Ask Corn Allergy Girl: Finding a Compounding Pharmacy

The Question


I recently developed an allergy to ALL of my prescription medications. I take several of them and they are medications that I desperately need. Everytime I take them I have itching. I researched all of the ingredients and found that they all contain the same fillers & inactive ingredients. The common ingredient is magnesium stearate, but I’m not sure if it is the specific culprit. There are so many. I am having trouble finding substitutes that do not have all of the same exact fillers or any fillers for that matter! This is so frustrating! I don’t know what to do. Even OTC meds have all the same crap. I have prescriptions that need to be filled right now, but I am afraid to. My pharmacist thinks I’m crazy and we got into an argument over it. I live in a rural area where there aren’t any compounding pharmacies. Do you know of a reputable national compounding pharmacy that uses pure medication without fillers? I am going to an allergist next week. I hope she believes me & is will to try a REPUTABLE compounding pharmacy that uses pure medication without using crushed pills. Please I would appreciate any suggestions.

Thank you!

Some Background: There’s Corn In Medications?

If you look at the inactive ingredients of just about any prescription medication, chances are you will find at *least* one item from the corn allergens list, very likely corn starch. What to do then? Sometimes you may be able to find a version of the medication that is either corn free or has little enough corn that you can tolerate it. If not, you may need to have some of your meds custom-made for you with ingredients you tolerate. There are pharmacies called compounding pharmacies that can do this for you.

My Response to the Question

I have been exactly here and it’s scary and frustrating.

First, are you on the Facebook Corn Allergy group and/or the Delphi Avoiding Corn Forums? If not, join one or both of them immediately. You need some support, and there may even be a member of one of those groups who is in your state and already has a pharmacy they are working with.

There are a couple of reputable national compounding pharmacies. College Pharmacy is one. However the “big guys” that can ship to every single state rarely use custom filler, and I find it highly likely that you will need to provide your pharmacy with a custom filler you know you tolerate. If not now, you probably will later. So rather than go for a national compounding pharmacy, it would be better if you can find someone more local to you via the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board. (Choose “PCAB Compounding Pharmacy” from the dropdown if in the USA, or “Canadian PCAB Certificiaton” if in Canada.)

If I were you, I would use that registry to find someone near you, either in your state or in a neighboring state, and ask them:

1) Do they make their custom prescriptions out of the pure drug, without fillers, and mix in their own fillers on site if fillers are needed? (Some “compounding” pharmacies get the drug already diluted with corny fillers, and this will not work for us.)
2) If fillers are required, are they able to use a filler that YOU provide, if you are unable to tolerate any of the fillers they stock?
3) If you do not tolerate the soap they use to clean the capsule machine (many use Dawn which is corny), would they be able to use a different soap for you?
4) If you do not tolerate the gloves they use to handle the meds, are they able to switch to a different type?

The answers to all of the above should be yes in order for you to do business with a pharmacy. Even when they answer all your questions correctly, be prepared that the first time you fill a script, it may not be successful, so don’t go ordering a 90-day supply to begin with.

Note that I personally do not need to have them use a custom soap on their capsule machines, however my pharmacy is willing to do so if needed and that is comforting to me. At the time of writing I have them use Karlin’s Finest Baking Soda for a filler and Letco brand gelatin capsules. They don’t use custom soap on their capsule machines but they do refrain from stuffing their bottles with cotton and I have asked them to not use packing peanuts when mailing my prescriptions.

Getting Medications Compounded on News for Corn Avoiders

My Additional Notes on Getting Medications Compounded

12 thoughts on “Ask Corn Allergy Girl: Finding a Compounding Pharmacy

  1. Interesting, We were talking about this yesterday as it is really had to get compounded meds here in the UK and one of my readers has found the Women’s International Pharmacy good. .

    1. Thanks, Micki! I’ve had a hard time finding much out about compounding in the UK, and the question has come up before. A member of the Facebook group from the UK had a rough time recently when she had an infection and was unable to find any antibiotics without corn. I had found the name of one custom pharmacy but they weren’t able to help her for one reason or another unfortunately.

      1. Update: the Womens’ Int Pharmacy are no longer shipping compounded meds to the UK they said today. Boo! Back to square one. Who was the name you found then, please, and I will perhaps check them out again?

        Re corn free antibiotics, I have found some and have added them to a new grain free meds section of the TGF Supplements Master list. I am gradually building that up, small so far!

        Here too is a section on getting Specials in the UK in case it helps someone:

      2. Great thanks. I know them, small world! Will give them a call and let you know obviously. Meantime, hope you are doing Ok. Good decision I thought to focus on your for a bit. I have done a similar thing 🙂

  2. Do you consume the Letco capsule, or do you open it up and empty out the medicine? I just picked up empty capsules at a compounding pharmacy to trial, and it causes corn allergy symptoms, so I’m curious.

    1. I consume them. I dumped them at first but eventually got brave enough to try swallowing the capsules and found I did okay. Are you using clear capsules or the colored ones, and did you ask your pharmacy to check to be sure they were pure gelatin and not any “vegetable cellulose” which could be any vegetable? Some capsules are dusted with something (corn starch) to keep them from sticking as well.

      I tolerate the clear gelatin (not vegetable) capsules from Letco just fine, but Letco does have several different clear gelatin capsules and I don’t really know which specific ones my pharmacy uses. Additionally there could be cross contamination in how they are stored or packaged. And on top of that, everyone is different, and you could just be lucky enough to be more sensitive than me to a particular derivative.

      1. Thank you! I will check into that; I suspect they just handed me Letco brand and didn’t check into whether they are pure gelatin or not. They are clear, though. IF I can figure this out, I may have a source for you on compounded xyzal – I’m working out the details and costs and once I get those I’ll let you know. He does ship out of state as long as it’s not too many scripts he’s shipping.

      2. Best of luck getting that figured out. I recall getting my compounding business handled was incredibly stressful for me. It’s still intermittently stressful but they mostly know how to take care of me by now. And yes, I would love to hear about it if your pharmacist is able to source Xyzal. Of course if he won’t use custom fillers then I’m out of luck even if he will ship out of state. I could *try* some regular lactose but I have had bad luck with all of the stuff that the pharmacies stock in their regular supply.

  3. I am allergic to corn and milk as well as wheat, soy, oats and coconut and yeast. What I have discovered in trying to avoid items in medications inactive ingredients is that the recipient of this information in conversations tends to get “glazing over of the eyes” when I ask for help. If it doesn’t hurt them, they just don’t care. Are there enough of us to to petition the FDA or congress to stop the use of corn and corn derivatives and lactose in medications to get them to stop the practice?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s