Balancing Western Medicine and Alternative Methods

Chronic Pain Relief: How Compound Pharmacies Can Help

Chronic pain is a serious health issue in Australia. Around 20 percent of the Australian population suffers with chronic pain that is severe enough to cause a disability. As well as the significant economic cost of chronic pain management, these symptoms can make daily life difficult for sufferers. Compounding pharmacies offer a new approach to chronic pain relief management that can help many Australians. Learn how compounding pharmacies work, and find out why their products can sometimes more effectively manage chronic pain.

Prescription medicines for chronic pain

Australian doctors prescribe a lot of prescription painkillers, and prescription rates for some drugs have increased significantly. For example, opioid prescriptions increased by 20.1 percent in just one year, and morphine prescription rates increased by 89 percent between 1995 and 2003.

Prescription painkillers can often help ease chronic pain symptoms, but these drugs often bring new complications. Many people suffer unwanted side effects from these drugs that can include nausea, vomiting and constipation. Many of these medications are also highly addictive.

How compounding pharmacies work

Compounding pharmacies take prescription medications and create personalised medications for people with many underlying health problems. In fact, this is not a new concept. Before the 1950s, pharmacists nearly always compounded medicines, but mass production quickly pushed this type of drug management into decline.

New technology and techniques now mean that compounding pharmacies are increasingly popular. Trained compounding pharmacists can tailor medications in a way that makes the finished product easier to use and more effective. 

Benefits of compound pharmacies for chronic pain relief

Compounding pharmacies can create pain relief solutions that are more effective than standard prescription medications.

Many people suffer chronic pain in a certain part of the body. Tablets are often less effective for these people because the medication does not target the worst affected areas. A compounding pharmacist can create a liquid or gel that you apply topically to the area. The active drug can then often target the pain symptoms more effectively.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are also common side effects for people who take chronic pain medication. Sadly, some people simply put up with upset stomachs and nausea because standard medications help them cope with pain symptoms.

Compound pharmacists can create customised solutions to help these people. For example, liquids and pastes are often kinder to the digestive system than tablets. Compound pharmacists can also develop troches, which are small lozenges you allow to dissolve in your mouth. You may even benefit from a suppository that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract entirely.

Some pain relief medications aren't available in a dosage strength that meets your needs. For example, patients with a heavier build may need a stronger dosage of medication to combat serious pain symptoms. A compounding pharmacist can customize the dosage to the exact strength you need.

Getting access to compounded pharmaceuticals

If you think you could benefit from compounded drugs, you should discuss the idea with your doctor. Compounding pharmacists do not work in isolation, and a trained pharmacist must still work with a prescriber (your doctor) to personalise your medications.

You can also expect a compounding pharmacist to dispense medications in lower quantities than a traditional chemist. Some personalised medications have a shorter shelf life, so large quantities can become wasteful. As such, you should also store all compounded medications as directed. For example, some gels or liquids may need to stay in the fridge.

Ongoing dialogue is also important. You may need to try different solutions before you find the ideal compounded medication. Make sure you continue to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

People with chronic pain must often take several prescription medications, some of which can cause side effects. Compounding pharmacies like Keilor Village Pharmacy can help patients better manage their symptoms.