Physicians and Naturopaths Turn to Compounding Pharmacies for Custom Pain Management Solutions

| Monday, May 2, 2011
By Stephen Daniels

For people battling with chronic pain whether as a result of an injury or some painful condition such as neuropathy or rheumatoid arthritis, effective pain management can help enhance their quality of life. However, rather than prescribe a heavy, potentially addictive narcotic, such as morphine, doctors and naturopaths may send a patient to a compounding (aka specialist) local pharmacy rather than a conventional apothecary to fill their prescriptions. More and more traditional and alternative health providers are taking note of the value of customized remedies for treating those suffering with pain, as opposed to continuing to use mass-produced drugs which may not be as effective.

Conventional pharmacies fill prescriptions and usually offer only the drug treatments that the mega pharmaceuticals produce in defined dosages and forms. Specialist pharmacies also fill prescriptions, but they are able to make customized medications for each individual by combining the ingredients on site. Pain management often requires a tailor made approach because there are multiple factors, such as pain tolerance, degree of an affliction, or even less measurable factors, such as the differences between how a narcotic affects people. It is catering to these differences that contribute to the quality of life of each individual.

Mass-produced medications often incorporate ingredients entirely extraneous to pain suppression. Additives are often used to increase the drugs shelf life, make them more attractive or fit into packaging. Dyes are common and a few are very toxic, while metals may be used as carrying agents. Some medicines need preservatives to extend their shelf lives. Other additives may be incorporated to protect the drug from the effects of the acidic digestive system. And still other pain meds, as mentioned above, are narcotics which are not only habit forming, but that also treat pain by basically putting a person to sleep. Basically the individual gives up all acitivity in order to tolerate or reduce pain levels.

Compounded medications usually contain only the components necessary to treat the pain. In some cases, flavoring additives are used to make the drug more tasty to children and adults alike, and refrigeration could possibly be necessary to provide the meds some shelf life. The dosage of compounded medication is in accordance with the needs of the individual patient. While these specialist pharmacolgists cannot write prescriptions, they often work closely with medical professionals in an advisory capacity.

These specialist pharmacies are able to offer medications in many delivery forms, which is huge when it comes to pain management. Traditional meds almost exclusively come in capsule, intravenous, or injection form. However, these same meds can be produced as gel caps, sprays or suppository forms. For young children, distinctive flavored lollipops might be offered for those who might otherwise resist, or who may not yet be able to swallow capsules.

Transdermal lotions, rubs and gels can deliver the drugs locally to the painful spot on the body. The medication can be rubbed or sprayed on, or put on a patch, much like a band aid, so it is absorbed through the skin. This form of treatment is often prescribed for athletes to enable them to continue to play through the pain. This method of treatment is used for a number of problems ranging from healing damaged skin to anti-spasmodic and hemorrhoid treatments.

Other alternative delivery methods include Iontophoresis and phonophoresis. Iontophoresis is the process by which medication is administered with a small electric charge, much like an injection without a needle. It is commonly used to treat excessive sweating (aka hyperhidrosis). It can also be used to infuse the skin with vitamins. Phonophoresis is similar, but uses ultrasound to deliver the treatment, such as an anti-inflammatory medication. While Iontophoresis and phonophoresis medications may be compounded by specialist pharmacists, treatment is administered by a doctor.

When it comes to persistent pain, quality of life is of paramount importance to the sufferer. Compounding pharmacists, working with patients doctors, are able to create distinctive solutions to assuage an individuals suffering, and help that person back onto the road to a happier, more productive life.

Reproduction permitted only if all active links are maintained and byline is preserved, and/or your byline is omitted. 2011 All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:


Post a Comment