Sterile vs. Non-Sterile Compounding Pharmacies. Things You Need to Know

Compounding pharmacies are a blessing for patients who can’t use mass-produced medications for any reason. For example, some mass-produced medications may not be available in the market when pharmaceutical companies stop producing them. Or, some patients may not like allergic reactions that consuming some mass-produced drugs can trigger as their side effects. In addition, there are sterile vs. compound drugs that compounding and non-sterile compound pharmacies produce. We shall also compare these two types to help you understand the difference between sterile and non-sterile compounding. Before we do, we shall explain to you how compound pharmacies are different than retail pharmacies.

Retail Pharmacies vs. Compound Pharmacies

Retail pharmacies produce a standard set of medications that are usually mass-produced. On the other hand, compound pharmacies are different than retail pharmacies in a number of ways, mentioned below: 

Customized Medications:

Compound pharmacies produce customized and unique solutions for patients via compounding. Compound pharmacists have the ability to modify ingredients in specific medications for patients, contingent on allergies or related intolerances.

Altering Form of Medications:

Compound pharmacies can also change the form of medications for patients according to the needs of different patients. For example, a compound pharmacist may change the form of medication for patients, such as a pill to a liquid to make medications easier to ingest, specifically for the elderly and children.

Target Individual Needs of Patients:

Compound pharmacies can customize the strength and dosage of medications for patients according to their needs. They may customize medications for patients as per their weight, height, and tolerance. Similarly, they may come up with multiple ways for making patients use medicines while hiding them in food or drinks.

Hence, compound pharmacies don’t deal in the standard set of medications, unlike retail pharmacies. 

Differences between Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding

Sterile and non-sterile compounding operations are different in the following ways:

Sterile Compounding:

Compound pharmacies have to use sterile compounding for making patients use certain medications. Compound pharmacists opt for sterile compounding for handling medications that may require intravenous/IV injections or administration via the eye. Additionally, handling sterile compound medications requires extra care to avoid any chances of infection to patients.

Non-Sterile Compounding:

Non-sterile compounding pharmacies require few measures while sticking to strict guidelines to produce non-sterile compound medications. Besides, compound pharmacists have to ensure they properly mix, package, and label non-sterile compound drugs. Non-sterile compound medications may include forms, such as ointments, creams, pills, liquid, shampoo, etc. 

Types of Sterile Compound Products

Pharmaceutical companies utilize two types of sterile compound products. Sterile compound products that pharmaceutical companies use are as follows:


Most commonly used sterile pharmaceutical handling products for patients include injections. Sterile compounding products, such as injections bypass the enteral routes, like stomach and intestines. Eventually, they go directly into the bloodstream.

Non-Injectable Sterile Fluids:

Non-injectable sterile fluids mostly embrace products that would enter the eye. These products include eye drops and contact lens solutions, in general. 

Types of Non-Sterile Compound Products

Non-sterile compounding products don’t require extra care for utilization as they are easy to use. Compound pharmacies, such as Aurora Compounding, make a variety of non-sterile compounding products. Non-sterile compounding products can include medicated shampoos, oral products, solutions, ointments, topical gels, foams, creams, and medicated lip balm lotions. Compound pharmacists can make modifications to products through non-sterile compounding to target the exact needs of patients. Non-sterile compounding products are suitable for therapeutic patients who may need customized medications for their treatment. Therapeutic patients may need customized medications to tackle personal challenges while feeling easy and comfortable at the same time. 

Choosing the Right Compound Pharmacy

Patients who may need to use compound medications should also choose the right compound pharmacy to meet their needs. They can identify an authentic compound pharmacy in various ways, such as:

  1. They can do online research and search for information about compound pharmacies, compare them, and eventually choose the right one.
  1. Patients may consider referrals from relatives, colleagues, and friends who might have used compound medications before. It may aid them in finding an authentic compound pharmacy to meet their needs.
  1. They can also go through customer reviews about online compound pharmacies to identify reputable pharmacies and finally choose one.    


Compound pharmacies seem a good fortune to patients who can’t use mass-produced drugs for different reasons. Besides, these pharmacies produce compound medications for patients through sterile and non-sterile compounding. Here are the main differences between sterile and non-sterile compounding pharmacies:

  1. Sterile compound pharmacies make compound medications that may require IV injections or administration via the eye. On the other hand, non-sterile compound pharmacies require few measures while sticking to strict guidelines to produce customized compound medications.
  1. Additionally, sterile compounding products usually include injections and non-injectable sterile fluids. Conversely, non-sterile compounding products embrace medicated shampoos, oral products, solutions, ointments, topical gels, foams, creams, and medicated lip balm lotion.

Lastly, patients should choose the right compound pharmacy to treat their medical condition because all compound pharmacies are not equal.

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