Are Nutraceuticals the Answer for Patients with Chronic Conditions?


During a presentation at the American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance's Pharmacon in Orlando, FL, several panelists discussed the use of nutraceuticals in managing conditions like chronic pain.

There are a variety of options for chronic disease state management: prescription medications, including opioids; and alternative therapies, such as physical therapy; and diet control. During presentations held at the American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA) Pharmacon in Orlando, FL, several panelists discussed the use of nutraceuticals in helping to manage chronic conditions like pain and inflammation.

Dr. Robert Bynum, who is the CEO of ByPro Nutrition, discussed the use of nutraceuticals in successfully managing his own chronic pain, and how these supplement products may help others. In a seperate discussion Devin Patel, PharmD, who is the founder of Zen Nutrients, advised pharmacists in attendance what to look for in a nutraceutical product, specifically, he said, the idea is to focus on targeting a disease condition.

Patel said that Zen Nutrients has 5 products that target a number of different areas, including Podivite, which targets foot and ankle pain, Neurazenx, which provides neuropathy support, Onco-V, which provides support for patients going through cancer treatments, Woundvite, which, as it names suggest, provides support for wound healing and VItaback, which targets neck and back pain and aching joints.

“Patients don’t want to take 5 or 6 different vitamins a day, so they are shifting toward targeting disease,” he said.

Targeting pain and inflammation was a common theme of many of the vitamins discussed during the meeting.

Chronic pain is a disease state, said Bynum, and more than 100 million individuals in the United States experience it. According to a survey, 50% of those with chronic pain felt they had little or no control over it; 77% reported feeling depressed; nearly 90% do not sleep well; and 70% have trouble concentrating.

“Chronic pain comes from inflammation that goes unchecked in the body. Chronic pain has no biological purpose,” Bynum said. “People with chronic pain feel hopeless. That’s why they come in (to pharmacies) looking miserable. They ARE.”

Bynum discussed ByPro Nutrition's nutraceuticals Dodecin and Triargin. Before turning to nutraceuticals, he said, he unsuccessfully tried other treatments for managing his lower back pain, including spinal injections, essential oils, weekly physical therapy, massages, an anti-inflammatory diet, losing weight, and prescription medications, which he found “intolerable,” and came with adverse effects. “I refused to be on narcotics,” he added. “I left the pharmacy and went to the health food store.”

Supplements, Bynum said, gave him control over his pain, although he was not pain-free. Although it was the best solution he had found for managing his condition, he said the down sides were that cocktail of supplements he was taking was inconvenient and expensive.

Inflammation is a root cause of pain, according to Bynum, but is caused in multiple ways. Both ByPro Nutrition products are designed to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

Both Bynum and Patel noted that, independent pharmacists are in an ideal situation for carrying and recommending nutraceuticals to their regular patients. The personal connections typically forged by community pharmacists lend themselves well to patient consultations to address needs and treatment options.

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