Do You Take Too Many Pills?

The term polypharmacy may sound unfamiliar. Yet, the term describes 1 in 5 Americans over 40 who take at least 5 prescriptions. Unfortunately, taking multiple pills is a necessary part of life, especially with age. Older persons tend to manage multiple chronic conditions at once. Then there’s a range of over-the-counter medication and supplements added to the mix. However, too many pills can be dangerous over time. One of the best workarounds for patients is enlisting a compound pharmacy to customize the prescriptions.

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What is a compound pharmacy?

The study of pharmacy is built on compounding. In the past, when a patient visited a pharmacist, if the drug were not available, the pharmacist would compound the medication. Compounding is the process of selecting raw ingredients to make customized medication for a patient. Today, compounding happens on a massive scale. Major pharmaceutical companies mass-produce drugs that pharmacists store and dispense accordingly. However, medicine is not always a one-size-fits-all. Now pharmacists and patients alike are rediscovering the need for local compound pharmacies.

The benefits of a compound pharmacy

Opting for a compound pharmacy instead of a product off the shelf has some great benefits. For example, a pharmacist can change a medication from a pill form to a liquid or topical agent. This change is great for patients with difficulty swallowing pills. Compounding also helps avoid allergies from ingredients in big box brands. Best of all, a compound pharmacist can prepare a drug that’s no longer on the market to help with rare diseases or conditions. With these reasons in mind, anyone with multiple prescriptions should consider compounding.

Review your medications first

Taking multiple medications and supplements could be taxing on the mind and body. Ironically, most Americans do not do medicine reviews with a doctor or pharmacist. There could be a drug that’s no longer necessary or a newer, more effective medication. Visiting a compound pharmacy or doctor first helps to assess the current prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. From there, the pharmacist can come up with the best strategy using compounding.

How compounding helps with polypharmacy

Using compounding, the pharmacist can reduce the number of pills while keeping the medication doses intact. For example, supplements could be converted into a custom multivitamin through compounding. The pharmacist can convert some drugs to a liquid or topical form in other cases. The pharmacist can combine 2 or more prescriptions into one pill. Reducing the number of medications can increase consistency and improve overall health. Best of all, custom drugs may reduce the overall cost of care.

Cut those pills down

Taking multiple prescriptions has benefits but several risks, particularly in elderly persons. Non-adherence, missing prescription refills, and decreased lifespan are some potential risks. There’s also a greater chance of medical errors like wrong prescription instructions. Compounding reduces the number of pills while increasing adherence. Speak with a doctor about possibly changing prescriptions with compounding today.

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