Specialty Compounding & Hormone Restoration Therapy
Some pharmacies are trained and equipped to create individualized medication formulations to provide unique dosages or dosage forms to patients. Common products that we specialty compound here at our pharmacy are for hormone therapy.
Hormone Restoration Therapy (HRT), also termed Hormone Replacement Therapy, is therapy designed to restore your own body’s natural hormone balance. As both men and women age, a natural decline in reproductive hormones occurs, such as a decline in testosterone production in males. The decline in production of some hormones creates an imbalance in the body, which can lead to various unwanted side effects.
Quick Overview of Reproductive Hormone Synthesis
Reproductive hormone synthesis is controlled by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from a place in the brain called the hypothalamus. GnRH then causes the release of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. FSH and LH then travel through the blood to cause various tissues and stimulate further hormone production.
- In the testicles, LH stimulates the production of the hormone pregnenolone, which then converts to the hormone DHEA. DHEA is then converted to testosterone.
pregnenolone > DHEA > testosterone
- In the ovaries, LH stimulates the production of the hormone pregnenolone, which through a series of conversions, becomes estrone and estradiol.
- Estrone and estradiol are estrogen hormones.
- Pregnenolone also makes progesterone, whose production increases in the presence of estrogen
pregnenolone > DHEA > estrogens
Role of Specialty Compounding
The role of specialty compounding in hormone restoration is to repair any imbalances that make occur in either men or women via the use of custom-prepared bio-identical hormone products.
For example, towards the end of reproductive years (usually around ages 40 to 45), females generally experience a decline of progesterone, followed by estrogen fluctuations with subsequent decline, which eventually results in menopause. Hormone therapy can assist to minimize the side effects many women experience during this transition. In women, other opportunities for hormonal therapy include concerns with: premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular menstrual cycles, mood disorders including post-partum depression, infertility, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts or ovaries, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and painful intercourse.
In males, testosterone is the most common replacement, as this hormone naturally declines with aging. Low testosterone can present with low libido, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, and sleep disturbances, among others.
There are commercially available prescription hormone restoration products, but these are not customized to fit each person’s own hormone levels. Generally, hormone level testing is done by your doctor (such as with the use of salivary hormone testing), who can then prescribe treatments as required. With specialty compounding, we can formulate each product specific to the individual’s needs. We can also customize the method of delivery, such as by making capsules, creams, gels, or ointments as examples.
If you have any questions about hormone restoration, contact us for more information!
Author: Chelsea Argent, RPh
Our pharmacists have received training from the LP3 Network for Non-Sterile Training in Pharmaceutical Compounding.