In 2015, the NIH estimated that nearly 40 million adults (17.6%) in the United States experienced severe levels of pain, with 25.3 million adults (11.2%) having pain every day for the preceding three months.1 Aside from the pain epidemic in general, this is especially important in today’s current environment of drug addiction and opioid abuse. Every day approximately 1,000 people are treated for misuse of opioid medications, and drug overdoses have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the major cause of unintentional death in the U.S., according to the CDC.2
The costs of prescription opioid abuse have been estimated to be over $55 billion in the U.S. alone, accounting for lost work productivity,  health care costs and criminal justice costs.2 Furthermore, The BMJ recently published a meta-analysis of data on 446,763 Canadian and European patients, which suggested that oral NSAID (ibuprofen, naproxen)  use for more than one week increases the risk of myocardial infarction, and that higher doses corresponded with greater risk.3
There is a need and a place for the transdermal delivery of drugs due to the side-effect profile of many oral medications, a tendency for abuse of and addiction to opioid medications, administration challenges, and lack of efficacy of traditional therapies.4 Benefits of transdermal administration may include convenience and ease of administration, improved patient compliance, and allowing for less-frequent dosing.5
As a result, the use of compounded transdermal pain medications may be considered a viable alternative to oral pain therapies in many patients.

If you suffer from chronic pain and would like to know more about transdermal pain therapy options, please contact PharMix Rx at 334-478-3522.  We are available M-F 9am-6pm.

1. National Institutes of Health. (2015). NIH analysis shows Americans are in pain [Press release]. Retrieved from
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Prescription drug overdose in the United States: Fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www. Overdose_in_the_United_States.pdf
3. Bally, M., Dendukuri, N., Rich, B., Nadeau, L., Helin-Salmivaara, A., Garbe, E., & Brophy, J. M. (2017). Risk of acute myocardial infarction with NSAIDs in real world use: Bayesian meta-analysis of individual patient data. The BMJ, 357.
4. Branvold, A., & Carvalho, M., (2014). Pain management therapy: The benefits of compounded transdermal pain medication. Journal of General Practice, 2(6).
5. Paudel, K. S., Milewski, M., Swadley, C. L., Brogden, N. K., Ghosh, P., & Stinchcomb, A. L. (2010). Challenges and opportunities in dermal/ transdermal delivery. Therapeutic Delivery, 1(1), 109-131. https://doi. org/10.4155/tde.10.16

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 Apothagram

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