If you are allergic to a medication or to one of the fillers or other components of a medication, trying to treat a condition for which you need that medication is rather frustrating. You don't want to make yourself sick by taking the medication, but you can't just not take medication for the condition you already have. There are a couple of solutions that could help you get the medication you need: drug desensitization and compounding.

Drug Desensitization

Drug desensitization is most appropriate for people who are allergic to the active ingredient in a medication, for which there is no substitute. In other words, you have to take the medication you're allergic to and there are no other options. In this process, you start with small doses and work your way up to your needed dose as a way to get your body used to the medication. 

Pros for desensitization are that the process allows you to take the medication you need and that you'll be surrounded by medical personnel waiting to help you if something goes wrong and you have a reaction. Cons, however, include the fact that you have to go to a medical facility like a hospital to take the medication, and the desensitization is not permanent. These are not like allergy shots that you get for a cat allergy; these are doses that help you get through the one course of medication. Also note that desensitization may work only for the one specific medicine and not related medicines. For example, desensitization for penicillin might not allow you to take another medication with a related ingredient, such as amoxicillin.


Compounding involves breaking the drug down and either combining it with other drugs or putting it into another form, like taking a crushed tablet and adding it to a liquid formula. Compounding is excellent if you have specific allergies to things like fillers, preservatives, and so on. The compounding pharmacist can take separate components and put them together in an allergy-free formulation for you.

The pros, obviously, are that you get a medication you can take safely, and you get it in a form that you can take without gagging. You can also take the medication at home instead of traveling to a hospital to take it. The con here, though, is that you have to have access to a compounding pharmacy to get this. While many drugstores and hospitals have their own compounding pharmacies, sometimes you can't find one in smaller towns or more remote areas.

Talk to your doctor about the option that would be best for you. He or she may also know of compounding pharmacies that will do mail order, so distance will not be a problem. For more information, contact a pharmacy like Camelback Compounding Pharmacy.