Compounding for Better Health

Compounding medicines: it sounds technical and complicated, and in some ways it is. But the result of effective compounding can be seen in the benefits to patients of all kinds: medications or supplements that fit the specific needs of an individual.

Taking on these technicalities of compounding for the betterment of clients’ health is Elsa Lam, owner of Golden Health Pharmacy in Sterling. According to Lam, there are several types of compounding, each for a different facet of each person’s total health picture; anti-aging and pain management are just two types of compounding that result in personalized medicine for each individual.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to personal health,” noted Lam. “So why do we take the same mass-produced medications that don’t meet all our personal needs?”

The question is certainly a valid one. Consider your current medications, and then imagine the myriad of other folks of varying ages, health profiles, heights/weights, allergies and other factors that also take it. It is no surprise then, according to Lam, that compounding has become such a useful tool.

Compounding is the art and science of creating personalized medications for patients. Compounded medications are made based on a practitioner’s prescription with individual ingredients mixed together in the exact strength and form required by that patient. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and prescriber to properly customize that medication.

For example, anti-aging and cosmeceutical compounding is  popular for clients of Golden Health Pharmacy. Staff can work in tandem with a patient’s doctor to make the most effective skin care routine for a targeted problem area.

“The bases that we use are very effective on their own, but we can also add extra components that will help you achieve and maintain healthy skin,” Lam noted. “As well as anti-aging/cosmeceutical compounding we specialize in flavor compounding, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, men’s health compounding, pain management compounding, hospice compounding, pediatric compounding, sports compounding, and animal compounding.”

Here is more information about each of these types, and the benefits that compounding can bring to any patient of any age and health profile.

Anti-Aging/Cosmeceutical Compounding: Just as every face has its own distinctive features, every person has his or her own skin type. Golden Health can customize cosmeceutical creams, which can help skin appear younger and healthier. They also may be useful for soothing dry, cracked skin, improving moisture and treating blemishes and problem areas. Most importantly, they protect skin from harmful external aging forces.

Flavor Compounding: One of the greatest challenges in prescription medication is that some patients just don’t like taking medicine. From children who can’t stand the taste of cough syrup to cats who refuse antibiotics, taking medicine rarely is a pleasurable experience. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: The advantage of compounded BHRT is adaptation specifically for one’s body and hormone levels. It can utilize hormones with the exact chemical structure as hormones in the human body. The body recognizes them and allows them to mimic the function of natural hormones.

Men’s Health Compounding: Research has identified numerous common physical and emotional symptoms in men as they age, including decreased libido, muscle mass, strength and stamina; impotence; sleep disorders; depression and more. Termed “andropause” or “male menopause,” the phenomenon is tied to decreased testosterone or increased estrogen levels. Natural balance may be restored through supplementation of testosterone, which has been shown to relieve the symptoms of andropause.

Pain Management Compounding: Many patients experience stomach irritation or other unpleasant side effects from taking pain medication. Some have difficulty taking medication in its commercially available form. Pharmacy compounding can provide alternate methods of delivery to make the process easier; instead of a capsule or tablet, pain medications can be compounded as a topical gel, cream or spray that can be applied directly to the site and absorbed through the skin. Such dosage forms bypass the gastrointestinal tract, providing optimal results, and help patients who have difficulty swallowing pills.

Hospice Compounding: A patient who is unable to swallow may be given topical medication to help provide relief, which also may help avoid stomach upset. Other patients may prefer medications prepared in the form of flavored lozenges or rapid-dissolve tablets. Medications also may be prepared as suppositories, oral liquids, or even as lollipops.

Pediatric Compounding: Children are especially suited for custom compounded prescriptions. For various reasons, commercially manufactured drug forms or strengths sometimes may not meet the needs of every child. Compounding can benefit young patients in various ways.

Sports Compounding: Sports activities and fitness programs focus on athletes’ strengths and are customized to meet their individual needs, so why not do the same with medication needs? A compounding pharmacist can combine various drugs into a single dosage to combat nerve pain, customize topical antifungal medications, and more. Compounded sunblock creams, lotions and lip balms may help protect outdoor athletes.

Animal Compounding: Animals can be extremely difficult to treat with medications. Cats are notorious for refusing to swallow pills, and drug strength can be very tricky with dogs—a medication that works for an 80-pound Golden Retriever may be far too much for a six-pound Yorkie.

Lam said that the compounding that Golden Health Pharmacy—which, as members of the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), can obtain the best ingredients and formulas for its clients—works with the most is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. However, nearly any issue a patient may have can be treated more effectively through a compounded medicine.

Golden Health Pharmacy will be hosting a Spring Open House on May 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on the event, compounding medicines, or how Golden Health Pharmacy can best help you, call (703) 430-8883 or visit

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