CHICAGO, Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Integrative Medicine Journal published a commentary today by Ageology's CEO Dr. Paul Savage detailing Compounding Pharmacy Safety for doctors, patients and pharmacies. In his article, Ensuring the Safety of Compounded Products: Best Clinician Practices and an Existing Solution, Dr. Savage details best clinical practices and on how consumers can take precautions to ensure the compounding pharmacies they use are safe.
Considering only 163 of the 7,000 compounding pharmacies have Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) accreditation - Dr. Paul Savage offers this advice to men and women: Know your doctor and make sure they research the compounding pharmacies they are using. Like many physicians, Dr. Savage writes prescriptions daily that require a compounding pharmacy.
"Compounding pharmacies are a necessity to the healthcare system, and with the recent news, there are steps that ought to be taken from patient to physician to pharmacy," said Dr. Savage.
Tragedy struck hundreds after injectable steroids produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) were found to be contaminated. The Centers for Disease Control has reported 338 patients diagnosed with fungal meningitis, a potentially life-threatening infection, as of November 2, 2012. Twenty-eight have died.
Should consumers avoid compounded medicines?
Dr. Savage, CEO of an integrative age management physician network in Chicago, has used compounded medications in his practice daily for the past 25 years.
"Physicians understand that medications have risks and benefits, including unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects. But most physicians assume that medications ordered for patients are safe, effective, high quality, and free of dangerous infectious agents," Savage said. "A compounding pharmacy is an essential component of health care because commercially manufactured medications cannot account for the specific needs of every individual patient or meet the demand of the nation."
Compounding occurs for various and essential reasons. Compounding pharmacists prepare established medications and prescriptions for use in ways that the pharmaceutical manufacturer cannot. Compounding pharmacists can also divide commercially produced drugs into smaller, more affordable, easier-to-store amounts to be used by hospitals or physicians.
US Pharmacopeia regulations have strict guidelines for compounding products. Unfortunately, more often than not, these regulations tend to be enforced retroactively, after an event such as the contamination of corticosteroid preparation such as in the NECC case. Savage said proactive policing of these regulations does not occur with enough regularity, if at all, to ensure that out-of-hospital compounding pharmacies are adhering to these regulations.
The good news is the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) accreditation gives patients, prescribers, and third-party payers a way to select a pharmacy that meets or exceeds US Pharmacopeia's high quality standards. The bad news is only 163 of the 7,000 compounding pharmacies have applied for accreditation. Savage offers some advice to consumers:
"Know your health care provider. A qualified health care provider will have recommendations for compounding pharmacies and be able to provide you with answers regarding the safety and quality required," Savage said. "Ask your health care practitioner if you are receiving any compounded products, and if so, how the safety and quality of the compounder is determined. This is doubly important if you receive IV therapy, injections, or implanted medications."
Dr. Paul Savage is CEO of Ageology, an age management and integrative health physician network. The 22 Chicago-based Ageology physicians specialize in bioidentical hormone therapy and write prescriptions on a regular basis that requires a compounding pharmacy.
Dr. Paul Savage is available for interviews and the entire article can be downloaded here http://imjournal.com/openaccess/savage101.pdf
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