Taking Care of Your Heart

heart-health-monthThe “ticker” is the one muscle in the human body that none of us can afford to ignore. More so than any other organ human’s possess, the heart and its health are the most closely monitored, and for good reason. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one in every four deaths, and is the number one killer of American men and women. So it is easily understandable why February is declared American Heart Month.

While it may seem obvious, it is important to understand just how crucial the heart is to our overall health. The heart itself is a muscular organ which, when stimulated by electrical impulses, expands and contracts to pump blood to the entire body.  This muscular activity is the “heartbeat” we so commonly refer to.  When beating, the heart first pumps blood to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen.  It then pumps this oxygenated blood out to all of the tissues in the body.  If the heart is malfunctioning, all the systems and tissues of the body become depleted of oxygen and become impaired.

Heart disease tends to be a fairly encompassing term with many different issues falling under its umbrella. Most of the complications caused by heart disease are a result of atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the blood vessels caused by plaque buildup.  This narrowing restricts blood flow through the vessel and can lead to issues such as stroke or heart attack.  In addition, heart disease can refer to heart failure (a decrease in the heart’s pumping efficiency), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), or heart valve malfunctions.

While many factors can increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and smoking are, by far, the main culprits. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of these three factors, and a large percentage are afflicted with two or more.  Also contributing are diabetes, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Preventing Heart Disease

The good news is, there are many steps that can be taken to prevent heart disease, as well as correct and improve existing conditions. As is the case with nearly all disease states, the best weapons available to fight cardiovascular disease are healthy diet and exercise.  Exercise can serve to make your heart stronger and more efficient, lower your blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, and decrease your weight.  Likewise, eating a well-rounded, healthy diet can control weight as well as provide your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your heart at its peak operating efficiency.

Sometimes though, diet and exercise are not enough. For a variety of reasons such as genetic predispositions, issues like high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure can prove to be stubborn, and we need some outside help.

This is where both prescription drugs, and over the counter supplements can provide support. On the prescription front, there are many different options to choose from.  Generally, prescription drugs help to manage the risk factors associated with heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Doctors may prescribe from an army of agents in these areas, each working in different manners and mechanisms with the goal of reducing your risk of complications such as stroke and heart attack.  Additionally, your doctor may prescribe drugs that help to control and improve the efficiency of the heart’s pumping functions.

A Natural Approach to Heart Health

Many people however, choose to avoid prescription medication, if possible, and attempt to tackle cardiovascular issues with a more natural approach through nutritional supplementation. Individual circumstance and severity of disease state varies from person to person. However, in many cases, when paired with a healthy diet and exercise, this “natural” approach may prove to be an effective one. Much like prescription drugs, there exist a large number of nutritional options, each addressing different complications of heart disease.

When aiming to target high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, heart healthy omega supplements, as well as those containing red yeast rice are common. Today’s popular statin drugs were actually modeled from red yeast rice, and it, like statins, works to lower your body’s production of LDL. Omega supplements serve a dual purpose in both lowering triglyceride levels, as well as potentially reducing inflammation caused by plaque buildup in the arteries.

Being some of the most commonly used over the counter supplements, it is essential to note that not all omega products are equal in quality or effectiveness. Often derived from seafood sources, thus giving them the common name “fish oil”, each individual omega product contains different levels of the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which give the fish oil its beneficial effect.  Consumers must be vigilant in reading the label of the product closely, as many omega supplements may list a larger dosage of “fish oil” on the label, but in fact, the active omega-3’s (EPA and DHA) are minimal, and the bulk of the listed dosage consists of inactive omega-3’s poorly utilized by the body.  The typical target dosage for EPA and DHA combined, in those patients with high cholesterol, is 1,500mg to 3,000mg.

Beyond the cholesterol arena, other supplements exist to help support a healthy blood pressure level. For instance, arginine is an amino acid, that when taken as a supplement, can help promote relaxation of the blood vessels.  This relaxation, or vasodilation, helps to ease the flow of blood through the vessels and thus lower the pressure exerted on them.

Finally, other supplements serve to promote overall health of the heart. Coenzyme-Q10 is a powerful antioxidant in the body that plays a role in energy production. This may help to enhance the function and health of the heart muscle.  Additionally, Co-Q10 is commonly given to patients on statin therapy, as these drugs deplete our body’s natural stores of Co-Q10.  This depletion may lead to complications, such as muscle pain and fatigue, regularly associated with this family of drugs.  Supplementing with Co-Q10 while taking a statin may help to limit these complications.

It is important to remember when buying any supplement to consult a health care professional well trained and familiar in their usage. The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills specializes in providing these products, and ensuring their quality and safety.

Proper heart health is as essential to your overall well-being as any other aspect of your life. Be sure to take the time this month to pay attention to your “ticker”, it might just save your life. Contact The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills to see how we can assist you in maintaining a healthy heart.

How Sports Medicine Compounding Helps Athletes Heal Faster

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Athletes need to find medications that will provide effective treatment so that sports injuries will heal quickly. If you are training at a competitive level or following a regular training schedule, you don’t want to be out of commission for very long. You want to deal with the problem appropriately and safely and treat your injury in a safe and effective way that will prevent any further physical damage.

Sports medicine compounding from The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills is the best way to deal with your injuries and get you back on the field, court or track quickly.

What Is Pharmacy Compounding?

Pharmacy compounding is considered part art and part science. Compounding pharmacists prepare customized medications for patients who need something other than standard formulations, dosages or ingredients. Medications can be prepared to meet their specific needs.

Custom Formulations Available

A compounding pharmacist, like ours here at The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills can prepare a special formulation to treat blisters or calluses or make a custom formulation to treat athlete’s foot or other anti-fungal conditions. Rather than taking several drugs following an injury, a compounding pharmacist can combine more than one medication into a single dose.

Dosages Can Be Adjusted According To Metabolism And Weight

Athletes are particular about their diet, which causes them to carry more muscle and less fat than the average person. As a result, they burn calories at a different rate than a more sedentary person. Our compounding pharmacists take these factors into consideration when preparing medications for higher level athletes, to influence a faster and more effective healing.

Delivery System For Medications Can Be Altered

Compounded medications are available in a number formulations. Tablets and capsules must pass through the digestive tract before they make their way into your system and can start to work. If you are taking an anti-inflammatory or a muscle relaxant, you run the risk of experiencing stomach upset or other issues. Our compounding pharmacists can provide you with a transdermal pain cream for sports injuries that can be applied directly to the area. You can get the relief you need quickly, with fewer side effects.

Would you like to learn more about compounding your sports medicine at The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills? Contact us today to find out how we can work with your doctor to find the right solution for your needs.

Anti-Aging Compounding

Quick-Antiaging-FixesRecently there has been an increased interest in compounded anti-aging medications including topical medications, hormone replacement therapies and more. Compounding pharmacies such as The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills can create customized anti-aging medications in a wide range of different delivery formats including creams, gels, lotions, balms, ointments and more. Topical anti-aging medications can improve skin health, restoring it to a more youthful appearance and hormones can restore decreased crucial hormone levels.

Compounded topical medications can be used to treat a wide range of different skin conditions and reduce the effects of aging on the skin that most people are familiar with: wrinkles, lines, a loss of elasticity, and spots. Compounded anti-aging medications and topical treatments are usually far more effective at treating aging effects compared to commercial medications because they are customized based on the patient’s needs, and dosage levels are carefully selected.

Benefits of compounded anti-aging medications

Customized anti-aging medications are designed specifically for the individual patient, and the delivery method is also customized based on the patient’s preferences. The dosage of the anti-aging prescriptions is carefully selected by a medical practitioner. Through various types of diagnostic testing the proper anti-aging medication dosage can be determined and then custom created at a compounding pharmacy.

In the majority of cases the compounded anti-aging treatment will work far better than a commercial treatment, and patients will often prefer compounded treatments instead of commercial prescriptions because of their effectiveness. Anti-aging medications can be created to treat several different aging effects, and the benefit of using a compounding pharmancy is that the medication can be adjusted as the patient’s needs change over time.

Skin conditions that compounded anti-aging medications can treat

The environment, sun and wind damage, pollution, soaps and chemicals, stress, and poor nutrition can cause skin problems as a person ages, and every individual’s skin ages differently. Some people have fewer aging effects on their skin as they get older, and other people have more. Many of the forces that affect skin over time cannot be easily controlled such as sun damage or pollution, but there are ways to reverse this type of skin damage with compounded anti-aging skin treatments.

Anti-aging creams and other anti-aging medications for skin can be created at compounding pharmacies with specific ingredients that are carefully selected by a medical professional to not cause any additional skin irritation or allergies while treating the causes of aging.

Compounded anti-aging medications can treat a wide range of aging effects including: irritation, rashes, age spots, blemishes, inflammation, dry skin and more. Anti-aging creams may contain vitamin E, B vitamins and other vitamins and minerals, as well as active ingredients that immediately improve skin quality such as retinoic acid. Each anti-aging cream can be customized with ingredients for the particular individual.

The concentrations of the ingredients can also be carefully controlled, which is important because many commercial products have lower concentrations of active and inactive ingredients, making them less effective. A properly prepared compounded anti-aging cream will almost always perform better than commercial products, and it will have a better result on patient’s skin because it is custom designed specifically for them. Side effects if any will also be minimal compared to commercial preparations that may have ingredients that cause irritation.

Almost everyone can benefit from anti-aging medications at some point

At some point everyone will experience the effects of aging on their skin and body, and compounded anti-aging treatments offer the most innovative and modern way of treating aging effects. Compounded anti-aging treatments can help restore normal hormone levels that begin to decline for both men and women when they reach their late 30s and 40s.

Men begin to experience testosterone declines as early as age 30, and women experience progesterone declines in their late 30s to early 40s. Both men and women can utilize compounded hormone treatments to reduce the impact of hormone losses and maintain a youthful body.

Many of the effects of aging cannot be prevented, for instance the damage that the sun and pollution causes to the skin is just one aging effect that will occur over time for almost everyone. Anti-aging skin treatments can utilize many different nutrients including CoQ-10, green tea extract, and other nutrients reduce the impact of skin damage over time.

Bleaching creams can be prepared using active ingredients such as hydroquinone, steroids or retinoic acid which can reduce hyper-pigmentation. A major benefit of using a compounding pharmacy is that the percentages of each active ingredient can be controlled based on the patient’s needs. Using a compounding pharmacy is simply the best way to guarantee that a skin care treatment is perfectly designed for an individual because every person’s skin is unique.

Anti-aging checkups can determine what anti-aging treatments are needed

An anti-aging checkup from an experienced and licensed medical practitioner can help a person determine which specific anti-aging treatments and medications that they may benefit from. Typically a full evaluation will be done of the patient’s current health status, and tests can verify if they have allergies, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, or other health problems that may be causing aging effects.

After the checkup, the medical provider can create a customized treatment program that will help the patient restore the hormone levels and cellular environment closer to what it was in their late 20s. A compounding pharmacy such as The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills can create the medications used for a person’s anti-aging treatment program on a regular basis, and the cost will usually be around the same as equivalent commercial preparations.

Those who are interested in anti-aging compounded medications and treatments should speak to a medical professional that has experience with prescribing compounded treatments and can offer a diagnosis. The benefits of compounded anti-aging medications can be tremendous and life changing for those who suffer from some of the more significant effects of aging, particularly the effects of hormone losses.

Energy levels can improve dramatically, nutritional deficiencies can be corrected, and youthful hormone levels can be maintained. When properly executed, anti-aging treatment programs are an effective way to reduce susceptibility to many of the effects of aging, but treatments can only be administered by licensed medical professionals, and the compounded medications should be created at a qualified sterile pharmacy by licensed pharmacists.

The licensed pharmacists at The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills can create customized compounded medications for any anti-aging treatment. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in with your anti-aging treatments.

Myths About Compounding

In our humble opinion, compounded medication is the best form of medication available. Unlike standard prescriptions, compounded medication is prepared specifically for each individual patient. Rather than taking medication that works for “most people,” our patients can be confident that their medication caters specifically to their unique needs. Despite its remarkable advantages, however, compounding medication at The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills is still sometimes misunderstood. This week, we want to help dispel some of the common myths surrounding our unique trade.

Myth #1: Compounded Medication Is A Form Of Alternative Medicine

The idea of straying from standardized prescriptions can be unnerving for some, but we want to stress that compounded medication is not a form of “voodoo” or “alternative” medicine. Compounded medication is safe, trustworthy medication just like the prescriptions you are used to taking – except it’s even better, because it’s designed to meet your unique needs.

Myth #2: Compounded Medication Is Not Governed By The Same Types Of Regulations As Other Medication
This myth could not be further from the truth. Compounding pharmacies must meet the strict standards by their boards of pharmacies. Our pharmacy undergoes routine inspections just like every other pharmacy, and we must follow the same types of regulations and standards.

Myth #3: Compounded Medication Does Not Require A Prescription

We have the capability to compound medication for most situations, but we are not authorized to do so without an official prescription from the doctor. Before we can compound your medication, you will need to get a prescription from your doctor. We are honored to have great relationships with most of the doctors in our surrounding area.

Myth #4: Compounded Medication Poses Greater Risks To Patients
Not only does compounded medication not pose greater risks than standardized medication – it is actually safer in many situations. Because compounded medication is customized to meet each patient’s unique needs, it typically has better results and fewer side effects than standardized medication doses. You don’t have to take it from us, however! Our client testimonials speak for themselves.

Learn More About Compounded Medication At The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills!
We are firm believers in the healing power of compounded medication and we are proud to be the exclusive Beverly Hills pharmacy that focuses entirely on compounded medication. We also offer a wide variety of vitamin supplements, each designed to promote your well-rounded holistic health. Visit our website to learn more about compounded medication, or call us directly at 310-284-8675.

Compounding Topical Pain Relief

cpbhtopicalWhen you have a headache, toothache, or muscle pain, your first instinct is to reach for a pill. While oral medications can be useful, they do have some distinct disadvantages. For example, many pain pills carry some risk of dependency, and oral anti-inflammatory medications can have harmful side effects with long-term usage.

How well do oral medications perform? Recent studies suggest these pills work well for only a small number of people. Additionally, research suggests that relief lasts only a short while – despite what doctors, pharmacists, and advertisements might claim.

Alternatives To Oral Pain Medications

However, several alternatives are available to help the weekend warrior with after-workout muscle aches. There are also alternatives for people with chronic pain conditions, including osteoarthritis. These include medications in creams, lotions, sticks, patches, and foams that The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills can customize for each patient.

We offer a number of topical analgesics and can make analgesics taking the patient’s body weight, allergic reactions to certain ingredients, and other needs into account to give each patient medication optimized for his or her particular condition.

The Difference Between Oral And Topical Medications

The biggest difference between pills and topical pain relievers is the side effect profile. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, and over-the-counter pain relievers (like acetaminophen) have been available for decades, and each has particular side effects – including nausea, heart attack, sudden bleeds, and strokes from anti-inflammatories and liver problems from acetaminophen.

In contrast, current research suggests that topical pain relievers work for most people, including those with chronic pain, and have fewer side effects when used properly. Topical pain relievers take effect more quickly than oral meds do, and some research suggests that they have a longer-lasting effect than oral medications do.

OTC Topical Pain Relievers

There are fewer filler ingredients in topical analgesics than there are in oral meds; topicals have little need for fillers. The ingredients in many topicals are familiar to people – wintergreen, peppermint, capsaicin (derived from chili peppers), and camphor.

If you get some relief from sore muscles or arthritis pain with an ice pack, you could use a topical that contains menthol or oil of wintergreen; if you respond well to hot packs for your pain, you could use a topical containing capsaicin. Topical medications allow you to target the area that is causing the pain directly, and targeting the area can help you heal more quickly.

Prescription Topical Pain Relievers

If you need a prescription topical medication instead of something over the counter, your physician can prescribe a number of topicals in the potency that’s perfect for your size and condition; Voltaren is an anti-inflammatory that works well for arthritis patients, for instance. Lidocaine is an anesthetic prescribed for its ability to numb an area as well as to calm anti-arrhythmic hearts. Lidocaine combined with hydrocortisone is useful for skin conditions like eczema as well as burns and scrapes.

A particular benefit of topicals is that you can tell right away if one works for you; if it doesn’t help, you can easily try one that offers a different sensation.

Do Topical Relievers Help Chronic Pain?

Yes. Doctors recommend prescription topical pain relievers every day, and The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills provides customized relievers to many clients. Most prescription topical pain relievers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These include Voltaren, which comes in creams and gels, and Flector, which is a patch.

Evidence suggests that topical pain relievers are safer than NSAID oral medications because topical pain relievers don’t travel to the bloodstream before they get to the area that needs relief; rather, they’re absorbed directly through the skin over the area of pain. This means that there’s less risk of heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding, and clotting than with oral meds. For people with chronic pain, reducing these risks is important because they use the medications for such an extended time.

The Best Uses For Topical Pain Relievers

If you’ve never used a topical pain reliever, try one for a minor muscle injury. Use it in conjunction with the RICE formula – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Ice the injured muscle four times a day for one to three days, 10 to 15 minutes each time. Using heat within 48 hours of an injury can bring more blood to the area and inflame it more. Keep the area bandaged, and elevate it above your heart if possible.

Any swelling should be gone within 48 hours. At this point, you can switch to heat if that feels better. Use a capsaicin-based topical pain reliever, warm compresses, or a hot water bottle. Heat improves blood flow to the injured muscle, helping it heal more quickly. Additionally, heat removes old blood from the muscle, lessening your risk of clots and bleeding episodes.

Topical relief is for more than muscle pain, however. People have been treating chronic headaches with peppermint oil, ginger root, and cayenne pepper for hundreds of years. You can use these ingredients as drops or in compresses applied directly to the area of your headache. Some people place topical drops in their nasal passages; when applied correctly, the drops help not only with headaches, but also with sinus pain and pressure.

OTC Meds Are Not Right For Everyone

While over-the-counter topicals are helpful for many situations, they aren’t right for all situations or all patients. Please contact your doctor for pain that is severe or long-lasting (more than six weeks) or pain that is accompanied by other symptoms, including fever, nausea, and numbness.

You can also ask your doctor or a pharmacist at The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills for recommendations for using topical medications for stomachaches, dental problems, and aches from the flu.

What Are There Risks Of Topical Pain Medications?

While topicals are safer than pills, their use does come with some risks. Carefully read labels before using any topical pain reliever. Do not leave them on your body too long or use them too often; your doctor or pharmacist can tell you how much is too much.

When using a patch, cream, or roll-on, be cognizant of your skin’s reaction. If your skin burns or itches, stop using the topical pain reliever immediately. Don’t use a topical pain reliever on an open wound. Don’t overuse a topical pain reliever – more isn’t always better. Overuse increases your risk of skin reactions, including chemical burns.

Don’t use topical pain relievers if you have sensitive skin. Pregnant women, infants, children, and the elderly shouldn’t use topical pain relievers.

At The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills, we make topical pain relievers using specific formulas to meet individual needs.  Our options include gels, creams, sprays and nasal sprays, suppositories, and custom-flavored troches. We’ll gladly answer any questions or concerns you have. Contact us anytime for a consultation. We’ll find the perfect pain relief conduit and formula for you.