Jun 082010

With such diverse people in the world that have individual needs and requirements, it is understandable that not everyone responds the same to every type of medication. Many people have specific conditions that prevent them from taking medicine using traditional manufactured pharmaceuticals. Sometimes the type of medicine required by a particular patient is not manufactured by traditional drug companies, or a patient may need to ingest the medicine using a different method than traditionally prescribed. This is when Compound Pharmacists come in to meet the unique individual patient needs.

Compounding pharmacists customize an individual patient’s prescription according to the specific need of the patient. There are a number of circumstances that require consultation with a compounding pharmacist. For instance, a patient will need a compound pharmacist if they are unable to ingest ingredients that are included in traditional medicines such as preservatives, alcohol, dyes, sugar, gluten, lactose, and casein. Patients may also need an alternate route of medicine ingestions such as if a patient has trouble swallowing. Alternate administration routes can include: Transdermal such as a skin patch, nasal spray, liquid form, lozenge, lollipops, creams, and inhalation. If a patient is susceptible to drug side effects or require allergen free medications, using medication prepared by a compounding pharmacist can drastically reduce the potential for side effects and eliminate allergic reactions. A compounding pharmacy can help cancer patients reduce discomfort caused by their medication during treatment.

If a patient requires a specific dosage that is not normally manufactured by a traditional drug manufacturer, a compounding pharmacist can provide the uncommon dosage in order to meet the required strength. Patients who are in need of medications that have been discontinued by pharmaceutical manufacturers can get the medications from a compounding pharmacist. As well, children who will only medications that have a palatable flavor will be able to get a specific drug that has a pleasant tasting flavor from a compounding pharmacist.

Compounded prescriptions are the ideal solutions for a patient that is in need of an alternate route of delivery and an uncommon dosage. Compounding pharmacists are needed in such medical areas as: Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Sports Medicine, Wound Therapy, Veterinary practices that include both large and small animals, Chronic Pain Management, Dental Practices, Hospice, Pediatrics, Infertility, Ophthalmic, Dermatology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, and more.

Pharmacy compounding is not just a science of preparing medications, but it is also an art to customizing medications for patients. Compounding is not a new method of providing medications. This type of pharmacy has been around for centuries. However, with increasing more patients requiring alternative forms of drugs and innovations in technology and research, there has be a significant increase in compounding pharmacists. As well, The Food and Drug Administration support the use of compounding, and it is regulated by each State’s Board of Pharmacy.

With the consent of a physician, a compounding pharmacist can modify almost any kind of a medication to make it easier to ingest by the patient and have the exact same effect as traditional manufactured medicine. For many patients, compounding has made the ingestion much easier and less unpleasant. For patients who feel they may require the expertise of compounding pharmacists, it is recommended that they discuss what compounding can do for them with their physician.

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Aug 282009

As our bodies get older they function less efficiently. Like all sophisticated machines, they eventually suffer the wear and tear of prolonged use. To name a few signs of deterioration: our joints start to hurt, our energy level decreases, our digestion is not as efficient, our thought processes slow down, and our arteries start to narrow. To many, the ‘golden years’ are synonymous with taking medication.

Although some medication is necessary to repair a weakening system, they usually come with a list of side effects. In describing these drugs, terms such as ‘inhibiters’, ‘blockers’, and ‘antagonists’ mean that they will be interfering with something in the body to accomplish the desired effect, and forewarn of a negative. In many cases, this negative can be due to nutrient depletion. Nutrients are vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, etc., that are usually obtained from the breakdown of food to supply the biochemical building blocks that the body needs to exist, and their depletion often defines the side effect of the drug.

Western medicine is vigilant in its monitoring of nutrients that can interact negatively with a drug, however, the lack of attentiveness regarding the nutrients that are depleted by a drug is very disconcerting. To illustrate this point, let’s look at Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), one of the most important nutrients in the human body.

CoQ10 is a fat-soluble vitamin-like compound that is critical in the production of energy in the mitochondria of every human cell. It is also an important antioxidant and plays a major role in preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and the prevention of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). Further, it is intimately involved in the production of energy. Consequently, a deficiency of CoQ10 first affects the heart and cardiovascular system because the heart is the most energy-demanding muscle in the human body. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency can cause congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, mitral valve prolapse, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, lack of energy, gingivitis and generalized weakening of the immune system.

There is an extensive list of pharmaceutical drugs that deplete CoQ10. To name a few: statin drugs (e.g. Lipitor®) used to lower cholesterol, beta blockers (e.g. metoprolol) to lower high blood pressure, thiazide diuretics (e.g. hydrochlorthiazide) to lower high blood pressure, and metformin a common medication used to treat insulin resistance and Type II diabetes.

Aging, by way of lower biochemical production and absorption of critical nutrients such as CoQ10 increase our risk of various cardiac problems, weak immune systems, and lower energy levels. The additional intake of a range of drugs that further deplete our levels of crucial nutrients can increase our risk levels substantially. It must be noted that many of these drugs deplete multiple nutrients important to other functions of the body.

Often, when a change of lifestyle has failed to produce the desired change to one’s chronic illness, it becomes necessary to resort to the use of a drug. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the nutritional needs not only of that illness but of the nutritional needs made necessary by a particular drug. The failure to address this issue may result in the health problems not being resolved, and may lead to other symptoms later on, which may lead to the prescribing of additional drugs. A health care provider, who is familiar with drug nutrient depletion, can help make your medication more effective and cut down on some of the long term risks.

Marvin Malamed is a national award winning pharmacist, certified clinical nutritionist and President of Haber’s Compounding Pharmacy.  For more information, he can be reached at (416) 656 9800.