Lethbridge Pharmacy -Martie Dick

Compounding and Pain Management

The summer season brings with it all sorts of reasons for aches and pains, from staining the fence and  finishing that landscaping project to simply having a fun day on the water-skis!  Acute pain may be managed with rest and perhaps anti-inflammatory agents and resolve quickly, but for those who live with chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, pain management can be more complex.

Patients with chronic pain often have trouble finding a treatment that provides complete relief.  Pain causation is usually multifactoral, and oral medications may only target one contributing factor at a time.  This may lead to the patient needing to take multiple medications to treat their pain, or not receiving a complete analgesic effect.

To treat the pain in a more comprehensive manner, doctors can prescribe a topical compounded pain treatment for the patient.  There are many advantages to a compounded pharmaceutical product.  For example, a single compounded product can consist of many different medications that target different pain signaling pathways, and this leads to more complete pain control. The drug combinations are flexible, and can therefore be customized to individual and unique patient needs.  One patient may require a compound that contains a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory, and another patient may need a compound containing a muscle relaxant, an anesthetic, and medication to treat nerve pain.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to chronic pain and standard medication may not be able to treat all the symptoms.

The reasons behind pain are diverse, and compounded medications can be tailored to suit your unique needs.  The combination of drugs, strength and dosage form can be prepared to treat your specific symptoms so that you may receive better pain relief.

Topical compounded pain products are advantageous because they are applied to the skin. The medication can target the affected area more specifically, such as the lower back.  Drug absorption by the skin also limits systemic circulation of the drug in the body, unlike oral medication, and can minimize any side effects from the individual component medications.

Strong opioid analgesics, such as morphine, can be incorporated into compounded pain medications as well, but because the drug has minimal systemic absorption, the patient is not at risk of developing opioid addiction issues or experiencing commonly associated side effects (such as constipation and drowsiness), unlike with the use of oral opioid medications.

The compounding of combination pain medications requires specialized knowledge, skill and equipment.  A pharmacist trained and experienced in pharmacy compounding will know which medications can be combined and which cannot.

A pharmacy technician trained in compounding will know how to use the specialized equipment to mix ingredients together and produce an elegant and stable pharmaceutical product, where the ingredients won’t separate over time and efficacy is maximized.

Here at Gail’s Apothecary & Compounding Pharmacy, our Pharmacists and Compounding Specialists have received intensive training at the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA).  We have the specialized environments, such as a Clean Room, and equipment needed to compound both sterile and non-sterile pain management medications.  Whether you need an injection, a cream, or a troche that dissolves in your mouth, our compounding team has the knowledge and experience to prepare compounded medication products with ease and expertise.  We are committed to providing the best pharmaceutical care and service possible.

#2, 425-13 Street N | (403) 329-4121, gailsapothecary.ca