Caring for Delicate Organs: Specialty Drug Compounding for Kidney Treatment

Caring for Delicate Organs: Specialty Drug Compounding for Kidney Treatment


If you’ve ever had a kidney infection like I have, you know how it feels to be totally immobilized with pain. You were probably in the fetal position wondering when and how someone managed to shoot you with a cannonball without you noticing. And once you do damage to your kidneys, unfortunately they’re never quite the same again.

As of 2012, more than ten percent of Americans had some form of chronic kidney disease according to the National Institutes of Health. That means more than 20 million of us experience some reduced kidney function that may require treatment. With reduced kidney function comes the need for caution, especially with regard to traditional medication delivery; for these reasons specialty drug compounding is an important area for many pharmacies to consider.

Kidney Disease and Associated Issues

Kidney disease impacts the entire body and every organ system, whether it is chronic kidney disease (CKD), end stage renal disease (ESRD), or acute kidney injury (AKI). Kidney disease of any kind prompts physiological changes that may alter the pharmacology of medications profoundly. Therefore, healthcare providers need to evaluate kidney function as they prescribe, considering the ways that decreased kidney function may change toxic or active drug metabolites and the overall disposition of prescribed drugs.

Furthermore, other medical problems typically confound the treatment of kidney disease; diabetes mellitus, heart disease, pruritus, and hypertension are common examples of additional prescription management challenges faced by professionals working with kidney disease patients. Naturally, because many medicines are processed by the kidneys, all medication use must be approached with caution in the treatment of kidney disease — this includes the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The reduced filtering capacity of diseased kidneys can lead to the unsafe buildup of drugs in the body.

Diseased kidneys are also weak and vulnerable to damage from certain medications, even OTC drugs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), in particular, can be harmful to the kidneys. These are frequently used in cold and fever medications and for head and muscle aches; ibuprofen and naproxen are NSAIDs. Kidney disease patients need safe alternatives for many commonly used remedies given their unique health profile and vulnerabilities.

Compounding for Kidney Disease

Kidney disease patients typically require treatment for high blood pressure. Some common kinds of prescriptions that are safe for kidney disease patients include angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors which both help preserve kidney function. These patients are also often prescribed diuretics.

Healthcare professionals also prescribe cholesterol medications called statins for kidney disease patients quite often. This is because chronic kidney disease is associated with high levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, and heart disease. Simvastatin, for example, is a common medication that is prescribed to kidney disease patients and can easily be compounded. It helps lower LDL cholesterol levels and raise HDL cholesterol levels, and in compounded preparations that are designed for kidney patients it can be absorbed into the body without impacting the kidneys.

A number of nutritional supplements are also important to the maintenance of health in kidney disease patients as well. Anemia is a problem for many with kidney disease, causing fatigue, bruising, and weakness. To treat it, healthcare professionals may prescribe the hormone erythropoietin supplemented with iron, or simply iron supplements on their own. These supplements can be compounded into a unique prescription along with other ingredients or on their own.

Kidney disease is also associated with fluid retention which can cause edema and worsen high blood pressure. Diuretics are sometimes prescribed for this. Kidney disease patients are also treated with Vitamin D, phosphate, and calcium supplements fairly often. Each of these can be part of a custom compounded medication.

Specialty drug compounding is the ideal way to help care for patients who need alternative delivery options such as those with chronic kidney disease. It is easy to understand why so many health care providers use the services of compounding pharmaceutical professionals to meet the special needs of their vulnerable patients. This increased interest makes compounding treatments for patients with chronic kidney disease, end stage kidney disease, and acute kidney injury an ideal focus area for your business.

Custom compounding for kidney disease and other specialty medications is an area of growing interest for healthcare providers. Pharmaceutica North America wants to be your source for high quality pharmaceutical compounding products and advice. For more information, please contact Pharmaceutica North America, your trusted compounding resource.


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