How Do I Get A Compounded Cream Online?

How Do I Get A Compounded Cream Online?

The Clearing Team
The Clearing Team

Ever wondered about compounded pain relief creams? You may have seen them mentioned in ads, or perhaps you’ve heard about them at your doctor’s office. Do a quick search online, and you’ll be met with dozens of compounding pharmacy options, each one promising medications made to fit your exact needs. But how, exactly, do you get a compounded cream? And can you order one online?

We’ll dive into these questions about compounding below. After reading this article, you should know a few of the answers to them, and to several other questions, including:

  • What is a compounded cream?
  • Why would I buy a compounded cream online?
  • What should I look for in a compounded cream company?
  • How do I tell if I am getting good value for my money?

What is a compounded cream?

When we talk about compounding, we’re referring to the process of mixing a customized medication. A compounder blends two or more drugs to create a medication that targets a specific condition; these compounds are often part of personalized patient care. 

Compounded creams for pain combine different doses of ingredients into a cream or gel base to create a medication patients can spread on their skin (often over the area feeling the most pain, such as the back or neck). A personally compounded cream requires a doctor’s prescription, to ensure that a medical professional has recommended that precise blend of ingredients and is overseeing the outcome. 

Compounded creams for chronic pain relief may be appropriate for patients who:

  • Have trouble swallowing oral medications
  • Prefer the feeling of applying a cream (the very act of rubbing a painful area can sometimes provide a measure of relief, after all)
  • Would rather adjust their medication day-by-day. Creams can be more adjustable than pills, since patients can rub differing amounts on, depending on their pain levels 
  • Have pain in a specific location, such as with Swimmer’s shoulder, a crick in the neck, aching elbows or foot pain
  • Have experience with creams already, like IcyHot
  • Have a need for higher concentrations of medication (the high concentration levels of some compounded creams don’t always make them suitable for certain kinds of musculoskeletal pain, by the way)
  • Would like to possibly cut down on systematic side effects
  • Prefer certain ingredient blends (such as diclofenac sodium mixed with capsaicin)

A few more things to know about compounded creams

Since the exact combination of ingredients in a given customized compounded cream cannot easily be tested on multiple patients in randomized controlled trials (the standard for medical research), compounded creams are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration. This is not necessarily cause for alarm, though you will want to make sure your compounding pharmacy meets certain guidelines.

Why would I buy a compounded cream online?

To get a compounded cream, you would follow a few general steps:

  • Schedule an appointment with a general practitioner or pain specialist to discuss your pain and see if a topical solution may be a good fit for you. In some cases, this could happen via a telehealth appointment
  • Your doctor will determine what ingredients would likely give you the best pain relief and will write you a prescription for a compounded cream that includes those ingredients
  • You may fill the prescription at your local pharmacy offering compounding services; you could also send the prescription to a compounding pharmacy online. Companies will list a way to contact them or form to use when you need to upload your prescription

While some people prefer to fill their prescriptions locally, others may not live conveniently close to a brick and mortar pharmacy, or may prefer the convenience of filling their prescriptions online. 

Additionally, some online providers specialize in pain creams, so they may have more expertise with creating custom creams. This may be an advantage for people with chronic pain; it may also be helpful to have your medication delivered directly to your address.

What should I look for in a compounded cream company?

While a compounded pain cream can be tailored directly to what you need and can combine multiple ingredients to make pain management potentially easier and more effective, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind if you decide to order a compounded pain cream online:

  • Choose a reputable compounding agency, which is more likely to follow high-quality drug-handling practices
  • Check to see whether the company you’re considering is accredited, and if so, with whom. The Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) requires pharmacies registered with them to follow reputable guidelines, which can give you a heightened measure of confidence
  • Verify whether Certificate of Analysis accompanies each ingredient to indicate quality testing, as per regulations; ingredients should be pharmaceutical grade, rated United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or European Pharmacopeia (EU) 
  • Read online reviews to ensure you’ll get a good product and supportive customer service
  • Ask whether the company’s pharmacists received special training in compounding

If the company you’re considering meets these checkpoints, you’re on a good pathway to finding a company that can create and deliver a high-quality cream for you.

How do I tell if I am getting good value for my money?

If you’re working with a trustworthy compounding company, it should be using high-quality pharmaceutical-grade components according to your doctor’s prescribed cream formulation. 

Does that mean it’s a good value? That could depend on how well the compounded cream helps you manage your chronic pain. So, to help you decide whether or not a compounded pain cream could work for you, it helps to have a clear idea of what you expect the cream to do. 

This could start with having an in-depth talk with the doctor who prescribed your cream, asking what range of average pain reduction, for example, you can anticipate from this particular formula. The answer might be something like ten to thirty percent reduction in pain in the local area, for example. That kind of estimate gives you a good benchmark for understanding how well your pain cream is working. 

Not all pain creams are a good fit for all patients. What’s interesting about compounded pain creams, however, is that they can be adjusted. So if the formulation doesn’t work for you the first time around, you can request adjustments from your doctor, and the compounder can issue you a new, custom-blended cream that may be better. 

As with all medications, it’s important to follow the directions for use with compounded pain creams. This includes applying the proper amounts to the correct parts of the body, not sharing your compounded pain cream with others, and not using a heating pad at the same time you’re using your cream.

Can I find a good compounded pain cream at Clearing?

Clearing works with advanced pain management doctors to develop its own prescription compounded cream formulas; many of Clearing’s formulas incorporate lidocaine or doxepin. Clearing’s personalized treatment plans bolster the use of compounded pain cream with a full complement of other tools as well including access to advanced pain specialists as well as nutraceuticals, CBD cream, and personalized home exercises (depending on your specific plan).

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your individual needs and medical conditions.