A recent opinion letter in The Buffalo News, NY highlights a compounding pharmacist’s role in pain management.
(Original June 28, 2016 letter The Buffalo News )
Compounding pharmacy can relieve patients’ pain
The “Combating the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic” legislation is a good start. However, there needs to be more than legislation. There needs to be a complete rethinking on the treatment paradigm options for pain. One of those options is the compounding pharmacist.
An accredited compounding pharmacy working with a physician or midlevel health care provider can offer a wide array of personalized pain therapy options that are non-narcotic, non-opioid, non-addictive drug therapy, specific to the needs of an individual patient. Whether the pain is arthritic, nociceptive, neuropathic, chronic or acute, there are unlimited options that may be offered to prescribers specific for each individual patient need. There are also products and therapy options available that can help reduce the patient’s opioid dose or even wean them off of narcotic therapy.
The problem is the recent trend of health insurers is to severely limit, or exclude, coverage of compounded prescription medications to their subscribers. Another trend is putting large co-pays on products that are covered, therefore making the affordability of these medications difficult for patients.
There are many reasons health insurance companies give for non-coverage or limited coverage of these therapies for subscribers. Of course, the most common is the cost. How does one measure the downstream cost to the insurers, patients and society on overuse of narcotics for pain? What is the cost of overavailability of opioids in the community, or long-term residential treatment for addiction and opioid dependence maintenance therapies?
In the June 23 News article, “Will the new opiate law work,” Dr. Nancy Nielson said, “Chronic pain patients will continue to need opioids, but we also need to address alternative ways to treat pain.” Patient-specific, individualized, compound pain medication, from an accredited compounding pharmacy, is an alternative way to treat pain.
Martin E. Pietruszewski, RPh