The rate of autism in America has grown to pandemic proportions. In fact, at 1 in 68 cases per births, autism is currently the fastest growing developmental disability. Although there are still no definitive causes for the disorder, researchers are studying many promising hypotheses, including abnormalities in brain structure and function.
However, the media and the public are not the only ones who’ve taken notice. Decades worth of steady rise in diagnoses has created an intense interest in the pharmaceutical industry’s desire to perfect a medical concoction that helps autistic individuals. Of course until that happens, medical professionals are forced into a guessing game to establish which medication will positively affect which patient.
But the challenge is often greater than just finding the right medicines. Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as it is now referred, have sensitivities to tastes and textures. And that often translates to trouble swallowing medicines in pill form. Although people still often resort to the tried and true method of crushing the pill and mixing it into a favorite food, it’s not always the best option. Some medications are specifically designed to release slowly over time, which crushing will contradict, and others may cause irritation to the mouth or throat.
That’s when we come in. Parents have found much success working with their doctor and a compound pharmacist to find an alternative medicine form or taste their child will accept. Many compound pharmacists have extensive knowledge in compounding for patients with special needs, like autism spectrum disorders. We can often compound custom formulas to avoid gluten, casein, dyes and artificial flavors, all known to sometimes have a negative affect on children dealing with ASD. If the volume of a dosage is problematic, the medication can be made into a fizzy drink using effervescent powder.
While camouflaging a child’s current medication is certainly helpful, compound pharmacists have also been instrumental in providing experimental treatments still in their infantry stage. These include treatments like an oxytocin-based nasal spray, which has had some preliminary success with improving social behavior in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone, plays a critical role in social bonding, something that is quite difficult for children with ASD.
Autism spectrum disorder can have many nuances. As such there are special factors that must be taken into account when preparing medications. The goal of a compound pharmacist is to work with the parent and the physician to customize a treatment that best compliments a child’s needs and lifestyle.
ABOUT VH PHARMACY: VH Pharmacy is a family-owned and operated neighborhood pharmacy. In business for more than 40 years, VH Pharmacy has been under the leadership of Pharmacist Eddy Blanco for the past 11 years. With his extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical compounding, Eddy Blanco has transformed VH Pharmacy into a technologically cutting-edge facility. To learn more about our services, please visit our website at www.vhpharmacyrx.com or call us today at 305.324.8777.