Compounded bioidentical hormones have become increasingly used in hormone replacement therapy, and they are one of the most common treatments developed at compounding pharmacies. These hormones are designed to mimic the exact biochemical structure of the hormones that are naturally produced
by the body including testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, human growth hormone, and others.
These hormone treatments produced in a sterile laboratory environment at a compound pharmacy, and when they are designed to be identical to the body’s hormones they often have fewer side effects compared to commercial hormones which can be derived from plants and other sources but are not identical to human hormones.
Many commercial hormones are synthetic
Commercial hormones are often synthetic,
because drug companies are less likely to be able to patent bioidentical hormones (unless they have a unique delivery system). As a result, many of the commercial hormone treatments that are prescribed by endocrinologists are not anything like natural hormones, and may actually vary dramatically in their chemical structure.
The commercial hormone may mimic the natural hormone in some ways, but can cause severe side effects and create an unnatural response. Hormone responses involve complex biochemical pathways that have not been fully researched even for the natural hormones that the body produces, and for safety and health considerations bioidentical hormones are often preferable.
Compound pharmacies can create customized bioidentical hormone therapy plans
A main reason why physicians used compounding pharmacies to create their hormone treatments is the ability to customize the dosages and the treatment plans for each patient. Due to the variations between each individual, there is no specific hormone treatment that will work the same for every person.
The patient’s physician will typically perform hormone testing and a physical to determine what their hormone dosage should be, and the dosage as well as the route of administration can be customized at the compounding pharmacy.
Delivery systems can be controlled as well
Although this continues to be an area of continuing research, the delivery system for a bioidentical hormone treatment can be selected by the patient’s medical provider. It is thought that certain delivery methods such as transdermal creams or patches may be more (or less) effective than other delivery systems such as pills.
For example, women who need estrogen replacement therapy may benefit from using a transdermal patch, as the pill form of the hormone is thought to stimulate the proteins associated with stroke and heart disease. The transdermal patch allows the patient to increase their blood levels of the hormone without these potentially dangerous side effects, so delivery method is a main concern for hormone treatments.
Perfectly suited for the human body
There is simply no way to deviate from the identical chemical structure of a hormone without causing a difference in how the body responds to it. Standard hormone replacement therapy using commercial and non-natural hormones has been shown to be associated with some specific risks; in particular estrogen replacement therapy was shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and stroke in several clinical studies.
The evidence suggests, however, that bioidentical hormones are much more tolerable to the body and may not result in the same risks that are associated with conventional hormone treatments. It is a promising area of research that is gaining more and more attention as patients become more aware of the benefits of natural hormones.
The safety of bioidentical hormones, their effects, and potential disease risks associated with them are still being studied to try to determine their specific benefits and risks if there are any. Those who need hormone treatments in the meantime may strongly consider using them as opposed to commercial treatments based on some of the preliminary clinical and anecdotal evidence that suggests that they are safer and more effective.
Read more at Absolute Pharmacy.