When considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there are two primary options to consider: compounded BHRT and over the counter BHRT. Compounded BHRT is formulated by a compounding pharmacist to meet individual needs, while over the counter BHRT is a one-size-fits-all approach. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the differences between compounded BHRT from a BHRT compound pharmacy and drugstore hormone products, as well as the benefits of each. American Integrative Pharmacy (AIP), led by Dr. Neema Yazdanpanah, provides safe and proven compounding medications to patients in Long Beach, Torrance, Los Angeles, South Bay Orange County, Southern California areas, and online nationwide.
What is BHRT?
BHRT stands for Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, which is a type of therapy that uses hormones that are identical in structure to the hormones naturally produced by the human body. As we age, our hormone levels start to decline, which can lead to a number of different symptoms and conditions such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and decreased libido. BHRT can help to alleviate these symptoms by restoring hormone levels to a more balanced state.
BHRT can be prescribed in a variety of forms, including creams, gels, pills, patches, and injections. These hormones are often compounded or mixed by a compounding pharmacy, rather than being mass-produced by a pharmaceutical company. Compounding allows for a more customized approach to hormone replacement, as each patient’s individual needs can be taken into account.
The Difference Between Compounded BHRT and Over the Counter Hormone Products
When it comes to hormone replacement therapy, there are two types of options available: compounded BHRT and over the counter hormone products. While both may seem similar, there are important differences that patients need to consider before choosing a treatment option.
Over the counter hormone products, also known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), are readily available in drugstores, health food stores, and online. These products are marketed as natural hormone therapies, and some claim to be made from plant-based sources. However, unlike compounded BHRT, they are not custom-tailored to an individual’s specific needs.
Compounded BHRT, on the other hand, is a personalized hormone therapy that is prescribed and made by a compounding pharmacist. They work with the prescribing physician to create a hormone therapy that is unique to each patient. Compounded BHRT can be made in a variety of dosage forms, such as creams, gels, capsules, and troches, and can be tailored to the exact dose and ratio that is best suited for the patient’s needs.
One of the key differences between the two types of hormone therapies is the way in which they are regulated. Compounded BHRT is made in a licensed compounding pharmacy, which is regulated by state boards of pharmacy and the FDA. This ensures that the compounding pharmacy is held to the same standards as traditional pharmacies, and that the medication is safe, effective, and consistent. In contrast, over the counter hormone products are not regulated by the FDA, which means that there are no guarantees of quality or safety.
Another important difference is the level of customization that is available with compounded BHRT. Since every person’s body and hormonal needs are unique, compounded BHRT can be personalized to address specific issues and symptoms. This can be particularly beneficial for women going through menopause or experiencing other hormonal imbalances, as it allows for a more precise and effective treatment.
Benefits of Compounded BHRT
There are many benefits to choosing compounded BHRT over over-the-counter hormone products. First and foremost, compounded BHRT is personalized to the specific needs of the individual patient. Compounding pharmacies can customize dosages, forms, and combinations of hormones to address the unique hormonal imbalances of each patient. This allows for a more tailored treatment approach that is not possible with over-the-counter products.
Another benefit of compounded BHRT is that it is made using bioidentical hormones. These hormones are derived from natural sources, such as yams or soy, and are identical in chemical structure to the hormones produced by the human body. This makes them more easily absorbed and utilized by the body, leading to more effective treatment outcomes.
Compounded BHRT can also be delivered in a variety of forms, including creams, gels, capsules, troches, and more. This allows patients to choose the delivery method that works best for their lifestyle and preferences.
Furthermore, compounded BHRT is typically prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional who specializes in hormone therapy. This ensures that patients are receiving safe and effective treatment, and that any potential side effects or complications are addressed promptly.
Overall, choosing compounded BHRT can lead to improved symptom relief, increased quality of life, and a more personalized treatment approach. If you are considering hormone therapy, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider who can guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision about the best treatment option for your individual needs. On the other hand, over-the-counter hormone products, such as creams, gels, and supplements, are not personalized to the patient’s individual needs. They often contain lower doses of hormones that may not be effective for everyone. Additionally, these products may contain synthetic hormones that are not identical in structure to those produced by the body, leading to potential side effects and risks.
It is important to note that over-the-counter hormone products are not regulated by the FDA, meaning there is no guarantee of safety or efficacy. In contrast, compounded BHRT is regulated by state pharmacy boards and must adhere to strict quality and safety standards.
Choosing a compounding pharmacy for BHRT also allows for more flexibility in dosing and adjustments. A compounding pharmacist can work with a healthcare provider to adjust the dosage and formulation of the hormones to address any changes in symptoms or hormone levels.
Potential Risks of Over the Counter Hormone Products
Over the counter hormone products may seem like a convenient option for those seeking relief from hormonal imbalances, but they come with a number of potential risks that should be considered before use.
One major concern with over the counter hormone products is the lack of regulation. These products are not subject to the same rigorous testing and quality control standards as prescription medications, which means their safety and effectiveness cannot be guaranteed. This is especially concerning for individuals with pre-existing health conditions or those taking other medications, as these products may interact negatively and cause harm.
Another risk is the potential for improper dosing. Over the counter hormone products typically offer a one-size-fits-all approach to hormone therapy, which can lead to under or over-dosing. Hormone levels vary greatly among individuals, and without proper testing and individualized dosing, users run the risk of not achieving the desired therapeutic effect or experiencing negative side effects.
Lastly, over the counter hormone products may not be as effective as compounded BHRT. These products typically contain only a few types of hormones, while compounded BHRT can be customized to address a wide range of hormonal imbalances. Compounded BHRT can also be delivered in a variety of forms, including creams, gels, and pellets, which may be more effective for certain individuals.
Overall, while over the counter hormone products may seem like an easy solution for hormone therapy, they come with significant risks and limitations. Choosing compounded BHRT from a trusted compounding pharmacy is a safer and more effective option for addressing hormonal imbalances.
Why Choose a Compounding Pharmacy for BHRT
Compounded BHRT offers a more personalized approach to hormone therapy, tailored to meet your individual needs. This is because compounded BHRT is made specifically for you, based on your hormone levels and health history, by a licensed compounding pharmacist.
Another benefit of compounded BHRT is that it is often made with natural, plant-based ingredients, rather than synthetic hormones found in over the counter hormone products. This can lead to fewer side effects and a more natural hormone balance.
Compounding pharmacies also offer a higher level of quality control and regulation compared to drugstore hormone products. This means you can trust that your BHRT is being made in a clean, safe environment with high-quality ingredients.
Furthermore, a compounding pharmacist can work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are receiving the correct dose and formulation of hormones. They can also monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
In summary, choosing a compounding pharmacy for BHRT offers a more personalized, natural approach to hormone therapy with a higher level of quality control and regulation. Consult with your healthcare provider and find a reputable compounding pharmacy to start your BHRT journey.
How to Get Started with Compounded BHRT
If you’re interested in the benefits of compounded BHRT, it’s important to know how to get started. Here are some steps to take:
- Talk to your healthcare provider. Before starting any hormone therapy, it’s important to discuss your options with a healthcare professional. They can help you understand the benefits and risks of compounded BHRT and help determine if it’s the right choice for you.
- Find a reputable compounding pharmacy. Look for a compounding pharmacy that is licensed, accredited, and has experience with BHRT. Ask for referrals from your healthcare provider, or do your own research online.
- Schedule a consultation with a pharmacist. A pharmacist who specializes in BHRT can help you understand the different hormone options available and can work with you and your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that’s customized to your specific needs.
- Have your hormones tested. Before starting BHRT, it’s important to have your hormone levels tested to determine if you have a deficiency. This will help ensure that the treatment plan is tailored to your specific needs.
- Begin your BHRT treatment. Once you’ve discussed your treatment plan with your healthcare provider and pharmacist, it’s time to start your BHRT. Remember that it can take some time to find the right balance of hormones, so be patient and communicate any concerns with your healthcare provider and pharmacist.
California Pharmacy’s Online Compound Prescriptions
American Integrative Pharmacy is located in Torrance, CA serving residents in and around Orange County, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Lomita and surrounding areas. Online prescription sales are available across the US.