What Should Patients Understand About Drug Combination Products?

21 June 2022
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


If you have a medical condition that requires you to use medications or medical devices at home, you may be using what's known as a drug combination product. A combination product is one that contains two or more FDA-regulated components, such as a drug-device combination, biologic-device combination, or drug combination. For example, prefilled syringes, inhalers, transdermal patches, nasal sprays, etc. are some examples of combination products because different components may be made by more than one manufacturer, pharmacy, medical technology supplier, etc. Take a look at who could benefit from drug combination products and how to have the most efficient user experience.

Who Could Benefit from Combination Products?

Your doctor can make recommendations on combination products depending on your medical condition and preferences. A review from PubMed states that although it takes more work to meet regulatory standards because multiple sectors work on one product, combination products often lead to safer more effective treatments because of individualized therapy, precise drug targeting, and local administration. One study found that fixed-dose combination drugs could improve patient compliance for people with conditions like hypertension. Instead of having to take multiple medications, a combination drug could simplify the medication regimen.

When Are Combination Products Not Recommended?

Many combination products come with fixed dosages, so if your doctor determines that you need a very specific dose—like at a compounding pharmacy—then combination products may not work. If you rely on a generic form of a certain medication to keep costs down, then a combination product may not be recommended since it may be a more expensive brand. But again, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about recommendations.

How Can the User Experience Be Improved with Combination Products?

With a traditional oral drug product, like a tablet, it can be easy to follow the instructions since you will usually take the medication at the same time each day. With combination products, you may need to perform several steps, such as removing the packaging, switching on devices, checking infusion lines, disassembling, cleaning equipment, etc. In short, there can be more room for human error with combination products. For example, some people may hold an inhaler incorrectly for their asthma, which means less medicine would be getting to the lungs.

To improve your experience, you should thoroughly read the manufacturer's instructions and visit your doctor for a brief demonstration of the product. Continuing with the inhaler example, if you are prescribed a metered-dose inhaler, your doctor can show you how to prime the inhaler when it hasn't been used for some time. Some inhalers may work more effectively with a spacer or valved-holding chamber that attaches to the device.

Reading the manufacturer instructions and voicing your questions/concerns to your doctor is vital to make sure that you are using a combination product safely and administering the correct dose. Also, ask your doctor about how to care for and store devices so that you don't unintentionally void any warranty or cause premature wear and tear to a product.

Reach out to a health and medical provider today for more details.