Here at Chronic Pain Daily we believe that there is a better alternative for relieving pain than relying upon opioids and narcotics. One of the better alternatives is topical compounds, in the form of analgesic pain creams or gels. As a means of relieving pain and as part of a regimen for pain management, a topical compound can prove even more successful than an opioid pain reliever. This success is due largely in part to the medium of delivery being a transdermal cream or gel which is applied directly to the skin of the affected area. When used, relief occurs instantly and targets where the pain occurs. The added benefit of using a topical compound is that they are non-narcotic, which addresses the largest shortfall of an opioid pain reliever—the possibility of addiction. In an effort to learn more about compounding, we sought out a compound pharmacist operating in Los Angeles, Dr. Ben Kadkhoda.
Allure Pharmacy & Compound Pharmacist: Dr. Ben Kadkhoda, Pharm. D
Last week we had the pleasure of taking an interview with Dr. Ben Kadkhoda, a compound pharmacist, and proprietor of Allure Pharmacy. We spoke with Dr. Kadkhoda and took the interview over the phone and spoke about the particulars of working with a compounding pharmacy. Allure operates as a retail and compounding pharmacy that specializes in pharmacy services and compounded medications, based in Los Angeles California.
“Allure Pharmacy is located in the heart of Brentwood on the south side of San Vicente Blvd. between Barrington and Darlington Avenue. We strive to provide first-class service to our customers – including providing delivery service within local areas. As a family-owned pharmacy we put our customers first, and we understand that their time is valuable. With this in mind we work efficiently and accurately to ensure that our customers will have minimal wait times. In addition, the pharmacists are friendly, accessible and easy to talk to regarding any of the customers’ healthcare needs.”
Here is more information about compound pharmacist Dr. Ben Kadkhoda, Pharm. D:
“Ben Kadkhoda, Pharm.D. graduated from UCLA with double honors, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. After his graduation he attended USC School of Pharmacy where he was class president for two consecutive years. He graduated the top of his class, earning a doctorate of pharmacy degree. Dr. Kadkhoda has worked and managed local pharmacies in the West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area as well as other local pharmacies before opening his own business. He has also had several years of extensive compounding experience. He is very personable, knowledgeable and attentive, and cares about the well-being of each customer.”
Interview with a Compound Pharmacist: Dr. Ben Kadkhoda, Pharm. D
The following is a transcription of our interview given in question & answer format:
Could you tell me about your personal history working as a compound pharmacist?
Ben Kadkhoda: I’ve been a pharmacist for 16 years, working at allure pharmacy for the last 6, and have been compounding for the last 9 years.
What kind of training did you have to go through to become a compound pharmacist?
BK: Actually there is no certification needed to, as a pharmacist, compound. Many of the pharmacy schools teach compounding as part of their curriculum, so it was learned in school, and most of it comes from being under the guidance of a pharmacist who compounds with you where you graduate or where you work.
Based out of your knowledge how is pharmaceutical compounding different from traditional drug manufacturing?
BK: Compounding allows us to be more specific as far as what we’re making so if something is not available or is available but not in the strength the patient needs, then we are able to make it.
How are compounding pharmacies regulated? Is there a specific type of requirement, such as FDA compliance?
BK: In California sterile compounding pharmacies, so those that do injectable those have different regulatory agencies. But traditional compounding pharmacies like ourselves [Allure Pharmacy] are regulated by the California Board of Pharmacies.
How many different acting agents can be placed into a compound? How many different uses can be obtained from the compound?
BK: As far as active ingredients, some of the pain medications up to 5 or 6 different ingredients.
Would you consider compounds a safer form of medicating as opposed to narcotic pain relievers? Are the types of compounds you create safer to pill form.
BK: I’m not sure it is a safer alternative altogether, but it’s a safer alternative for those who may have an allergy to a particular ingredient, specifically an inactive ingredient in commercially available products. They [patients] can then have it compounded with us adding that specific ingredient. In that regards, it is safer for some patients, but overall the safety is not that different than commercially available medications.
What is a typical day for you, as a compound pharmacist, working at Allure?
BK: I specifically work a 10-hour shift, and the bulk of our business is the retail setting with the commercially available medications, and then a fraction of it is for the compounds. A technician and I will spend a few hours doing the compounds. We’re not solely a compound pharmacy; we [Allure] are a retail pharmacy that performs compounding.
Can any doctor order a compound from your pharmacy?
BK: In most cases yes, if we have the licensing for it. For instance, if one of the ingredients is a controlled substance then that particular prescriber will have to have a DEA license. If it is within the scope of practice, then it is fine.
Is there anything that you would like people to know about to people that are interested in learning more about compounding?
BK: It is a great alternative for patients that are looking for a product that are not commercially available. Or if it is commercially available it but not in the particular strength they are looking for or in a particular dosage form. For instance, if something is only made in a tablet or capsule form and a patient has difficulty swallowing and requires a suspension, we can convert that [medication]into a suspension.
What kind of mediums do you compound? What do you specialize in predominantly?
BK: For us it is mainly topical creams, ointments, gels, and oral suspensions. A suspension is a liquid form of medications compounded from pill form to suspension to be taken orally.
We would like to thank Dr. Ben Kadkhoda for the great work he is doing with Allure, for taking the time to speak with us, and for his expertise in the field of compounding!
Learn more about Allure Pharmacy and the services they provide patients by visiting their site here.
When you begin to take a thorough look at the nature of chronic pain in the United States through the eyes of a patient, navigating the road for treatment without a doctor and a compound pharmacist is overwhelming and difficult. Big pharmaceutical companies, while working towards better standards of care through medications, rely upon narcotics to solve every ailment while reinforcing the problematic nature of addictive opioid pain relievers.
But working closely with your doctor on managing your chronic pain in a better way with topical compounds can not only lead to reduced pain but provide you with a new sense of vitality. Chronic pain management will always differ from patient to patient but the medical industry is always releasing new research, new methods of treatment, and compounding pharmacies are here to provide you with a better solutions through topical compounds.
One thing remains constant through this discussion; chronic pain has become a national pandemic in the United States numbering in the millions and breaking down the structures that only increase opioid addiction, and not the treatment of chronic pain, must be addressed with a better solution.