Transdermal Treatment of Pain and the Need for Individualized Pain Management

By Monica Zatarski, PharmD, RPh

Pain is one of the most common reasons people consult a physician, yet it frequently is inadequately treated, leading to enormous social cost in the form of lost productivity, needless suffering and excessive health care costs. Approximately 10-20 percent of the adult population is afflicted with pain. Although the number of treatment options for pain conditions has expanded, many patients continue to experience inadequate pain relief and/or intolerable adverse effects. Pain control is essential, because uncontrolled pain prevents patients from working productively, enjoying recreation or taking pleasure in their usual roles in the family and society. Chronic pain may be much more difficult to manage than acute pain, requiring a multidisciplinary approach and customized treatment protocols to meet the specific needs of each patient. Transdermal agents are providing to be both safe and effective in reducing pain and improving function in patients with a variety of pain states. An experienced compounding pharmacist is capable of formulating pain gels, which are customized specific to the unique pain symptoms of each individual. A pain gel may contain a combination of medications designed to relieve pain from several different angles and act synergistically. Transdermal administration of pain medications offers the advantage of local, enhanced drug delivery to affected tissues with a reduced incidence of systemic adverse effects (i.e., drowsiness, stomach upset, GI damage constipation) and drug-drug interactions. In addition, transdermal medications are a very useful option when patients are unable to take medication orally, and this route of administration can often eliminate the need for injectable therapy. Transdermal administration avoids passing through the liver and is an excellent option in patients with altered liver function.

The special base of the pain gel is of paramount importance in order to help drive the pain relieving medications through the skin into the site of action. It is essential for the patient and their physician to work closely with an experienced compounding pharmacist in order to select the best base and combination of active ingredients essential for alleviating an individual's pain. Proper preparation of transdermal medications requires the use of chemicals and equipment that are not available in most pharmacies. The compounding professionals at MD Custom Rx can compound topical or transdermal preparations that contain a combination of medications to individualize therapy to meet the specific needs of each patient. Prescription compounding combines an ageless art with the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art technology in order to help the physician and their patient solve medication problems that aren't being properly addressed through commercially available products.

Please call MD Custom Rx 262.373.1050 for more information on specialized medications preparation services.