Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guest Post: For Those Missing Midrin

I don't feature guest posts very often, but since I'm having a whirlwind summer with an intense summer class, internship and part-time work (all fun stuff, since I'm doing lots of designing!), I haven't been able to blog as much as I'd like. So when I received an offer via email and the topic sounded like it could be helpful to you all, I gladly said yes. Just a personal note, I haven't tried Midrin or a similar compound, although I won't rule it out for the future!

John Voliva, author of the post below, is a pharmacist and serves as social community manager at Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA). He has more than a decade of experience owning a compounding-only pharmacy, and has worked hand-in-hand with hospitals, physicians and patients to help solve problems stemming from drug shortages. PCCA has a membership of more than 3,900 independent community pharmacists, and provides them with chemical ingredients, equipment, devices, training and education, among other resources.

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For Those Missing Midrin
There are solutions available locally

By John Voliva, RPh

For those that suffer from migraines, finding a medicine that offers real relief can be a challenge. Many migraineurs came to rely heavily on the popular drug Midrin and were very upset when it was discontinued in 2009, and then again when generic versions were pulled from the market in late 2010. Regional shortages of Midrin continue, with sporadic or limited availability, at best. For sufferers of migraines, this unavailability has posed a significant problem, as Midrin had been the best medication they had found to treat their symptoms. Since then, they have been forced to turn to other drugs or remedies to cope with their pain. What if they could get Midrin back?

Many are unaware that there is a solution to the Midrin shortage through pharmaceutical compounding. Compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications, and effectively returns to the roots of pharmacy, where pharmacies make, by hand, medicines that doctors prescribe. Through the years, modern technology and research have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to address very specific needs not met by major manufacturers.

The active ingredients that were used in Midrin (acetaminophen, dichloralphenazone, and isometheptene mucate) are still available. While pharmaceutical companies are unable to produce Midrin or a generic without clinical trials and applications for FDA approval, compounding pharmacies – which are regulated by state boards – can compound an equivalent prescription medication. Following a precise formula, these pharmacists use the same active ingredients, in the same concentrations, to provide patients another option in treating their migraines. Compounding also makes additional customization possible: If, for example, a patient was instructed to limit their use of acetaminophen, a compounding pharmacy could compound using only the two other active ingredients. In this way, an effective analog could be provided, while helping the patient abide by doctor’s orders.

There are thousands of compounding pharmacists practicing all over the United States and Canada, with the tools and ingredients needed to create a Midrin equivalent. To find one, patients and doctors can go to www.findacompounder.com. Entering a zip code at that site will yield a list of compounding pharmacies within a given radius, as well as information on what to look for in finding a good compounder.