Many patients suffer from pain that may be short-term or chronic in nature. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it becomes debilitating for one to carry-on daily activities. Pain management can involve a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and pharmacists to control the ongoing pain.
Oftentimes, compounded medications are used to help relieve pain. Compounded medications prescribed by your physician may be one of several methods used by your physician to treat pain.
Compounded medications may alleviate or remove:
- Unwanted side effects
- Multiple medications required for pain relief
- An intolerable route of administration
Pain management is essential because even when the underlying disease process is stable, uncontrolled pain prevents patients from working productively, enjoying recreation, or taking pleasure in their usual roles in the family and society. Chronic pain may have a myriad of causes and perpetuating factors, and therefore can 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. Optimal treatment may involve the use of medications that possess pain-relieving properties, including some antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antiarrhythmics, anesthetics, antiviral agents, and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonists. NMDA-receptor antagonists, such as dextromethorphan and ketamine, can block pain transmission in dorsal horn spinal neurons, reduce nociception, and decrease tolerance to and the need for opioid analgesics. By combining various agents which utilize different mechanisms to alter the sensation of pain, physicians have found that smaller concentrations of each medication can be used.
Topical and transdermal creams and gels can be formulated to provide high local concentrations at the site of application (e.g., NSAIDs for joint pain), for trigger point application (e.g., combinations of medications for neuropathic pain), or in a base that will allow systemic absorption. Side effects associated with oral administration can often be avoided when medications are used topically. Studies suggest that there are no great restrictions on the type of drug that can be incorporated into a properly compounded transdermal gel. When medications are administered transdermally, they are not absorbed through the gastrointestinal system and do not undergo first-pass hepatic metabolism.