Palliative care aims to relieve and manage symptoms – such as nausea and vomiting, pain, dry mouth, oral pain or inflammation, wound care, fatigue, loss of appetite, radiation mucositis, constipation, and shortness of breath – without causing unwanted side effects such as excessive drowsiness, GI upset, and constipation. Our compounding pharmacy is an important part of the patient care team, as we have resources that are not available at traditional pharmacies. Our patients’ options are not limited to one-size-fits-all medications.
Here are some of the ways that our compounding pharmacy can help patients nearing the end of life:
- We can customize pain medications to control pain that has not responded to commercially available drugs.
- When a medication is only commercially available as an oral or injectable form, it can often be compounded as a different dosage form such as a topical or transdermal gel, suppository, troche, or lollipop.
- We can combine compatible drugs into a single dosage form to make it easier to take medications and manage schedules.
- When a patient is unable to tolerate the taste of a medication, we can compound oral preparations and flavor them specifically for each patient, masking bitterness.
- If a patient is suffering from dry mouth (common after head and/or neck radiation), or has mouth tenderness or an infection, medicated dosage forms can be compounded which may enable the patient to enjoy eating again.
- Pressure sores (decubitus ulcers) can be very difficult to manage. Our professional compounding pharmacist can work with physicians and other members of the health care team to prepare the best formulation for each patient and relieve pain and speed healing.
- Wound odor can be extremely embarrassing for patients. Topical preparations can be compounded to reduce odor.
Life can be very challenging for those suffering from chronic illness and their families and caregivers. Adding the resources of our professional compounding pharmacy offers a greater spectrum of treatment options and allows the patient to live life more comfortably. Various types of medications have been compounded to relieve problems that affect patients who are receiving palliative care or who have received chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Palliative Care is “the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment.”
The skill and caring of a knowledgeable compounding pharmacist can complement a physician’s abilities. Patients with chronic illnesses or who are nearing the end of life frequently require symptom control and pain relief. While every individual is unique, common symptoms and problems include:
- Pain Management
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Severe Constipation
- Decubitus Ulcers
- Shortness of Breath
Compounded medications are available to help with all of the above problems. We work closely with practitioners and caregivers to customize a personal solution that meets the needs of each patient so that patients can enjoy precious time with loved ones. Please contact our compounding pharmacist to discuss the dosage form, strength, and medication or combination that is most appropriate.
Compounded Medications for Palliative Care
Among the greatest therapeutic challenges faced by both patients and caregivers is the treatment required by individuals who have a terminal condition. It is difficult to find evidence-based studies on the management of end-of-life situations because each patient’s medical case is unique. In addition, maintaining a controlled environment for such patients is difficult. End-of-life care is multifaceted and people with a terminal illness are among the most vulnerable patients in need of effective and compassionate care. When those patients suffer in spite of commercially available therapies, the innovation and experience of clinicians and compounding pharmacists can often yield a solution to the most challenging treatment problems.
Int J Pharm Compd. 2014 May-Jun;18(3):190-200.
Compounded drugs of value in outpatient hospice and palliative care practice.
Click here to access the PubMed abstract of this article.
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