Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
With 78 deaths in the United States each day from opioid overdose and a 300% increase in associated prescription sales since 1999, opiate addiction has reached a crisis level.
In August 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, mailed 2.3 million letters to physicians and medical professionals asking for their help to decrease prescription usage of opioids, as he believes that “clinicians have the unique power to end this epidemic.” This campaign, titled “Turn the Tide Rx”, has launched to focus on clinicians in three main areas:
1) Education on the addictiveness of painkillers and how to treat pain safely and effectively;
2) Screening patients for opioid abuse disorder and connecting them with evidence-based treatments;
3) Changing the public view of addiction to be seen as a chronic illness and not a moral issue.
Compounding for pain management offers a unique solution to this opioid epidemic. Clinical research backs up this view as well. In 2013, Patient Outcomes Analytics completed a nationwide survey of 3,600 chronic pain sufferers to assess patients’ experience with topical prescription pain creams in relation to their impact on oral pain medications. Findings published in the Journal of Medical Care, revealed that more than 83 percent of the participants reported a significant decrease in their pain. In addition, a reduction in oral pain medications was reported in 38 percent of these patients.
Prescription topical pain compounds offer advantages over oral opioid medications. These benefits range from a lowered total systemic daily dose for patients to achieve pain relief, site-specific drug delivery, and avoidance of first-pass metabolism. In addition, added benefits include overall decrease in major drug interactions, risk of addiction, and gastrointestinal, renal, or hepatic exposure. These prescription topical pain products work by attacking the pain’s dual pathways directly through the skin at the source of the localized pain.
At Synergy Health Services, we support the U.S. Surgeon General’s goal to curb the overuse of prescription opioids. We honor this pledge as a non-narcotic compounding pharmacy by offering topical pain therapies that are non-addictive and non-abusive.
As an accredited pharmacy, we work directly with physicians and clinicians to offer pain solutions that are customized to meet their patients’ healthcare needs. Despite pain being arthritic, nociceptive, neuropathic, chronic or acute in nature, there are topical therapies available to help reduce patients’ pain level and opioid dosage, as well as the possible weaning of narcotics.
We commend the U.S. Surgeon General’s call to action for the medical community to reduce opioid prescribing practices. Patient-specific, compounded pain medications, from an accredited compounding pharmacy, is what we can offer to support his efforts for alternative treatments. Together, we will take a stand to end this urgent health crisis on opioid dependence to better the community we serve.