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

I was recently asked the following question:

My doctor said I have osteopenia and recommended that I take calcium. Is there anything else I can do to prevent my bone density from getting worse?

Yes. There are many things to consider. The same amount of calcium in your diet you ingested when you were young and building a strong skeleton may result in bone degeneration when you are older. However, although calcium is important it can not be isolated as the sole cause.

Paying attention to your nutrition from many aspects is critical. A diet which is rich in minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, boron, silicon, manganese, zinc and copper, vitamin B6, vitamin c, vitamin k among others is important. It may be difficult to get the proper amount of nutrients without supplementing your normal diet with a comprehensive formula for bones.

The proper amount of vitamin D is essential to help absorb the calcium that is ingested in food a/o supplements. Eating enough protein is also vital. Digestive issues should also be considered. As we get older we produce less stomach acid and digestive enzymes. We are therefore less likely to break down our food (and even our supplements) and extract the nutrients.

Whether our diet is alkaline forming or acidic forming is important. An acidic forming diet will help leach calcium from your bones. This is easy to monitor with appropriate ph strips.

Exercise is important throughout life to help maintain bone density and strengthen the soft tissue supporting our skeletons. It is important to incorporate a routine of resistance exercise.

Medical conditions and medications are contributors to osteoporosis as well. Diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, Hyperparathyroidism, and Rheumatoid Arthritis are some of the conditions that are associated with an increase risk of osteoporosis. Many medications deplete nutrients that are important for maintaining strong bones. It is important to realize what these nutrients are and to supplement accordingly so as not to increase your risk. The overuse of acid blockers for heartburn further decreases the availability of gastric acid, the importance of which has already been mentioned.  

Last but not least, you must look at your hormonal scenario. Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, Dihydroepiandrosterone, and Cortisol balance play a part in maintaining strong bones. The age at which hormonal balance is lost is when the risk of osteoporosis is at its highest.

So often I see people relying on their intake of 1500mg of calcium, while completely ignoring the other issues, only to be pronounced osteoportic two years later. 

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.