Have you or a loved one experienced PMS or post-partum depression, hot flashes, mood swings or other symptoms related to hormone imbalance?
You may have already sought the advice and services of Michelle Gray, pharmacist/owner of Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley. She’s been consulting on the topic since 2003, but recently received her Professional Compounding Centres of America (PCCA) designation as a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Specialist.
That’s good news for women in the East Kootenays who’ve struggled with conditions related to hormone imbalance, which can also include painful intercourse, infertility, decreased libido, sleep disturbances and vaginal dryness.
Applying the current science
“Re-doing the work and gaining the designation allows me to more formally consult and recommend individualized compounds and treatment protocols for patients’ physicians to approve. It also gave me a good refresher on the science,” Michelle says. “With brand new information that’s come to light, it prompted me to go back and reflect on my current practice and how I’m able to better help people balance their hormones.”
Compounded remedies more on target
With so many products available that don’t work with the body to address certain conditions or changes, people often take something that isn’t right for them, Michelle says. “They can all have unwanted side effects, and as they’re not biologically identical to your body, they don’t work the same way our natural hormones do to bring things back into balance.” She asks, “Instead of taking an anti-depressant for hot flashes, for example, why not take a hormone balancer?”
Three-person relationship important
It’s important for patients to bring their physician into discussions around HRT treatments and other hormone-balancing strategies. Michelle suggests first talking to your doctor about this option to make sure they are willing to collaborate.
Getting the process started is easy. Your first appointment with Michelle takes about an hour; an online questionnaire, filled out beforehand, helps determine the most appropriate tests to check your hormone and metabolite levels. Once the lab results come back – a copy of the results and very specific recommendations go to your physician, who authorizes the prescription – Michelle discusses them with you and compounds the bio-identical hormones. Check with your extended benefits plan about the potential for coverage for HRT! There are no DIN numbers, so you’ll be given an ingredient list for the reimbursement process.
Upping their professional game
Heidi Radcliffe, a Registered Pharmacy Technician at Gray’s, has also increased her professional credentials, by completing her PCCA C3 non-sterile compounding certification. The new designation allows her to compound non-injectable prescriptions such as creams, suppositories, capsules, suspensions, lozenges and rapid-dissolve pills.
To learn more about HRT or other treatments, drop into the pharmacy at 417B-304 St. in Kimberley or call 250-427-0038 for an appointment. And follow what’s new on the Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy Facebook page.