Topical Pain

Topical pain management can provide relief while avoiding unwanted side effects or the chance of addiction.

Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

It represents an important public health issue that is associated with a wide range of injury and disease. An estimated 20% of patients with chronic pain receive an opioid prescription when visiting physician offices. Rates of opioid prescribing have grown exponentially, in particular for family practice, general practice and internal medicine. As a result, 2.1 million people misused prescription opioids in 2016, translating to an economic burden of $504 million. On average, 116 Americans die every day from an opioid-related drug overdose.

Today, the addictive properties and the potentially fatal risks of opioids have led to a nationwide public health emergency, as declared by the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services on October 26, 2017. Prevention, assessment and treatment of pain can be challenging not only to the patients and caregivers, but also to the health care providers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend nonopioid pharmacologic treatments and nonpharmacologic treatments as preferred for chronic pain (outside of active cancer, palliative, or end-of-life care).

A young woman applies topical cream to her painful elbow

How can Flourish help?

Local compounding pharmacies are an integral part of their communities and are readily accessible to patients and physicians. For decades, compounding pharmacists have been helping patients with chronic pain by dispensing customized topical pain medications using a permeation-enhancing base. While avoiding the use of addictive drugs, these medications may be customized to include different types of drugs, in various dosage strengths, that are delivered simultaneously in one application. However, there are still many patients and health care providers who are unaware of this nonopioid treatment. Compounding pharmacists are in a unique position to help combat the opioid epidemic by suggesting topical medications using a permeation-enhancing base to their patients and physicians.