Diabetic patients are considered special needs patients, suffering from a chronic condition that is prone to ancillary illnesses and complications (comorbidities). Therefore, special care must be taken when utilizing medication therapy of any kind.
Whether a diabetic patient is looking to take a medication to help alleviate heartburn, or is considering changing daily medications to manage symptoms of the diabetes itself, that patient must consider what impact new medications will have.
In addition to speaking with your doctor about any new medication or a change in existing medications, it is a very good idea for diabetes sufferers to develop a close relationship with their pharmacist. A compounding pharmacist can work closely with you to compound (formulate) custom mixtures and medications to your needs.
Compounding pharmacists can craft medications chemically similar to name brand or generic drugs, but will leave out ingredients that can exacerbate diabetes symptoms or cause allergic reactions when mixed with other drugs.
Compounding can help you with all of your day-to-day medication needs, including helping you find over-the-counter medications to fit your needs. Compounding is especially helpful when diabetic patients are looking for medications to treat diabetes-related disorders and their symptoms.
Diabetics often suffer from one or more diabetes-related disorders at some point in their lifetime. Knowing the possible diabetes-related disorders, their causes, and ways to prevent them is the first line of defense, and compounding pharmacists can help to educate you on prevention.
However, compounding pharmacists offer the most benefit when they craft medications and solutions that take into account all underlying conditions and causes of your ailments.
What Are the Most Common Diabetes-Related Disorders?
This question comes up quite often. Let’s go over a few conditions that tend to stem from preexisting diabetes:
Diabetic Nerve Pain/Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy) is pain in the hands, feet and extremities that results from nerve damage. This nerve damage results from the spikes of high and low blood sugar as a result of diabetes.
On average, between 60 and 80 percent of all diabetics will develop diabetic nerve pain at some point in their lifetime. Because of this heightened risk, diabetic patients need to not only keeping blood glucose levels as regular as possible, but also take preventative measures to ensure that their nerves are not damaged in any way.
Ensuring that the medications you are taking do not spike your blood sugar levels can do a great deal in preventing future diabetic neuropathy, and you compounding pharmacy can help you to achieve this.
Diabetics have a much higher risk of suffering damage to the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the more serious concerns in diabetic patients. Advanced or proliferative diabetic retinopathy can cause you to completely lose your central and peripheral sight. What starts as blurry vision is caused by leakage from the tiny blood vessels in the eye. The retina swells, in response, and leads to diabetic macular edema (DME).
While there are treatments for DME and diabetic retinopathy, prevention is truly the best measure. It is important to keep blood sugars as stable as possible to reduce the damage to blood vessels and the eyes. Because certain medications can cause blood sugars to fluctuate even more, or can directly cause irritation, inflammation, swelling and damage to the eyes, it is important to have a pharmacist that knows your underlying diabetic risks.
Diabetic Skin Conditions
Diabetics are prone to numerous skin infections and diabetic skin conditions. These skin conditions can affect anybody, but are more common in those with diabetes because their immune system is already impaired or working under added pressure.
Common diabetic skin conditions include:
- Bacterial Skin Infections
- Fungal Skin Infections
- Acanthosis Nigricans
- Diabetic Dermopathy
- Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum
- Allergic Reactions
- Diabetic Blisters (Bullosis Diabeticorum)
- Eruptive Xanthomatosis
- Digital Sclerosis
- Disseminated Granuloma Annulare
Some of the above skin conditions (Acanthosis Nigricans, Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum and Eruptive Xanthomatosis) are much more rare, and only occur when the diabetes is wildly out of control and not being treated correctly. However, bacterial infections, fungal infections, diabetic dermopathy and allergic reactions are much more common.
Itchy Skin in Diabetics
Diabetes doesn’t just cause itchy skin, but having diabetes could limit the types of treatments you can use for your dry and itchy skin. Some of the chemicals and ingredients in common creams and medications to treat itchy skin may cause interactions with medications you are on to treat your diabetes.
This is where a compounding pharmacist can help: Compounding pharmacists can compound creams and treatments from scratch, utilizing only the ingredients that are safe, while leaving out any ingredients that will cause a negative interaction.
Bacterial Skin Infections in Diabetics
Diabetes can increase your risk of bacterial infections, not just on your skin, but throughout your body. Bacterial infections that effect the skin include:
- Infections of the cuticles and around the fingernails
Fungal Skin Infections in Diabetics
These types of infections are also often seen in patients with diabetes, whose immune systems are not functioning at a rate optimal enough to kill the fungus as quickly as in healthy patients.
Fungal infections that effect the skin include:
- Jock Itch
- Athlete’s Foot
- Yeast Infections
Fungal infections can occur anywhere on the body, but problem areas of particular concern include:
- On and around the breasts (especially he Underside)
- Around fingernails and near cuticles
- Between fingers and toes
- On or around the mouth (including the lips and corners of the mouth)
- Under the arms (armpits)
- Groin area
- Underneath the foreskin (In uncircumcised men)
Diabetic Nephropathy: Kidney Disease and Diabetes
Many diabetics will have chronic kidney issues in their lifetime. It is estimated that 40 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes will eventually develop kidney disease. Kidney disease in diabetic patients is known as “diabetic nephropathy,” and it can affect people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes – though it is more common in type 2 diabetics.
Long-term kidney disease is a very serious condition, and can lead to end-stage renal disease (ERD), a possibly life-threatening condition that results when the kidneys no longer function well enough to support the body.
Diabetes and Heart Disease
One of the foremost concerns for diabetic patients is the damage that high blood glucose causes to the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. Unfortunately, damage to the coronary and circulatory systems is inevitable with diabetes. Although, physicians will try their best to keep the damage done to a minimum, to extend life expectancy, and to prevent the onset of other diseases such as heart disease.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as those without diabetes. This is why it becomes so important to manage your diabetes carefully. Proper management of diabetes includes more than just eating right and exercising, and watching your blood sugar levels.
Because diabetic patients are at higher risk of other conditions, complications, and at risk of drug interactions and medication complications, it is very important that diabetics have a good relationship with their pharmacist.
Finding a Compounding Pharmacist to Help Manage Diabetes
The Compounding Pharmacy of America helps diabetic patients to manage their diabetes, including the medications they take for diabetic symptoms. We can also help prevent unwanted diabetic complications induced by the medications you are using.
The Compounding Pharmacy of America Can Help Diabetic Patients in the Following States/Districts:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- New York
With The Compounding Pharmacy of America, you can order prescription refills online and have them delivered right to your door. Have questions? Check out our FAQs resource to learn how you can switch to easier online prescription refill ordering.
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Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America
Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding.
He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.