Customising medication for better pain management

ibuprofen, pain Health professionals in Australia are taking notice of a recent European study¹ which has demonstrated a link between ibuprofen and an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in patients suffering arthritis.

The study, released in August of this year by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), found that patients receiving ibuprofen had a 61{648ff2b140dd79f8b10f01740237e66061b7c0f8b396ba52d99047c684c8722c} higher incidence of de novo hypertension compared to those receiving celecoxib.

Leading the research project was Professor Frank Ruschitzka, professor of cardiology and co-head, Department of Cardiology, University Heart Centre, Zurich, Switzerland.

“NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), particularly ibuprofen, may be not as safe as previously thought,” Professor Ruschitzka said, “Patients should continue to consult their doctor before taking NSAIDs or coxibs and clinicians need to weigh the potential hazards of worsening blood pressure control when considering the use of these agents.”

Managing the side-effects of pain management

Pain management can be one of the most demanding challenges healthcare professionals face in their practice. Chronic pain can dramatically affect a patient’s quality of life and, as one study found, has been linked to premature death.

University of Sydney’s Professor Paulo Ferreira found that people with symptoms of back pain had 13 per cent increased risk² of death compared to others. The Professor cited a Danish study that looked at 4,000 twins to examine the potential ‘life-limiting effects’ of chronic pain.

And back pain is not the only concern. Migraines, muscle strain, back injuries, fibromyalgia, nerve injuries and arthritis can also contribute to on-going pain requiring a high level of management.

There are numerous prescription and non-prescription medications available on the market to help practitioners develop pain management plans for their patients, however, like what the ESC study seems to have found about ibuprofen, many of these come with unwanted side-effects.

Patients on long-term pain medication often complain of drowsiness, dizziness, stomach irritation and other side-effects resulting from taking their pain medication. Many patients, especially the elderly, resign themselves to these side-effects, viewing them as the price they have to pay for a reduction in their pain.

Could compounding offer the solution?

We humans are a diverse lot and our bodies come in an infinite range of sizes, BMIs, drug tolerance levels and pain tolerance levels. Sometimes one-size-fits-all medication does not cater to nuances in our body chemistry. This is where a compounding chemist can help. A compounding chemist may offer a solution for pain sufferers struggling with the side effects of their pain medication. By working with a compounding chemist, healthcare professionals are able to customise pain medication to address their patient’s specific needs. We can adjust dosages to the exact amount required by the patient and work towards reducing uncomfortable side-effects

For patients struggling with capsule or tablets, a compounding chemist can prepare the medication as a topical gel, cream, spray or suppository. Delivering medication in these ways bypasses the gastrointestinal tract which may help to alleviate some side-effects. We can also prepare a flavoured troche that dissolves under the tongue.

For more information on customised pain medication visit National Custom Compounding’s website or contact Head Pharmacist Matt Bellgove on 1300 731 755.