Monday, May 4, 2009

Compounding...On The Road

You never know when you're going to learn about something new. Last week, as I was going around doing my daily routine, I did just that.

Color Stock Photo Of Prescription Pill Bottles

My Little One has had a case of eczema, and over the past month since reporting it my doctor, it has gotten worse. The 1% hydrocortisone that was prescribed not only didn't work, my Little One now has white, bleached areas on his torso due to the medication. Bleached! I know he's fair-skinned (takes after his Daddy) but he's even MORE white in those areas. Like white leopard spots. Apparently, the doctor says, it wasn't strong enough. Whaaat? Seemed pretty darn strong to me, AND didn't work. Poor guy still had red welts, along with discoloured bleach spots. Not a good way to start Life, hey, Kid?

So we were prescribed another stronger medication of 0.5% Betaderm cream in a 2:1:1 concoction with Vaseline creamy and Glaxal Base cream.

Ever wonder how pharmacies can just whip out prescriptions in their black-hole abyss of shelves full of medications? Ever wonder how they manage to always have everything in stock? Don't wonder....they don't always. I found this out the hard way.

I have a Shoppers Drug Mart literally just behind my house. It's the best thing ever. If I need anything, even a loaf of bread, they've got it. But being the economical person I am, I thought I'd make a trip to Superstore and save a few bucks on the prescription. So I drop it off at 11:45 am and was told it would take 45 minutes to fill. NOT waiting for that, so I headed home.

(click to cue music)

I gave them some time to fill the prescription and returned at 1pm.

"Oh, we paged you and wanted to say we don't have the Vaseline Creamy required for the prescription, so it's not done yet". Did you ever think of calling me on the phone?

"I really need that prescription..."

"Ok, well, give me 5-10 minutes" WTF?....Couldn't you have taken that long to begin with?

So I hang out for 10 minutes, actually buying a few other stuff I needed. When I returned to the pharmacy counter...

"So, we made it using regular Vaseline. But we're waiting for your doctor to phone us back and ok it for us. You can wait or go home and come back once we've okayed this. Or you can take your prescription elsewhere."


"No, I can't go home again, I'll wait a few minutes."

So I sat down at a patio set display, looking pretty forlorn, and got to, why should I wait for my doctor to call? Good luck with that....I never get a phone call back from her right away, only after a few hours. And to approve a prescription that was modified? If she says Vaseline Creamy , dammit, I should get Vaseline Creamy! Only the best for my baby!

I stomped right back to the counter and asked for my prescription back. The Shoppers Drug Mart by my house is SURE to have this.

(cue music again)

I screech over there in my car and ask the pharmacy assistant there if they have all the ingredients for my prescription recipe. Hmm, they said, we have the creamy vaseline but not the Glaxal cream.


EVERY pharmacy has to have's the non-medicinal, hypoallogenic cream that makes up almost all prescription creams. It's like the basis of all pharmaceutical lotions. They don't have this? Is this not Shoppers DRUG Mart? I just bought a huge jug of this at Superstore....perhaps I can aliquot it out for them.

They suggested I go to the Pharmasave not too far away, as they are a compounding pharmacy and will definitely be able to make anything there. Really? Anything? Aren't all pharmacies supposed to be able to do that anyways? They gave me the address and telephone number, and off I was....on the road again, silently cursing Willie Nelson for creating that joyous Road Trip tune. I wasn't whistling this time.

(danggit...different song please...)

I finally got there and they said the prescription would be ready in 15 minutes. No questions asked! No denying their ability to fill it. And they offered to delivery it FOR FREE because I couldn't wait 15 minutes (my babysitting services was expiring, with all this driving around). I can pay upon delivery. What service!

I noticed a sign by the till, thanking me for coming to a Compounding Pharmacy. So there's such a thing? There are not too many things that stump me suddenly. I had to research this when I got home.


A compounding pharmacy (CP) is a pharmacy that specializes in mixing raw ingredients. Apparently 99% of prescriptions are commercial drugs already made by drug companies. Among other things, a CP is great if you:

* can't take large pills. They can create smaller-dosage pills for easier swallowing or even make that in a liquid form, or, yikes, as suppositories!

* can add flavouring to medications if you absolutely can't stand the taste of what you're taking, or your kid will only take bubble gum flavours :) --- Obviously, not on the suppositories!

* remove a non-essential ingredient in medication that you are allergic to like gluten or dyes

* create a drug at a lower strength not readily available (like for infants, in my case)

What a fantastic concept! I guess most pharmacies just count pills or something and don't actually do much mixing (no offence to my pharmacist friends). I guess those at compounding pharmacies are true alchemists, modern day mad scientists, concocting anything needed for ultimate patient care.

I was so impressed with this concept, and the service I got, that I will probably be dropping a few more prescriptions there. You should look into finding one near could save you a trip or two in the future!


  1. Ate, you should try using 100% shea butter. It has really worked on my eczema, much better than any topical cream I've been prescribed and glaxal base! Oh, the pharmacist at Randi's office is fabulous!

  2. You have 100% shea? Where did you buy it? I was going to buy some at Coastal Scents on my next order. Aileen (Shades of U) highly recommends it too. Now, I can shop at CS with a REAL purpose! LOL

  3. my daughter and I have eczema too...
    you can also find unrefined shea butter (and lotsssss of other stuff) over at it's under the butters category :)

    it's great that you found that wonderful pharmacy after going to those worthless ones you tried first, hehe.

  4. Ida: thanks for the link. I've heard many good things about GOW and have yet to order anything from there. I will definitely look into this! Thanks!