Pain is the most common symptom for which people seek medical help. Acute pain (short-term pain) can quickly turn into chronic pain (long-term pain), which can be challenging to treat. Managing this pain effectively is crucial because even when the underlying disease is stable if someone is experiencing uncontrolled pain, it keeps them from working, enjoying activities or just sharing time with family and friends.
Many commercially available pain relief medications help with the chronic pain of conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and other nerve and muscle pain. Still, they can also have unwanted side effects like drowsiness, dizziness or stomach irritation.
While many patients accept these side effects as the cost of pain relief, there may be a better solution for them: pharmacy compounding.
Compounding is the preparation of customized medication. It provides valuable benefits to many patients, including those for whom dealing with chronic pain has become a way of life. Because it’s personalized to the specific patient, compounded medication can treat symptoms while avoiding certain side effects. By working with our compounding pharmacist, your doctor can prescribe tailored treatments for your pain management needs.
Alternative Dosage Forms
Due to stomach irritation or other side effects, some people have difficulty taking pain medications in their commercially available forms. Compounding can provide alternative methods of delivery to make the process easier. Instead of a capsule or tablet, a topical gel, cream, or spray can be compounded to be applied directly to the site of the pain and absorbed through the skin. Other alternative dosage forms include nasal sprays, custom-flavoured troches that dissolve under the tongue, or suppositories.
These dosage forms bypass the gastrointestinal tract, helping patients with stomach irritation and those who have difficulty swallowing pills. In some cases, these delivery methods may allow for a smaller dose of the drug, which can reduce side effects like dizziness and drowsiness.
Topical and transdermal pain formulations have wide popularity among health care providers and patients when they are used. Still, there are indications that not all providers are familiar with how to prescribe best and use them. A study of 120 pain clinicians revealed that only 27% reported frequently prescribing compounded topical pain medications, with a success rate of 47%.
Some chronic pain sufferers, such as patients with fibromyalgia, are placed on various medications, which means taking multiple drugs. Optimal treatment may involve using multiple ingredients that possess pain-relieving properties, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antiarrhythmics, anesthetics, antiviral agents, etc. Compounding can make it possible for these patients to get all their medications in a single preparation making it much more convenient.
Because patients vary in size, symptoms and pain tolerance, commercially available medications sometimes may not provide the appropriate dosage strength for an individual patient. Through compounding, a physician and pharmacist can customize the dosage to the exact amount the patient requires and find a dosage form that best suits the patient’s needs.
Pain can be debilitating, whether acute muscle or nerve pain resulting from an accident or a chronic condition such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Pharmacy compounding may help improve a patient’s quality of life by providing relief with potentially fewer side effects and less overall medication.
Pain management is a team effort. Contact our compounding pharmacists to learn more.