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Compounded Medications for the Elderly

Your use of medications may increase as you get older and need to take medicine for more than one health issue. Therefore, if you need customized medications, pharmaceutical compounding can benefit you. Before you choose a pharmacy, consider the following factors which can make compounded medications a viable alternative for your individual medication needs.

Age-Related Physiological Changes

As you get older, you may become more susceptible to the side effects of a medication. Aging can contribute to declines in kidney and liver function and lead to age-related changes in the central nervous system. These changes can cause more medication side effects, as well as make you more susceptible to overdose. As a result, you may require lower doses of certain medications than what is commercially available.

Depending on your specific health problems, you may need adjustments to medications that drugs manufactured in standardized doses can’t give you. Your condition could also be made worse by a particular medication. Consequently, the general rule of thumb is to start the medication at the lowest dose possible, even if it’s lower than what’s available in drugs manufactured in bulk quantities.

Standard Doses of Manufactured Medications

Medications available at retail pharmacies that are manufactured in specific strengths, dosages, or concentrations don’t always fit your medication needs. Therefore, if you need a medication in a lower strength or smaller dose than what is available, customized compounded medications solve the problem by giving you the exact dose you need without having to cut pills.

Unless your doctor or pharmacist says it’s okay, a pill may not be safe to split. Compounded medications often are safer than splitting pills, particularly when it comes to preventing possible overdose from medicines that have a long-acting release.

In addition, if you’re older, you may have trouble splitting pills, especially if you have arthritis, poor eyesight, or hand tremors or shaking from Parkinson’s disease. You can easily get too little or too much of the medicine if you split a pill unevenly. Along with an uneven distribution of the drug in your system, a medication isn’t as effective if you don’t get enough of it.

Liquid Formulations

If you are like many other senior individuals who have trouble swallowing oral medications in pill or capsule form, consider a compounding pharmacy that can convert your medications to liquid form. Liquid formulations are easier to swallow and may be easier on your stomach than the same medication in pill form.

A compound pharmacist mixes liquid medicines so that the active ingredients are distributed evenly throughout the bottle. This gives you the same amount of the drug with every dose. Besides making the medication easier to swallow, the consistency of the liquid makes it easier to measure out.

If you only have trouble swallowing large pills but can manage smaller tablets, a compounding pharmacist can help with that, too. The pharmacist can compound the dosage your doctor prescribes in one or more smaller pills if you prefer that to taking a liquid formulation of the drug.

Additional Alternative Delivery Methods

When swallowing pills is a problem, troches you chew or that dissolve in your mouth when placed under the tongue are another delivery method for getting the medications you need. A compounding pharmacy can also make transdermal creams and gels that you apply and are absorbed through your skin.

Oral medications that can cause gastrointestinal problems as a side effect often are worse on older people. However, topical creams may be an effective alternative to oral medications that cause uncomfortable side effects or interact with other drugs you are taking.

Allergies to Inactive Drug Ingredients

If you are allergic or have an adverse reaction to some of the ingredients in a medication, compounding pharmacists can eliminate inactive ingredients such as preservatives, color additives, flavorings, and binding materials. The medication will still contain the active ingredients that provide the therapeutic benefit.

Pharmaceutical Drug Shortages

Not all commercially manufactured medications are always readily available at traditional pharmacies. Some are discontinued or temporarily unavailable due to back orders or drug shortages.

Whether due to regulatory requirements or manufacturing and supply problems, drug shortages can negatively impact your health. If you have a heart problem, diabetes, arthritis, or other chronic health condition, access to compounded medications gets you the medicines you need when you need them.

A shortage of certain pharmaceutical drugs, especially if you have cancer or other life-threatening illness, is a serious problem. Whatever a manufacturer’s reasons for insufficient supply of a medication, a low supply of the drug doesn’t have to result in you using less of the medication, making it less effective. That’s where a compounding pharmacy comes in.

When looking for alternative solutions to your medication needs, contact Potter’s House Apothecary. We can prepare altered medications that are right for your personalized treatment.

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