"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fireside Compounding Pharmacy------

I will never recommend Fireside Compounding Pharmacy in Palm Desert, CA to anyone. Ever again. I had been using Town Center Pharmacy, also in Palm Desert, but after they made several errors (and each time acted like I was inconveniencing them by asking that the errors be made right), I switched to Fireside. At first they were fine, but after a very shoddily packaged/mailed package over the summer, and now this latest fiasco (detailed below), I am literally sickened by what has become a month long saga in trying to get an order for bioidentical hormones straight.

I posted this review of Fireside Compounding Pharmacy today on Yelp!:

I was seen in my physician's office on 12/2, and they were supposed to call in prescriptions for three different bioidentical hormones. When I returned to NC several days later, I called the Fireside to give them my credit card number (I have had to ask them at least 3 times NOT to keep the number on file). I find out the prescriptions have not been called in (I will deal with the doctor's office separately), but I had refills on two of the three hormone prescriptions (progesterone and testosterone) that I needed. The third hormone, ESTRIOL, is to be taken intravaginally, and I had not filled that prescription at Fireside before. I asked the young woman I spoke to, Amy (who had to ask me my name three times, and 3 times I had to repeat my credit card number to her) if she would call the doctor's office, get the order for the ESTRIOL, add it to the order for the other hormones and ship it to me. She said she would, and I was careful to ask her to please make sure that the vaginal applicators were to be included with the prescription, they are hard to get locally if the prescription is not filled locally.

I get the box of hormones a week later, and instead of the ESTRIOL that I needed, the box contained a 90 day supply of BI-EST, a hormone that I took at one time many months ago, but do not take currently. Amy apparently never called the doctor's office, just took it upon herself that ESTRIOL and BI-EST are the same thing (they aren't) and filled the BI-EST without ever calling the physician's office for the right prescription. If she didn't want to call the doctor's office, she should have told me that from the beginning and I would have called them myself; it would have saved me a big hassle.

I call the pharmacy, and email the doctor's office. The office talks to the pharmacy, the ESTRIOL is ordered. The pharmacy robo-calls me 12/14 to tell me the estriol is ready. I call back, explain to Michelle that there was an error and I shouldn't be charged for the estriol. She blows me off by telling me fine, if there is a problem she will call me back, but otherwise they will just ship the ESTRIOL.

A week goes by and no ESTRIOL, but I attributed it to the holiday delay in shipping. Meanwhile, my doctor ordered another compounded medication for me, and Fireside calls to tell me it's ready (and to get my credit card number.) About 20 minutes later, they call back again, they found an ESTRIOL prescription for me, and do I want that shipped too? They never bothered shipping it to me when they said they would. I explained the whole situation to them AGAIN, they tell me they have to talk to the pharmacist, and then they call me back to tell me in order to get the ESTRIOL, I have to mail them back the BI-EST so they can reuse it. Of course, the BI-EST has to be mailed back at my expense. I was told when they received the BI-EST then they would mail the ESTRIOL to me.

I get a package in this morning's mail----my compounded medication was in it, and so was the ESTRIOL------packaged incorrectly. The estriol is to be used intravaginally, but the container sent to me will not accomodate the vaginal applicators. I email the doctor's office, they call the pharmacy, pharmacy tells them the prescription was not sent in with the correct information----doctor's office tells me the prescription is written as Estriol Vaginal Cream 2.5mg/gm, apply 1/4tsp QD in the evening. Not to mention that 3 weeks ago when I asked for this prescription, I was very, very clear with the technician/assistant I talked to to PLEASE make sure that vaginal applicators were included. Pharmacy tells my doctor's office I have to send back the incorrectly packaged prescription back to them (again, at my expense) so the other prescription can be mailed. Pharmacy just calls me just to blame the doctor's office (they have filled tons of estriol prescriptions, and if they weren't sure this was supposed to be used intravaginally they should have called the doctor's office to clarify, so their blame game holds no water for me) and to tell me AGAIN that I have to mail them back their prescription, which I am doing so within the hour.

And to note, this is not the first problem I have had with this pharmacy. I got an order of about $275 worth of medications this summer, shoddily packaged in a very thin padded envelope----and it was sent MEDIA MAIL rate (which can take up to two weeks for delivery, and is ONLY to be used for books and DVDs). Very unprofessional business practice.

Two things not detailed in the Yelp! review:

  • When I was told I had to return the first "mistake" prescription to them, I was told it was so that they could reuse it. I find that very unsettling---that the pharmacy would take a prescription supposedly custom compounded for me, sent cross country twice, and then the pharmacy will pass that off to another patient. From my perspective, I would worry that it had been contaminated in some way....I was very careful not to open the jar while it was in my possession, but not everyone would be that careful. I don't know if they really would pass the prescription off to another patient, or if they would just throw it out and they lied to me just to ensure I would be maximally inconvenienced by having to mail the wrong hormone back to them (at my expense, even though I was in no way at fault for the error----I'll never figure that out!) but whatever, I would never be comfortable using any of their products again. I wish I did not have brand new jars of all my hormones from them right now, but I cannot afford to replace such a huge order at another pharmacy and throw out the products from Fireside. My deepest apologies to anyone I may have referred to Fireside Compounding Pharmacy.

  • I know I have repeatedly said in the past that compounding pharmacies are a great source of bioidentical hormone practitioner referrals, and for the most part, that is still true. However, I went on Fireside's website today and happened to notice that they have under practitioner listings a Nichole Gardner at Platt Wellness Center. They obviously do not update their website information; Platt Wellness Center is no longer at that address, and Nichole Gardner no longer practices at that office, and hasn't for quite some time. Finding a good bioidentical hormone practitioner is important to patients, and to have information on a business website that is incorrect and misleading shows a lack of concern for customers.

Please be sure to thoroughly check out any new doctor that you are considering for hormonal (or any type) of care; I have links on the right side of the blog page for state medical boards (you would be surprised at what you find!) and for the board certification status of your potential healthcare provider. I can't stress this enough, I have done research on some doctors that patients have written to me about, and some of what I have uncovered is scary!

I've had to disable the comments section on this blog because of some anonymous and troubling posts that were left several months back. However, if you have a compounding pharmacy that you have used for a while and are particularly happy with, drop me a line at holyhormones@gmail.com and I will compile a list to post here on the blog. Good customer service, and a passion for bioidentical hormone optimization for patients deserves to be recognized!

Hormone Replacement Therapies Are Hot Again

Finally-----a media article that is supportive of bioidentical hormones!

And even better yet, the pharmacist quoted, Peter Koshland, is someone who really knows his stuff----I've corresponded with him, and he is passionate about bioidentical hormone balance. If you are in the San Francisco Bay area, he is a great resource for bioidentical hormonal balance practitioner referral. I may even start using him for my own hormones, since both pharmacies that I have used in the Coachella Valley can't seem to get an order right to save themselves!

Click here to check out this morning's article from The Huffington Post........enjoy the rest of your week!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Health Conditions Can Menopause Cure?

Hope everyone had a great, safe, memory making holiday (for those of you who celebrate---for those of you who don't---like me----hang in there, it's almost over!)

Today's article is from Yahoo Voices ---- and it discusses several common medical conditions that are actually alleviated by menopause........nice to know there's some good news about declining hormones! For the record, I would far rather have hormonal balance (remember, this is not just about menopausal symptoms, hormones affect every system in the body) than to merely get rid of my PMS.

This is a slow news week in general, so if I don't post again this week, it's because there are no articles worthy of sharing with you. You never know, I am finishing up a book and may have a book review for you by the weekend. Enjoy this last week of 2011!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Great quote for the day!

"A desire to be in charge of our own lives, a need for control, is born in each of us. It is essential to our mental health, and our success, that we take control."

- Robert F. Bennett

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Uterine Fibroids Cost The U.S. Billions Of Dollars: Study

I had a partial hysterectomy in 2002 because of uterine fibroids; although they weren't huge, they were causing big problems with my menstrual cycles (I was ranging from 21 to 65 days) and I was losing so much blood I became severely anemic. At the time, removal of the uterus was the best option, but I sure wish I had known then what I know now about hormonal imbalances and low progesterone levels. My supposed overnight stay in the hosptial for the hysterectomy turned into an 8 day stay, as I had to go back to surgery for bleeding issues and then developed a urinary tract infection that required IV antibiotics.

Check out this article from The Huffington Post.com about the financial cost of uterine fibroids, not just in medical costs but in lost wages, etc. It's staggering, and I wonder how much of it could be alleviated with just a portion of the women affected getting their hormones bioidentically balanced.

Happy Winter Solstice----it's 65 degrees here in Charlotte right now, so a pretty mild start to the official winter season. The days start getting longer now----yay! This is a good time to remind you that even with the business of the holiday season, don't forget to take your Vitamin D (and your other vitamins too!) as even on sunny days this time of year the sun is not strong enough to give us the Vitamin D we need.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DHEA May Help Sex, Symptoms After Menopause

I've been taking DHEA for over 5 years, so this morning's article from WebMD.com piqued my interest. Two things to note:

This study involved a very small number of women

Although DHEA is available over the counter (I get mine from my physician as a supplement), it should only be used if your levels are low----please talk to your doctor about taking it! I get my DHEA levels checked at least twice a year with a blood test.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Testosterone: 13 Surprising Facts

Good slideshow this morning on The Huffington Post.com dealing with facts about testosterone. Click here to view the slideshow......and hope everyone is doing well this last week before Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great quote for the day!

"If wrinkles must be written upon your brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old."

- James Abram Garfield

Friday, December 16, 2011

TV Alert!

Hi everyone, sorry for the late notice------I just learned that Suzanne Somers is going to be on Dr. Oz today, talking about being cancer free for 10 years. Should be a lively discussion. Check your local listings for the time and channel in your area. Good thing here in the Charlotte market the show is on at 4 pm, and then repeated on another channel at 9 pm......ironically, today at 4 pm I will be on a phone consult with my doctor so I will miss the first showing!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Natural remedies that have been shown to be of value for preventing or treating influenza.- Alan R. Gaby, M.D.

Dr. Carr (my hormone physician) shared this article with his patients recently, and with cold and flu season upon us, I thought it was good information to share with you.

I am a huge believer in using supplements to boost the immune system, and they sure have worked for me. I take both Vitamin C and Vitamin D, and I think in the last 5 years (since I have been on bioidenticals) I have had maybe two very light colds. Period. I haven't been sick at all otherwise, and I am out and about with people just about every single day.

Two important notes:

Dr. Carr prefers to use a liquid form of Vitamin C

for better absorption. I take two packets a day, the taste isn't bad but I just put it in a small glass of Crystal Light or lemonade and drink it.

Make absolutely sure you are taking a good brand of Vitamin D, I use Ortho Molecular. I learned an important lesson about this a couple years ago ---- I ran out of my regular supply, forgot to order it, and grabbed a bottle of Vitamin D at the drug store. Two months later I had my Vitamin D level checked (routine, I have it done at least twice a year) and my level had tanked big time. I now never let my supply of the Ortho Molecular brand get too low!

Both the Vitamin D and Vitamin C are available through Dr. Carr's website, the office number is 760-779-55111 and ask for Jason. Wishing you a happy, healthy, sneeze/cough free week!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hi everyone---I have not forgotten you!

I'm back from my trip to CA to see Dr. Carr (great appointment), and I am slowly catching up with life here in NC. I'll be back to posting in a few days-----enjoy the rest of your week!