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Guide to Topical Pain ReliefPain relievers come in all forms, including medication applied to the skin. Get on-the-spot topical therapy for pain relief from creams, patches, and sprays.

When most people think of pain relief, they picture swallowing a pill. However, there also are many topical pain relievers — pain-relieving medications applied to the skin, including creams and patches.

Guide to Topical Pain Medication

Topical pain relievers are often used by patients who cannot take oral medications, says Biral Patel, MD, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas.

“Certain patients have difficulty swallowing pills,” Dr. Patel says. “Other patients may have had surgeries that impede their ability to absorb drugs through their GI system. That’s when topical medications can be used to control pain.”

A pain relief cream or patch can also be used when you have pain in a very specific area. “If you have pain in a joint, you can put the medication on the joint, whereas if you take the drug orally, it goes through your whole body,” Patel says.

Not everyone is a good candidate for topical therapy for pain relief. People who are allergic to the adhesives on patches, for example, should avoid them. Anyone who is sensitive to the active ingredient in an oral pain reliever should not try it in topical form either.

Long term, high dosage use of oral anti-inflammatories has been linked to gastrointestinal problems which creates a new problem that could require additional medications to address – treatment using a transdermal product could be an effective alternative.

By providing pain relief through use of a transdermal product, a patient’s dependency on oral medications could be reduced or possibly even eliminated.

Transdermals Can Absorb…Through compounding technology, a transdermal product applied locally can realize significant absorption allowing the medications to be processed by the body and most important, reach the sight of pain.

This safe and effective absorption is a function of the technology within the various “Bases” that a compound pharmacist will mix with our medications providing the active ingredients a biological conduit through which to penetrate the layers of tissue.

A Guide to Topical Pain Medications for Arthritis

The swollen joints of arthritis cause significant pain and limit the ability to move. If you have arthritis, you want to have as many pain relief options as possible.

Exercise relieves pain by stretching and relaxing sore muscles. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce swelling.

But you can only exercise so much, and you shouldn’t take more pain relievers than necessary. There are many arthritis creams that can help when applied to a painful area.

Arthritis and Pain Relief

The swollen joints of arthritis cause significant pain and limit the ability to move. If you have arthritis, you want to have as many pain relief options as possible.

Exercise relieves pain by stretching and relaxing sore muscles. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce swelling.

But you can only exercise so much, and you shouldn’t take more pain relievers than necessary. There are many arthritis creams that can help when applied to a painful area.

The topical application of a custom compounded cream has many advantages, including:

• Delivers relief directly to pain receptors
• Minimizes absorption into the blood stream
• Blocks portions of the inflammatory cascade
• Quickly provides measurable and identifiable pain relief
• Greater effectiveness and results
• Produces fewer side effects
• Reduces the possibility of adverse drug interactions
• Formulations are non-addictive
• Minimizes oxidative stress
• Reduces organ toxicity
• Improves patient compliance and outcomes

Other Benefits of Compounded Medications

Some people are allergic to certain inactive ingredients in a medication, such as a preservative or dye. With our specially prepared creams, we can eliminate allergic ingredients. For those who have difficulty swallowing pills, capsules or tablets, the topical application of a cream increases the likelihood patients will comply with treatment. If a patient has a hard-to-treat condition that doesn’t respond to off-the-shelf prescriptions, or the strength of the medicine they need is not commercially available, we can customize a formulation.