When most people think of taking medicine, the traditional routes of administration come to mind – oral, rectal, or injectable. In the past, most creams or ointments were applied to the skin for treatment of a local skin infection or condition such as eczema or hives. Using newly-available equipment, customized bases, and specialized techniques, pharmacists can now compound transdermal medications that are applied topically, but can be absorbed into the underlying tissue and used for:
- knee or back pain, “TMJ” disorder, or “tennis elbow”
- nausea and vomiting (very helpful for children and hospice patients)
- neuropathic pain
- bio-identical hormone replacement therapy
- … and much more!
Transdermal medications can help with the following situations:
- Patient unable or unwilling to use oral, injectable, or rectal medications
For example, patients who are nauseated or vomiting as a result of illness or chemotherapy may be unable to take drugs orally. Before transdermal medications were available, these patients frequently had to receive medication by intravenous or intramuscular injection, which often necessitated hospital admissions. Now, many medications can be conveniently administered transdermally, sparing patients and their families much physical and emotional pain.
- Medication side effects intolerable
For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and ketoprofen are known to cause gastrointestinal irritation and bleeding, resulting in significant health risks and added expense. Transdermal NSAIDs have been used for many years in European countries with excellent results and cause significantly fewer side effects than when the same drug is administered orally.
The optimum transdermal formulation is highly individualized, using a cosmetically-appealing base which will deliver the medication to the appropriate area.
Copyright 2002, Storey Marketing – Monthly Website Updates. Reproduction prohibited. Subscription available through Storey Marketing (814-337-3441). Questions regarding this article should be directed to the compounding professionals at Martin Avenue Pharmacy, Inc.