Seniors need special care

Five patients categories that could benefit from compounding and customized medications

“I don’t need or want a compounded medication. This is for complex needs not mine.”

Did you say that to yourself one time?

First, let’s go through quick definition and a story.

Compounded medication is a prescribed medication that is prepared in a compounding pharmacy that is licenced and registered for that purpose. Compounding is done by mixing specific active medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients in specific doses under certain conditions. The outcome could be packaged in capsules, or pressed to be suppositories, or mixed with other ingredients to be a suspension, cream, or even gummies.

For the story part, at the beginning of the pharmacy practice, everything was prepared according to specific needs and tastes. Everything was essentially a compounded medication based on the pharmacist (or the apothecarist at his apothecary, which are old names of pharmacist and pharmacy). The amount of medicines available was limited and the interaction between the pharmacists/ apothecarist and their patients was intensive.

apothecary
An old apothecary

However, that practice changed with time with the explosive amounts of drugs and medications being invented, synthesized, and mass produced.

These days, things are going to a new and nice direction of combining the benefits of mass production and well-planned medicine customization (or compounding). A compounding pharmacy (like Chaparral Pharmacy) is an example of that combination, where regular and compounding medicines can be prepared, packaged, and even free delivered to you.

Back to the initial question, how can that customized and compounded medicine help you?

There are many categories of patients (or their little furry friends) that could be greatly benefited from compounding. We will discuss five specific examples as follows.

Kids

This very category is a direct answer for the question at the beginning of the blog. Kids are very sensitive to medicines, especially the young and the newborn.

A much known case is the acid reflux or the heartburn of the newborns and babies up to two years old. Newborns and especially the premature newborns could suffer from a weak stomach valve that controls and lock up the stomach contents. This weak valve (it is supposed to be a non-return valve) will allow the stomach content of the newborn to go back to the oesophagus, creating the heartburn phenomena that even adults and seniors can suffer from it.  

kids in pain
Kids’ heartburn is painful!

Here is where the compounding importance becomes obvious. There is no commercially available medicine that could be given directly to a baby, taking into consideration the needed active ingredients, her/his weight, age, and the method of administration.

In addition, for kids up to four years old having disorders such as epilepsy (seizures), depression (mood destabilization), ADHD medication for 4+ kids), compounded medicine become more of a necessity other than a possibility. The reason is that most of the prescription medication for those disorders is in forms that only suitable for adults such as capsules, and bitter suspensions. Compounding pharmacies can prepare the right dose and active ingredient, and mix it with tasty flavours such as strawberries, bananas, and cotton candy.

A kid will never turn down a gummy with a cotton candy flavour!

Kids’ antibiotics are also a very good candidate to be a compounded medicine. Because the medications of the kids need very fine tuning and incremental adjustment of the antibiotics ingredients.

Seniors

Senior citizens are the crème de la crème of our beautiful Calgary. They make more than 10% of Calgary population, 13% of Alberta population, and around 18% of Canada’s population. In Calgary by 2035, they will constitute one million citizen within the city of Calgary by 2035.

seniors
Seniors may need special care

Most of seniors need special care and have specific health needs and frequent problems when it comes to their medicines and prescriptions. For example, some seniors will have a stomach upset if they took non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Compounding pharmacies have the solution for that stomach problem.

Simply, the compounding pharmacy will prepare an equivalent cream (or topical in pharmaceutical compounding terms) that could be applied to the skin instead of oral administration. This method will keep the stomach happy and intact.

Another important case is drug discontinuation or shortage.

It is normal in the pharmaceutical manufacturing world that the manufacturer would face supply chain issue that could lead to shortage. Also they can face sudden uptick in the demand, which would lead to the same issue of drug unavailability.

Compounding can resolve that problem in several ways.

For instance, the active ingredient of the drug could be available but not the drug form itself. For example, a drug such as Phenazopyridine that is used to treat urinary tract irritation is normally available in the form of pills and also as a powder. Those pills sometimes face manufacturing shortages, which necessitates compounding the powder into capsules that could be dispensed to the patients instead of the short-supplied pills.

Fertility

Fertility also has a huge need for compounding.

Clomid is known for its effect to stimulate ovaries to produce ovules or multiple ovules (for those wishing to get twins!).

For a long time in Canada, Clomid was stopped from being locally produced in Canada (it is produced in USA though). So, the only resort for patients needing the Clomid is to be custom made and compounded in a compounding pharmacy.

Thanks compounding!

– Pregnancy and after giving birth

Some women during pregnancy and after giving birth would need special suppositories composed of a mix of active ingredients to sooth and mitigate hemorrhoids.

pregnant woman
Pregnancy has its challenges

Although some of those active ingredients within the suppositories could be found in commercially available products, the mix and the specific doses of those ingredients are not.

Based on the physician’s prescription, the compounding pharmacy would prepare the suppository and based on continuous feedback between the physician, the patient, the doses and the suppository’s ingredients could be changed and altered.

Pets

Some people don’t know that the diseases experienced by pets such as cats and dogs are considered very similar to human diseases.

For example, dogs can suffer from high blood pressure or liver problems that need to be controlled by a medicine based on veterinary prescription. Since dogs have different breeds, traits, weight and very varying responses to medicines, compounding becomes extremely handy when dealing with sick furry friend.

Your dog may need something special
Your dog may need something special!

It is also unfortunate to know that most of the veterinary medications to deal with high blood pressure of pets are only available in very high doses that could be hard to administer to your pet. And also those commercial medications may even have a bad and unpredictable effect on them.

At Chaparral Pharmacy, we can help you by compounding the right dose of the prescribed high blood pressure medicine for your pet. We also can work with you if your veterinary determined that the dose is too little or a little high and adjust it accordingly.

Taste of the medicine for the pets is also a deal breaker.

The dose of the medicine could be right and the active ingredients are perfect, but simply your dog or cat could totally refuse it because of how it tastes. This can be corrected by adding the preferred flavour of your pet’s food. Be it chicken, meat, or tuna, Chaparral Pharmacy can help with that.

Pets, especially when are old, can experience bad nerve pain. Nerve pain medicines are very critical and need continuous adjustments that can only be provided by compounding.

Also, medicines of psychiatric disorders and diabetes (yes, your pet could have diabetes!) need incremental dose adjustment or it may lead to the opposite effect of hyper activity or inactivity or sudden fall in blood sugar.

Putting the pets’ medicines in the right form could be also vital in medication administration and adherence. Spraying the medications on the food or putting in a suspension can make your pets more accepting to the medication.

Cats can also suffer from thyroid gland malfunction. Sadly, medications for that disorder are not commercially available and if found are extremely hard to administer. Compounding pharmacy can prepare a cream/topical for your cat that contains all the needed ingredients and could be applied (surprisingly!) to the cat’s ears and around them. The most suitable medicine form for cats is creams due to the unrelenting nature of cats and the inability to administer medications to them orally for example.

Frequently Asked Questions: Five patients categories that could benefit from compounding and customized medications

Is pharmaceutical compounding and custom medicines important or needed?

Compounding is needed whenever there are special and specific health needs that cannot be met with existing commercially available products, or if incremental adjustments of the active ingredients are needed.

Who could benefit from compounding?

Different groups of patients could greatly benefit from compounding and custom medicines, especially kids, seniors, pregnancy problems and challenges, and pets.

What forms of compounding could be made available for the patients?

Compounding can take several forms including capsules, creams, suppositories, suspensions, and even gummies (for kids and adults).

Conclusion: Five patients categories that could benefit from compounding and customized medications

Compounding and customized medications are extremely beneficial in several scenarios, especially those involving incremental adjustments of the prescriptions’ active ingredients, changing the form of administration to facilitate medication adherence, shortage of commercially available medicines, and adding flavours.

Using pharmaceutical compounding enables the administration of discontinued medications and can increase drug availability.

Kids, seniors, women, pets, and many categories of patients could use compounding to optimize doses and form of administration and to avoid situation such as bitter tastes, and harm caused by a specific form of drug administration as in many cases of senior patients.

What do you think about compounding and custom medicines? Do you feel that you (your family or your pet) may need a compound? Give us a call at Chaparral Pharmacy – Remedy’sRx at 403-475-5544 to discuss more.

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