Oral medications may be the most common form of pain treatment, but they are also associated with several side effects and challenges, including:

  • Nausea
  • GI tract side effects
  • Adverse cardiovascular events
  • Risk of overuse/toxicity
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Risk of addiction/abuse
  • Ineffectiveness

For example, if a patient is experiencing chronic pain that requires multiple actions of pain relief, they may be prescribed several pills, each with their own dosing schedules and food and drink restrictions. A complex regimen like this can be confusing for patients, especially when taking medications that require more than 3-4 times daily administrations, which could lead to missed doses and overall less effective treatment.1

Alternatively, compounded transdermal (through the skin) pain medications can avoid some of the issues with oral medications. They can “offer benefits such as customizable dosages and formulations, the ability to combine multiple drugs with various mechanisms of action, the likelihood of lower systemic absorption with minimization of side effects, more convenience and consequent[ly] improved adherence to treatment regimens, and minimization of risk of abuse and addiction.”1

Transdermal medications can be applied directly to the sight of pain, bypassing issues with GI tract absorption, thus reducing side effects like nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and liver toxicity. Additionally, the route of administration directly to the site of pain may make it easier for patients to stick to their treatment regimen.2

Furthermore, effective transdermal medications can be made without the use of narcotics, so they may also be useful alternatives when it is necessary to avoid the risks of abuse or addiction to certain oral medications. The formulas for compounded transdermal medications can even be modified if the treatment becomes less effective or tolerated over time without complicating the treatment regimen or contributing to issues with addiction.

Innovation Compounding’s own compounded transdermal preparations are made with the patient in mind. We work closely with healthcare providers and patients to ensure they receive the medication that’s right for them. To learn more about our compounded transdermal preparations, contact us at pharmacist@innovationcompounding.com!


  1. Branvold A, Carvalho M (2014) Pain Management Therapy: The Benefits of Compounded Transdermal Pain Medication. J Gen Practice 2:188. doi:10.4172/2329-9126.1000188
  2. Paudel KS, Milewski M, Swadley CL, Brogden NK, Ghosh P, et al. (2010)Challenges and opportunities in dermal/transdermal delivery. Ther Deliv 1: 109-131.

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