Compounding and Pain Medications 101

by myMatrixx

Millions of individuals in the United States suffer from unique healthcare needs that cannot be treated by off-the-shelf prescription medication. What happens when traditional medications are not available especially when dealing with opioids and pain medications? Check out this overview on compounding pharmacy and how it can benefit pain management.

The United States Supreme Court, Congress, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all recognize the value of compounding pharmacy, regarding it as an integral part of contemporary pharmacy practices. Compound pharmacy refers to the creation or mixing of personalized medical solutions for patients whose health care needs are not met by manufactured prescription medications. A pharmacist creates these customized prescriptions by working with local physicians and nurse practitioners.

Various groups of patients may benefit from the use of compounding pharmacy, such as geriatric patients, patients with cancer, and those patients who cannot swallow pills or must avoid certain ingredients such as gluten. Compounding is also extremely important when weaning patients from opioids. According to Phil Walls, R.Ph., Chief Clinical & Compliance Officer at myMatrixx, “opioid weaning is recognized as a difficult process influenced by concerns of physical and psychological complications.” Current guidelines recommend slow, gradual weaning of opioids however the feasibility of conducting a slow weaning is limited by the commercially available doses of opioids.

“This is where compounding can provide the exact and constant rate of de-escalation recommended by current practice guidelines,” added Walls. Compounding gives the patient the consistency of taking the same amount of medication at the same time every day until the strength of each individual dose is reduced to zero. For patients that have been taking opioids chronically for several years, this slow consistent routine may give the patient the best opportunity for beating dependence and regaining a homeostasis that has been disrupted by long-term exposure to opioids .

Compounding is also used with topical pain gels which are formulated to contain a combination of ingredients to target various etiologies of pain. Examples include Anti-inflammatory, Skeletal Muscle Relaxant and Neuropathic Pain Gels. Walls commented, “The therapeutic advantage to compounded topical pain gels is reduced systemic side-effects.” Oral drug side-effects can range from bothersome sedation which can contribute to decreased function to medically serious events such as NSAID-induced gastric ulcers.

Compounding is also a cost-effective way to treat patients on an individual basis targeting specific symptoms. Medications can be reformulated based on patient response with limited change to the cost and preparation requirements.

The Pharmacists and staff at Matrix Pharmacy have over 50 years of combined experience in helping patients in pain. We recognize that every patient is an individual and may respond differently to pain medication. We are here to help whether your needs require a compounding pharmacy or off-the-shelf prescription medication. Contact our dedicated team today for more information on our pharmacy and compounding services.