FAQs About Long Term Care & Pharmaceutical Compounding

Q: What is Long Term Care?
Q: What types of services to Long Term Care provide?
Q: How can I tell if I need Long Term Care?
Q: Is Long Term Care expensive?
Q: Does Medicare cover Long Term Care costs?
Q: What is compounding and how does it benefit me?
Q: Can my child (or my elderly parent) take compounded medication?
Q: What kinds of prescriptions can be compounded?
Q: Will my insurance cover compounded medications?
Q: Is compounding expensive?
Q: Is compounding legal? Is it safe?
Q: Does my doctor know about compounding?
Q: Is custom compounding right for me?

A: What is Long Term Care?

Long Term Care includes a variety of medical services that help a person live comfortably for longer periods of time, while helping them live as independently as possible.

A: What types of services to Long Term Care provide?

There are several types of services LTC facilities provides. Home-based services, which include home health care, homemaker services, companion services and emergency response. Community services, which include adult day service day programs, senior centers, transportation and meal services. Facility-based services, which include adult foster care, boarding homes, assisted living, nursing homes and continuing care services.

A: How can I tell if I need Long Term Care?

It varies. Here are a few things you need to consider if you feel you might be a candidate for long term care. The older you get, the higher the chance you’ll need long term care. Your gender is another factor you’ll want to consider. Women are more at risk because they generally live longer than men. If you’re single, you’re at a greater risk of needing long term care. Someone with a healthier lifestyle will be at a lower risk. Your family health history is the last factor to consider.

A: Is Long Term Care expensive?

It can be. How much you pay depends on the type and amount of services used, where you live, and which providers you decide to go with.

A: Does Medicare cover Long Term Care costs?

No, despite what you may think, Medicare does pay for some short-term care expenses for those who are homebound but not ongoing homecare costs.

A: What is compounding and how does it benefit me?

Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for patients. Its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy; yet, compounding’s presence in the pharmacy profession has changed over the years. In the 1930s and 1940s, approximately 60% of all medications were compounded. With the advent of drug manufacturing in the 1950s and 1960s, compounding rapidly declined. The pharmacist’s role as a preparer of medications quickly changed to that of a dispenser of manufactured dosage forms.

However, within the last two decades, compounding has experienced a resurgence as modern technology and innovative techniques and research have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to meet specific patient needs.

There are several reasons why pharmacists compound prescription medications. The most important reason is what the medical community calls “patient non-compliance.” Many patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes, or are sensitive to standard drug strengths. With a prescriber’s consent, a compounding pharmacist can change the strength of a medication, alter its form to make it easier for the patient to ingest, or add flavor to make it more palatable. The pharmacist also can prepare the medication using several unique delivery systems, such as a sublingual troche or lozenge, a lollipop, or a transdermal gel or cream that can be absorbed through the skin. For those patients who are having a hard time swallowing a capsule, a compounding pharmacist can make a liquid suspension instead.

A: Can my child (or my elderly parent) take compounded medication?

Yes. Children and the elderly are often the types of patients who benefit most from compounding. Because of this, we offer specific pediatric compounding medication solutions. Often, parents have a tough time getting their children to take medicine because of the taste. A compounding pharmacist can work directly with the prescriber and the patient to select a flavoring agent, such as vanilla butternut or tutti frutti, which provides both an appropriate match for the medication’s properties and the patient’s taste preferences.

Compounding pharmacists also have helped patients who are experiencing chronic pain. For example, some arthritic patients cannot take certain medications due to gastrointestinal side effects. Working with their prescriber’s prescription, a compounding pharmacist can provide them with a topical preparation with the anti-inflammatory or analgesic their doctor has prescribed for them. Compounded prescriptions often are used for pain management in hospital care.

A: What kinds of prescriptions can be compounded?

Almost any kind. Compounded prescriptions are ideal for any patient requiring unique dosages and/or delivery devices, which can take the form of solutions, suppositories, sprays, oral rinses, lollipops and even as transdermal sticks. Compounding applications can include: Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Veterinary, Hospice, Pediatric, Ophthalmic, Dental, Otic (for the ear), Dermatology, Medication Flavoring, Chronic Pain Management, Neuropathies, Sports Medicine, Wound Therapy and Podiatry.

A: Will my insurance cover compounded medications?

Almost every insurance plan allows for the patient to be reimbursed by sending in claims forms. While you may be paying a pharmacy directly for a compounded prescription, most insurance plans should cover the final cost, less your co-pay or deductible.

A: Is compounding expensive?

Compounding may or may not cost more than conventional medication. Its cost depends on the type of dosage form and equipment required, plus the time spent researching and preparing the medication. Fortunately, compounding pharmacists have access to pure-grade quality chemicals which dramatically lower overall costs and allow them to be very competitive with commercially manufactured products.

A: Is compounding legal? Is it safe?

Compounding has been part of healthcare since the origins of pharmacy, and is widely used today in all areas of the industry, from hospitals to nuclear medicine. Over the last decade, compounding’s resurgence has largely benefited from advances in technology, quality control and research methodology. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that compounded prescriptions are both ethical and legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner for a specific patient and compounded by a licensed pharmacy. In addition, compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy.

A: Does my prescriber know about compounding?

Prescription compounding is a rapidly growing component of many prescribers’ practices. Some, however, may not realize the extent of compounding’s resurgence in recent years. Ask your prescriber about compounding. Then get in touch with Dial Drugs – we are committed to providing high-quality compounded medications in the exact dosage form and strength determined by your prescriber.

Through the triad relationship of patient, prescriber and pharmacist, all three can work together to solve unique medical problems in the most effective and productive way.

A: Is custom compounding right for me?

Contact a Dial Drugs pharmacist today to learn more about the benefits of personalized prescription compounding.

PCCA APHA Michigan Pharmacists Association ICAP