Benefits of Compounded Hormones

compounded hormones

Compounded hormone therapy can provide individualized treatment for patients experiencing symptoms of menopause. In fact, organizations such as the North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and The Endocrine Society say that almost all healthy women who are recently experiencing menopause can use hormone therapy for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other menopausal symptoms if they desire.

Hormone replacement therapy is an important part of managing symptoms commonly experienced by menopausal women. Our compounding pharmacists can create bioidentical hormones, which are very similar to the hormones produced by the human body.

Doctors prescribe various hormones to manage menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal dryness, dry skin, headaches, irritability and mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, and decreased sex drive. Doctors used to prescribe one-size-fits-all medications from traditional pharmacies for the symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, this approach did not work for many women.

Compounded Hormones for Menopausal Symptoms

Menopausal symptoms and their severity can vary greatly between women. Side effects, co-existing conditions, and expectations of treatments can also vary. One woman might have trouble using vaginal creams, for example, while another patient may need to avoid a treatment that raises the risk of side effects. To provide all patients with effective therapies, prescribers must personalize hormone combinations and delivery methods according to each patient’s symptoms, risk of adverse effects, and other patient-specific factors. Compounding services help patients and prescribers choose the right products and formulations for maximum treatment outcomes.

Compounded drugs include two or more medications in personalized doses. Compounding pharmacies create compounded hormones and therapies by combining, mixing, and altering ingredients to meet the needs of individual patients. A compounding pharmacist can also create a compounded bioidentical hormone for a specific patient.

Influenced by outdated information, some physicians were once reluctant to suggest compounded hormone therapy from a compounding pharmacy. Others worried that, because it would take too long to approve every formula available in a compounded formula, compounds are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or are used off-label. Due to recent research, however, many more medical professionals are moving away from conventional hormone therapy and acknowledging the benefits of compounded drugs for hormone therapy.

It is important to note that many clinicians prescribe FDA-approved products “off-label,” which means they prescribe an approved to treat condition for which the FDA has not yet evaluated. The FDA itself says, “From the FDA perspective, once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers generally may prescribe the drug for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient.”

Compounded hormone therapy is now a well-established approach and is becoming commonplace. People who develop skin reactions to commercial patches may benefit from a compounded topical cream or gel, for example, or they may require a preparation in a strength, base or combination that is not available from a traditional pharmacy.

Compounded hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is personalized so that the doses and ingredients match each patient’s individual needs. Compounded drugs fill a need, as do other therapies that do not involve FDA approval.

About Compounded Hormones and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers – they tell body cells and tissues to act a certain way. Estrogen is a female hormone that controls the development and maintenance of female characteristics.

Three major forms of estrogen circulate in a woman’s body: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Known as the “estrogen of youth” because it is abundant in females in their teens and 20, estradiol is the strongest form of estrogen. Estrone is the main form of estrogen produced after menopause. It is derived from and functions like estradiol, but weakly. Estriol is the least active form of estrogen, but it helps relieve vaginal symptoms, such as painful intercourse, and vaginal dryness and thinning. It also helps reduce urinary incontinence.

The female body also produces progesterone. Produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month, this hormone helps thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for a fertilized egg.

Hormone levels change as the body ages. Changes in hormone levels cause imbalances and symptoms. Low levels of estrogen can cause menopause symptoms. High estrogen levels can increase the risk of certain health conditions, including the development of breast cancer or uterine cancer. Specifically, high levels of estrone and estradiol can increase activity in breast and uterine tissue, and therefore increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. Estriol, however, is less active in these tissues and can, therefore, help protect against cancer.

Compounded formulations of bioidentical hormone therapy can help restore hormone levels and alleviate symptoms. Low doses of vaginal estrogen can treat vaginal dryness, for example. Hot flashes generally require higher doses of estrogen, which impart an effect on the entire body. Women who still have a uterus must take progesterone or a similar product to prevent cancer of the uterus. Those who have had their uterus removed can take estrogen alone.

Compounding Pharmacies Offer Hormone Therapy in a Variety of Formulas

Doctors typically treat vaginal dryness with vaginal creams containing estriol, estradiol or testosterone. Many patients dislike vaginal creams, however, as these creams can feel messy and unclean. In the early days of HRT, the alternative dosage forms were limited to vaginal suppositories, troches, or capsules. While each dosage form has its own benefits and disadvantages, many patients appreciate having a choice.

Many doctors prescribe compounded testosterone gels or creams to treat a variety of androgen-deficiency symptoms in post-menopausal women, as there are no commercial products currently available for females. Because of poor adherence or poor absorption into the body, many women do not achieve the full benefit of topical testosterone. These patients may benefit from using sublingual testosterone, which is easy to use because it is placed under the tongue so the body can readily absorb it.

A recent study of postmenopausal women showed that those who used estrogen tablets instead of creams or gels had higher medication compliance, which means they were more likely to use estrogen tables as directed. Compounding pharmacists can make a compounded medication in different formulas according to a patient’s individual needs.

A compounding pharmacy can also combine medications to improve symptoms associated with menopause or other conditions. Formulas containing vasodilators opens up blood vessels and improves blood flow, for example, which helps postmenopausal women have a satisfying sexual experience.

Many patients and prescribers are looking for affordable and customizable options for hormone replacement therapy. Our compounding pharmacists work directly with your prescriber to create customized medications that contain one or more active ingredients in a variety of different dosage forms to meet your needs. To learn more about our compounded hormones and other compounding solutions, contact our pharmacy today!

 

 

 

Sourced by Pavillion Compounding

Wear a Mask! Ok, But What Kind?

how-to-sew-a-face-mask

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends every American wear a face mask while in public to protect against spreading coronavirus, a recommendation that was quickly seconded by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The CDC announced that non-medical fabric masks — even scarves or bandanas — could help slow the spread of the infection. State health officials earlier in the week made the same recommendation.

The ever-evolving response to the coronavirus pandemic has amped up the need for keeping everyone safe from the virus.

That means wearing masks.

What is the purpose of a face mask?

It depends on who is wearing it.

Humans have long covered their faces to ward off disease, and medical masks have a long and colorful history .

For most of the public and some healthcare workers, “the main purpose of a mask is not to protect yourself from others, but to protect others from you,” said Bill Padula, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy.

Padula, who studies patient and worker safety in hospitals, said medical masks are designed to protect the wearer from contact with an infected patient.

“It isn’t simply thinking about what I have to do for this patient sitting in front of me, but ‘How do I treat this patient, with respect to the next 10 patients who walk into this clinic?’” he said.

In its new guidelines set Friday, the CDC said studies have shown that “a significant portion” of people with the virus have no symptoms and can still spread the virus. “In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

Which masks are in short supply?

The highly-contagious coronavirus requires doctors, nurses and other clinicians to take extra precautions when treating patients. With more than 1 million people worldwide infected, there is a critical shortage of N95 masks and surgical masks — the types worn by healthcare providers.

The N95 respirator mask is a polymer cup designed to fit snugly to the face to form a seal, and filters out nearly 95 percent of airborne particles. The federal government suggests they not be reused or shared.

In contrast, surgical masks are made with multi-layered fabric, commonly pleated, with bands that hook over ears, and are worn loosely. They are designed to provide a physical barrier that prevents the spread of germs from person to person.

They also are not intended to be used more than once.

But in both cases, hospital officials in hard-hit cities such as New York have rationed the masks and are washing and reusing them.

The situation is made worse by the fact that about half of the world’s supply of medical masks is manufactured in China, with many of the factories located in Wuhan, thought to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

What about other types of masks, will they work?

In many fire-prone communities around California, homeowners and local community emergency agencies maintain stocks of masks intended to protect the wearer from wildfire smoke.

Some of these are known as P95 masks, often recommended by fire officials for use by residents during wildfires. The masks — sometimes referred to as dust masks — are fitted with a small carbon filter, designed to protect against oil-based particles.

They work well in many applications, but are not considered medical-grade masks and are “not commensurate with current U.S. standards of care,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal guidelines go on to say, however, that P95 masks, alone or in combination with other measures, are acceptable when there are shortages of N95 respirators.

“These devices are expected to be suitable alternatives to provide protection during the COVID-19 response when supplies are short,” the CDC guidelines say.

The guidelines do not say why P95 masks, which block the same percentage of particles as the others, do not meet federal standards for health care workers. It is likely that they have not been fully studied to ensure that their filtration ability, seal and other factors meet the needs of hospitals, since they were not designed for that use.

Ok, what are the rest of us supposed to do?

Before this week, officials downplayed the need for most people to wear masks when they are out in public, provided they practice appropriate physical distancing. Then, as it became more clear that there are unknown numbers of asymptomatic people officials are now urging everyone to use face coverings, as well as remain at least 6 feet apart.

There is a wide variety and many gradations of face masks anyone can use, including rudimentary paper dust masks, often used for home DIY projects. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, said that for most people, a homemade mask using tightly woven cotton fabric, a bandanna or scarf affords sufficient protection.

“There really is no need for anyone in the public to go and secure N95 masks, I beg you not to,” she said.  “They are needed by medical workers or health care workers.”

 

 

 

 

Sourced by NCJ/ Julie Cart

Tips to Strengthen and Support Your Immune System

happy family jumping together on the beachAs you know, frequent hand washing and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze are recommended to reduce your chances of getting sick. But what about taking preventative measures to prepare our bodies’ natural defense system to combat viruses? Although there is no sure-fire way to avoid catching a cold or the flu, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of these illnesses.

Our immune system is a powerful complex network of cells that acts as our defense against foreign invaders. However, at times of high stress, our immunity can get compromised and may need an extra boost. We’ve rounded up some of our key tips on how to help prevent illness and support your immune system.

1. NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

Eating a balanced diet with whole foods is the best way to ensure you are meeting your daily recommended vitamin and mineral requirements. But in reality, many of us are not meeting these requirements through diet alone. An effective measure we can take is to incorporate supplements into our diet (in addition to our nutritional intake from food), especially during the cold and flu season.

Here are some recommended supplements that have protective properties against viruses.

* Before taking supplements, please speak with one of our friendly pharmacists to ensure the product is suitable for you, as there can be potential drug interactions.*

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is crucial for the development and repair of our bodies’ tissues. It plays a function in the absorption of other vitamins and minerals like iron, improves wound healing, and helps to maintain cartilage and bones. Vitamin C can be found in sweet bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, and cruciferous vegetables. The majority of evidence shows that taking high doses of vitamin C orally might decrease the duration of cold symptoms by 1 to 1.5 days in some patients.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is required for many essential physiological functions, and acts by regulating the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the body, which is crucial for bone and skin health. Vitamin D is found in foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and white beans. Studies support the use of vitamin D in reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections, especially in children. There is some conflicting evidence to suggest the ideal dose, but increasing your daily vitamin D dose during the winter months is recommended.

Ginseng

Ginseng is an herb plant grown in the Asian continent. It can help to improve cognitive function, physical stamina, stress management, fatigue, and is also used in other types of herbal medicines. Studies show that ginseng has immune-modulating properties, which help to protect against infections of pathogenic viruses. There is clinical evidence to suggest that taking a ginseng supplement or extract can decrease your risk of catching the flu or common cold.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid, found in plant foods like red onions, grapes, berries, and apples. It has antioxidant properties, can reduce inflammation and ease allergy symptoms. It’s also being studied for its potential antiviral effects.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that supports our bodies’ immune system and metabolic function. Zinc is naturally present in foods like oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and legumes but it’s also a commonly added ingredient to cold and flu medications. Overall, studies have shown zinc products may be beneficial for modestly reducing the duration of symptoms of the common cold in adults.

2. SLEEP

Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system, but can often be neglected. The average person needs approximately 6-8 hours of sleep each night but many people around the world aren’t even getting that amount.

When our brain is at rest, sleep aids in the disposal of harmful toxins, cell regeneration, brain regeneration, hormone balancing, memory function, and wound healing.

Lack of sleep can lead to a compromised immune system due to increased inflammation.

It’s important to make sleep a regular priority in your schedule. Although the exact amount of sleep varies by individual, ensure that you feel well-rested to function and thrive throughout your day. Also, aim to create good sleep hygiene practices, like limiting electronic exposure prior to bed time (or downloading blue light blockers for your devices if you are using electronic devices), sleeping in a cool, dark room with no lights or sound, and limiting caffeine intake. Some patients can also benefit from adding a melatonin supplement to their diet, which can help restore your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

3. NUTRITION

Nutrition is a critical element of our bodies’ immune system. The majority of our immune system stems from our gut health and our immune system protects against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other toxic cells.

Malnutrition of macronutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) can suppress our immune system.

It’s important to eat a diet including many natural plant-based foods (that are unprocessed or as minimally processed as possible). Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits at each meal, and incorporate a variety of foods so you are receiving a wide spectrum of nutrients.

 

Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you live a happy and healthy life. We are here for you!

Coronavirus: Be Careful Where You Get Your News

coronavirus

News about a deadly virus that appeared in Wuhan, China in December (now called 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV) is everywhere lately. And as the number of cases rises, it’s understandable if you’re wondering how likely it is that you or a loved one will become ill. And quite likely, you’re also wondering how to prevent this.

So, where should you turn for the latest information on a rapidly changing situation? It’s hard to beat the convenience of the internet, and we know there’s a lot of useful and reliable information online. But there’s also a lot of misinformation. The trick is to figure out which is which.

Why You Need to Know About This New Virus

The concern regarding this new virus is well-deserved. As of January 31, there have been

  • Nearly 10,000 confirmed cases and 213 confirmed deaths attributed to 2019-nCoV, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 99% of the cases and all of the deaths have been in China.
  • 26 countries reporting cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly all of those with confirmed cases either live in China or had traveled from China to other countries.
  • Six cases in the US in four states (Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington). Another 160 people in 36 states are being evaluated for suspected infection.

All of these numbers are likely to rise in the coming days and weeks, because each infected person could potentially spread the infection to many others. And it’s possible that a person can spread the infection before he or she knows they’re sick; this has not been proven for this particular virus, but if true, quickly containing its spread may be impossible. That’s why it’s particularly important to get reliable information about what is happening and what you can do to protect yourself.

Beware: Misinformation is Rampant

Just as the number of people and countries affected by this new virus have spread, so have conspiracy theories and unfounded claims about it. Already social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, have seen a number of false and misleading posts about 2019-nCoV, such as:

  • “Oregano Oil Proves Effective Against Coronavirus,” an unfounded claim
  • A hoax stating that the US government had created and patented a vaccine for coronavirus years ago, shared with nearly 5,000 Facebook users
  • A false claim that “coronavirus is a human-made virus in the laboratory”
  • Sales of unproven “nonmedical immune boosters” to help people ward off 2019-nCoV
  • Unfounded recommendations to prevent infection by taking vitamin C and avoiding spicy foods
  • A video with useless advice about preventing 2019-nCoV by modifying your diet (for example, by avoiding cold drinks, milkshakes, or ice cream). This video, which demonstrates the removal of a parasitic worm from a person’s lip, is many years old and has nothing to do with 2019-nCoV.

Facebook is trying to fact-check postings, label those that are clearly false, and reduce their ranking so they are less prominently displayed. Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok have also taken steps to limit or label misinformation. But it’s nearly impossible to catch them all, especially since some are in private social media groups and are harder to find.

In the US, the Flu is a Much Bigger Threat

While news of a novel and deadly virus spreading across the globe may be terrifying, it’s important to recognize that the most threatening virus in this country right now isn’t 2019-nCoV — it’s the flu. According to the CDC, there have already been up to 26 million cases of the flu this season, leading to hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions and up to 25,000 deaths. And this flu season has not been particularly severe.

Getting a flu shot is a great first step if you’re worrying about avoiding illness. Other measures to protect yourself from the flu (such as staying away from others who are sick and taking care to not infect others if you’re sick) are basic strategies that can also help you avoid 2019-nCoV.

Reliable online sources on 2019-nCoV

While no one source of information is perfect, some are undeniably better than others! It’s best to look for sites that:

  • rely on experts who use well-accepted scientific analyses and publish their results in reputable medical journals
  • have a mission to inform and protect the public, such as the CDC and the WHO, which recently added a myth busters page to its information on 2019-nCoV
  • are not promoting or selling a product related to the information provided.

Other good online sources of information on the virus include:

While gathering information online may be your easiest initial option, contact your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If necessary, your doctor may recommend that you see a specialist at an academic medical center (such as a hospital affiliated with a major medical school) who is likely to have the most recent information about a previously unknown infectious illness like this one.

The Bottom Line

When considering a new infectious disease about which so much is still unknown, it’s important to seek out reliable information and act on it. Be skeptical of implausible conspiracy theories or claims of “fake news” that dismiss recommendations from public health officials. Addressing the concerns surrounding 2019-nCoV requires accessible, reliable, and frequently updated information; the best we can do is to look to the experts whose mission it is to protect public health.

 

 

 

Sourced by Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Low Dose Naltrexone For Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

When you hear the word naltrexone, your first instinct is most likely to think of this medication as something that is used to treat opioid or alcohol dependence. However, what if we were to tell you that patients suffering from fibromyalgia could use this medication to find relief and treat their pain. As strange as this may sound, breakthroughs in research in the recent years have actually shown that low dose naltrexone may potentially have a multitude of uses, including treating autoimmune diseases, pain and central nervous system disorders.

What is Naltrexone?

So what exactly is naltrexone? Naltrexone is an opiate blocking medication, commonly referred to as an opiate agonist. In other words, this medication blocks the effects of opioids by competing to bind to opioid receptors in your body. This medication has been used for many years to safely treat patients suffering from opioid and alcohol dependence. Naltrexone is generally well tolerated, however, potential side effects may include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and restlessness. Naltrexone should be avoided in patients with liver failure and those who are currently taking or dependent on opioids.

Low Dose Naltrexone vs. High Dose Naltrexone

Typically naltrexone is prescribed in doses of 50 mg/day or higher for the treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence. However, studies have confirmed that lower doses of naltrexone (3 to 5 mg) decreases symptoms with certain diseases. These diseases included Chron’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a devastating disease that affects your muscle and bones and causes extreme pain, fatigue, insomnia, plus memory and mood issues. These symptoms can decrease the quality of a person’s life tremendously. Unfortunately, the exact causes of fibromyalgia are not known.

Researchers believe that those suffering from fibromyalgia may have extra sensitive microglia and subsequently, their central nervous system (CNS) may have increased inflammation. Microglia are important cells in our CNS, which are crucial to the proper functioning of the immune system. Once these cells become stimulated, they set off a chain of events in your body and they release chemicals, which encourage the inflammatory process. This activation results in symptoms of fatigue and increased pain sensitivity, which are common complaints in patients with fibromyalgia.

Low Dose Naltrexone For Fibromyalgia

The proposed mechanism of action is that low dose naltrexone weakens the inflammatory process and therefore decreases the pain associated with this disease. Scientists believe that naltrexone represses the action of the microglia cells. By hindering the effects of the microglia cells there is a reduction in the severity of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.

Medication Availability

Naltrexone is currently only commercially available as 50 mg tablets, thus lower doses of this medication need to be compounded by a specialty compounding pharmacy such as Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills. We work with your doctor to customize this medication specifically for you. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 

 

 

Sourced by: CareFirst RX