LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) – The return of compound drugs in modern medicine.
Rows of medicines and vitamins are what you usually find in any traditional pharmacy, but not in a special type of pharmacy we found here locally. They customize medications for patients with specific strengths targeting the individual’s needs.
So how does it work and is it effective? In this KGNS News “On Your Side” report, we take a closer look at what are called compound drugs.
“I was skeptical about it and thought, ‘Here you go, another cream,’ because I had tried other creams that the doctors had told me about,” Carol Postell said. Carol Carol suffers from arthritis and chronic back pain from an injury she sustained years ago. It was excruciating pain that drove her to try almost every over-the-counter medication and traditional prescription medicine available. Still, nothing worked, until she went to see Dr. John Puig who prescribed something different.
“As a doctor he said, ‘look Carol, there’s this and the double’, I can’t remember all the drugs he told me, I just knew there were a lot .” Desperate for relief, Carol had the prescription filled and the results were almost instantaneous.
“It was like a miracle in a bottle!” said Carol. “I put it on and as soon as I rubbed it on my back it felt like the pain was gone. It was absorbed into my skin and the pain was gone.
Years of pain were gone in minutes, all because of a medication specifically designed for her pain.
With such results, can anyone get custom-made drugs? According to Dr. Puig, the answer is “yes”.
“I think it’s something that boils down to number one: the patient’s need, number two: the patient’s availability, and number three: how comfortable the physician is using the drug,” explained the Dr. Puig. A level of comfort, he says, because the doctor must know exactly what their patient needs and then prescribe the formula to the pharmacist who prepares the preparation.
“Often it’s a directed prescription where we tell the pharmacist exactly what medicine we want them to use,” Dr. Puig said. “Sometimes they may have a proprietary blend of drugs that has worked better in the past with certain strengths of certain types of drugs.” In other words, compound drug prescriptions differ from traditional retail drugs, such as those found at large retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, because the pharmacist is not only able to customize the ingredients that go into the drug, but can also customize the strength of each of those ingredients. So how are these drugs made and, more importantly, what steps are taken to ensure they meet FDA guidelines? Kelley Garcia, PharmD, the licensed pharmacist who mixed Carol’s medications, explains the process.
“Every product that we use in drug manufacturing is an FDA-approved product,” says Dr. Garcia. “Each capsule also has to be within a certain percentage of the drug formula that we use, and after we make the drug and put it in the capsules, we then have the capsules tested at an independent lab to make sure that any is correct. We also measure each individual capsule before giving it to the patient to ensure that the right amount of medicine is inside. There are just many different points where we check our product before dispensing it to the patient. »
Compound drugs – or personalized drugs – are nothing new to the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, that was how medicines were made in the 1800s, under the name Apothecaries, but these were abandoned decades ago when pharmaceutical companies began to create off-the-shelf drugs that were easier and faster to dispense.
Dr Puig, however, believes compound drugs have a place in modern medicine, saying he is happy to see them return.
“We’ve done this in the past and had success, but the cost was very prohibitive,” says Dr. Puig. “Now that the cost has come down a lot with these drugs, we’ve been able to start using them again, and I’ve had a lot of success stories, much like with my patient Carol.”
A sentiment shared by patient Carol.
“It’s an amazing cream,” she said. “I call it my miracle in a jar, and I believe it’s the wave of the future. I think it’s worth it and people need to open their eyes and really believe it.
Prep pharmacies in Texas are regulated by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. According to them, in 2021, less than one percent of the more than 6,000 complaints received by the agency were related to compound drugs.
To view the full report, click here: https://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/files_pdf/Annual_Report_2021.pdf
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