Palliative care is treatment provided to patients who suffer from a chronic disease or terminal illness. Palliative care is intended to improve the patient’s quality of life, but not cure the disease. This treatment is best provided by a team of specialists that may include doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy, nutritionists and pharmacists.
It is important to customize treatment for each patient since diseases vary and each patient’s response to treatment varies. Palliative care aims to relieve and manage symptoms – such as nausea and vomiting, pain, dry mouth, mouth pain or inflammation, wound care, fatigue, loss of appetite, radiation mucositis, constipation and shortness of breath – without causing unwanted side effects. 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 not limited to one-size-fits-all medications.
Here are some examples of how customized medications can help patients in the palliative care setting:
- We can customize pain medications to control pain that has not responded to commercially available drugs.
- Compounded medications offer different dosage forms such as a transdermal gel, which can avoid the need for an IV or injections.
- If a patient is unable to swallow medications or is nauseous, the needed medication can be compounded into a different dosage form such as a topical or transdermal gel that allows medication to be absorbed through the skin, a suppository, a troche or lozenge that is placed between the cheek and gum and absorbed through the blood vessels under the tongue, a lollipop, or a freezer pop.
- We can combine compatible drugs into a single dosage form to make it easier to take medications and manage dosing 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 the physician 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 eliminate odor.
Life can be very challenging for those suffering from chronic illness as well as their families and caregivers. Adding the resources of our professional compounding pharmacy offers various treatment options and allows the patient to live life more comfortably.
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