Helping Patients Weather the Storm: Using Compounded Medications for Crohn’s Disease and Colitis
Living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis means living under siege by your own body. Just as people stuck in the midst of a hurricane have to stop their lives, batten down the hatches, and wait for the storm to pass, so too do people with these kinds of gastroenterological diseases. Often they spend much of their day-to-day lives waiting— waiting for severe pain to pass, waiting to be able to safely leave the house without needing to be near a bathroom, and waiting for a correct diagnosis in the first place.
I know because I have a close friend with Crohn’s disease; she was diagnosed in her 30’s, but only after several years of wrong turns by highly capable doctors. Even now that she has the right answer about her disease, she doesn’t have a real solution, because Crohn’s is difficult to treat. But sufferers like her can get help in the form of more accurate, easy to tolerate, and customized compounded treatments.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The two most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both cause abdominal pain and diarrhea, and each can sometimes cause weight loss, rectal bleeding, anemia, and other symptoms. There is no definitive test for either of these diseases, and as with many diagnoses of exclusion, most patients typically go through a process of incorrect diagnoses over a course of time before they know what is really wrong with them. This means that patients suffering from Crohn’s disease or colitis are often treated first for appendicitis, suspected infections, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcers.
Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are caused by attacks on the gastrointestinal tract by the immune system. Crohn’s disease is most commonly found in the ileum (the end of the small intestine) and the beginning of the colon, but it may occur anywhere along the GI tract including the mouth. In contrast, ulcerative colitis impacts only the colon (large intestine). While both diseases prompt an inappropriate inflammation response, Crohn’s disease impacts the entire tissue lining of the GI tract at every thickness, whereas ulcerative colitis only involves the innermost layer of the lining.
Treating Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Treating both conditions demands fighting and then suppressing the inflammatory response on an ongoing basis. This is typically achieved through various combinations of prescription anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, and steroids. Crohn’s patients might also require antibiotics and other kinds of specialized prescriptions such as biologic therapies. Some ulcerative colitis patients end up with the surgical “cure” of colon removal; obviously those that do must wear colostomy bags to collect bodily waste for the remainder of their lives.
Compounded Medications for Crohn’s Disease and Colitis
Patients with Crohn’s disease and Colitis benefit greatly from custom compounding for several key reasons. Most obviously, compounded medications that bypass the GI tract entirely are far easier for these patients to tolerate. Compounding pharmacies with expertise in specialty compounding can create compounded medications with delivery forms that maximize therapeutic success, reduce the stress of administration, and increase compliance, such as topical gels and creams, rectal enemas, and suppositories.
But this is just the most obvious benefit. Specialty compounding can also provide these patients with nutritional supplements that they may require. For example, research has shown that hyperhomocysteinemia is common in patients with both Crohn’s disease and colitis; high homocysteine levels can be treated with Folinic Acid, TMG, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. Custom compounds that contain prescribed medications along with these nutritional supplements may be even more beneficial to many Crohn’s and colitis sufferers.
Osteoporosis is also associated with Colitis and Crohn’s disease in the research, probably because the diseases make it difficult for sufferers to absorb nutrients well. Compounding pharmacists can provide patients with calcium transdermal gel or cream for patients with these kinds of malabsorption problems. Similarly these patients often also benefit from Vitamin D supplements which help them to absorb calcium; vitamin D can be provided in sublingual drops. All of these methods bypass the GI tract, improving outcomes and enhancing comfort.
Custom compounding can assist Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients in so many ways; this area of specialty compounding is central to pharmaceutical professionals. Many healthcare providers are only now realizing the full potential of this kind of specialized care despite the obvious demand for precision treatments for Crohn’s disease, colitis, and related maladies. Your business can be situated to meet these demands with the right preparation and assistance.
Your pharmacy may be in need of compounding ingredients; if so, Pharmaceutica North America would like to be your resource for high-quality compounding products for all of your compounding needs. For more information regarding products available through PNA, please contact our very knowledgeable and friendly team.