For people suffering 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 improve their quality of life. However, rather than prescribe a heavy, potentially habit forming narcotic, such as morphine, doctors and naturopaths may send a patient to a compounding (aka specialist) pharmacy instead of a traditional apothecary to fill their prescriptions. A growing number of traditional and alternative health providers are recognizing the value of customized remedies for treating those troubled with pain, rather than continuing to use mass-produced drugs which may not be as effective.
Conventional druggist fill prescriptions and typically 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 personalized medications for each individual by mixing the ingredients on site. Pain management often requires a tailor made approach because there are multiple factors, such as pain threshold, 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 may be used to increase the drugís shelf life, make them more attractive or fit into packaging. Inorganic dyes are common and a few are certainly toxic, while metals may be used as carrying agents. Some medicines need synthetic ingredients to extend their shelf lives. Other artificial additives may be included 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 most often contain only the components necessary to address 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 required 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 physicians in an advisory capacity.
These specialist pharmacies have the ability 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 created as gel caps, aerosols or suppository forms. For young children, flavored lollipops might be provided for those who might otherwise resist, or who may not yet be able to swallow pills.
Transdermal creams, 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 so they can continue to perform through the pain. This method of treatment is used for a variety 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 suffering, quality of life is of paramount importance to the sufferer. Compounding pharmacists, working with patientsí doctors, are able to create distinctive solutions to assuage an individualís suffering, and help that person back onto the road to a happier, more productive life.