Let’s Talk Compounded Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical HormonesHormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) once seemed the answer for many challenges experienced by middle-aged women. It was thought that HRT could protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer, while improving a woman’s quality of life. But 20 years of research from clinical trials shows that HRT is not as easy and safe as once thought.

HRT goals of 20 years ago were also different, as women today want to address not only hot flashes, but also decreased libido, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, menstrual irregularities and much more. Men are also experiencing hormone imbalances and symptoms sometimes referred to as “Andropause”.  With bio-identical hormone therapy, for women and men, the emphasis is rapidly shifting away from synthetic hormone replacement to balancing hormones naturally.

Compared to commercially available HRT, bioidentical hormones are synthesized from plant substances and are identical in structure to those produced by our bodies naturally. Research suggests that bioidentical hormones may be associated with lower risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease compared to their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts.

Bio-identical hormones require a prescription from a healthcare provider and are prepared by a Pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy.

But what is compounding anyway?

Compounding is the art and science of creating a particular pharmaceutical product to fit the unique needs of a patient (either human or animal), when a commercially available drug does not meet those needs. To do this, Compounding Pharmacists combine or process appropriate ingredients using various tools.

A patient may need this service because they do not tolerate the commercially available drug, or they may need a drug that is currently in shortage or discontinued. They may need to change the form of a drug from a solid pill to a liquid, avoid allergens in commercially-available drugs, or obtain a more tailored and exact dose of an essential medication.  Patients might also just prefer taking their drug as a different flavoured liquid, topical cream, transdermal gel, or suppository.

Compounding does not include making copies of commercially available drugs, as this is not allowed by law.

The advantage of compounded Bioidentical Hormone Restoration Therapy (BHRT)

Compounded bioidentical hormones are made specifically to fit each individual’s needs since no two people are alike. BHRT can be prepared in a variety of strengths and dosage forms, including capsules, topical or vaginal creams, gels, and suppositories. A Compounding Pharmacist will work closely with patients and healthcare providers to make sure the BHRT is working correctly, adjusting the dosage if necessary, to ensure that the medication is just right for each individual.

 

Tarek Hussein is a Compounding Pharmacist and Pharmacy Manager of Weller Pharmacy in Kingston, Ontario. He’s available by appointment at KIHC for consultations regarding medication review, de-prescribing, medical cannabis use, smoking cessation, and more. 

 

References:

  1. https://www.pharmacist.com/frequently-asked-questions-about-pharmaceutical-compounding
  2. https://www.pccarx.ca/what-is-compounding
  3. https://www.zrtlab.com/research/published-articles/

 

 

hormones, menopause, Pharmacist

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