regulated by the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

 

The compounding pharmacists at eCompounding Chemist always work hard to ensure that each of our compounded products complies with relevant standards.

 

*PC/S: Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme.

Do I need a prescription to purchase a compounded product?

Some compounded preparations do require a prescription, while others can be supplied without specific instructions from a medical practitioner.

 

Ideally, and if possible, we would always seek to work in consultation with your doctor (or your loved one’s doctor, if the compounded product is for this person). This is because eCompounding Chemist recognises that a person’s treating doctor is generally the individual who is best placed to offer appropriately informed, expert advice about that person’s healthcare.

 

And if the compounded product is for your pet, eCompounding Chemist would always seek the advice of a veterinary surgeon before preparing anything. A pharmacist must always have received appropriate advice or instructions from a veterinary surgeon before preparing a compounded product for an animal.

Can any doctor write a prescription for a compounded treatment?

The answer to this question is ‘yes’. Any Australian Licensed Doctor in any field of medicine can prescribe a compounded treatment for a patient.

Can you ship my compounded purchases to me?

Yes, we ship anywhere in Australia; most deliveries will arrive in 2 days or less.

What types of medications or other healthcare products can be produced via compounding?

There are numerous potential ways in which compounded products may be formulated. For example, a compounding pharmacist may be asked to produce:

  • Tablets, capsules or dissolvable lozenges (or even lollipops);
  • Liquid formulations, such as solutions, suspensions, emulsions, mixtures,
    elixirs or tinctures;
  • Topical preparations, such as creams, ointments, lotions, gels, moisturisers, sprays (including nasal sprays) or eye drops;
  • Sublingual (under-the-tongue) preparations, such as sprays or drops;
  • Patch medications;
  • Powders;
  • Mouthwashes;
  • Suppositories or pessaries;
  • Treatments for intravenous infusion or injection.

 

Sometimes, compounding is as simple as mixing a crushed tablet or the contents of a capsule in water, to form a solution or suspension. Other times, it might involve the addition or removal of specific ingredients.

How are compounded products made?

Our compounded products are always prepared by an appropriately qualified pharmacist (or other appropriately trained member of the pharmacy staff), in a controlled environment (i.e. in appropriate facilities, using appropriate equipment); and every effort is made to ensure that there is good evidence to support the decisions we make when determining the specific components of the compounded formulations we produce.

 

The components of our compounded products are always purchased from reputable suppliers, ensuring that they are of appropriately high quality, and both the quantities of ingredients used and the method of formulation are always thoroughly documented.

 

Additional, non-active components (excipients) are included in the majority of our compounded products (e.g. to ensure that an active ingredient dissolves or remains suspended; or to adjust the taste, texture or viscosity of the preparation); and we will usually also add a suitable preservative to multiple-use products.

Who can prepare compounded medications?

Be aware that any pharmacist – or member of a pharmacy’s staff – can perform compounding, provided he or she has completed appropriate education and training in the types of compounding they perform and providing he or she has also demonstrated competence in the relevant compounding techniques.

 

The facilities in which compounding takes place must also be adequately designed, equipped, maintained and resourced.

 

The eCompounding Chemist service is a dedicated compounding service – this means compounding is all we do. We use well-trained compounding pharmacists, and have the appropriate facilities, equipment and quality control procedures in place to be able to prepare custom-made compounded products to a high standard.

Why should I have my compounded product made by a pharmacy that specialises in compounding?

There’s a huge difference between a pharmacy that mainly dispenses prescriptions for commercially available products, manufactured by another company, and a pharmacy that does nothing else but compounding.

 

The eCompounding Chemist service is a dedicated compounding service – this means that compounding is all we do. We use appropriately qualified, well-trained compounding pharmacists, and have the appropriate facilities, equipment and quality control procedures in place to be able to prepare custom-made compounded products to a high standard.

Are compounded products expensive?

A compounded product may or may not cost more than the commercially available alternative(s). Exactly how much a compounded product is likely to cost will depend on several factors (e.g. the type of ingredients used; the equipment that’s required to perform the compounding; how much time it takes the pharmacist to perform the compounding; the cost of shipping).

 

Fortunately, compounding pharmacists have access to pure-grade quality chemicals. This can dramatically reduce overall costs and means that compounded products may still be very competitively priced, in comparison with commercially available alternatives.

How can I use eCompounding Chemist – Do I need to travel to your store to get a prescription filled?

You don’t need to visit our store to use our eCompounding Chemist service. For new prescriptions, you simply need to email info@ecompoundingchemist.com.au or fax 08 8312 6271 your prescription to our pharmacy.

 

Alternatively, you may have your doctor either call us 1300 790 138 or fax your prescription to our pharmacy 08 8312 6271.
For Repeats/Refills, you may call our pharmacy on 1300 790 138.

Are compounded medications covered by insurance?

Some insurance policies will include the cost of compounded treatments.

 

We recommend that you contact your insurance company and check whether you’re covered.

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