Thank you to John Voliva for sending me the following article. I've received numerous questions from readers asking if I knew why Midrin was discontinued and so difficult to find. The solution John presents below just never even occured to me... so I thank him on behalf of everyone who has been frustrated by the lack of Midrin supply!
Solution available through pharmaceutical compounding
By John Voliva, RPh
For migraine sufferers, finding a medicine that offers real relief can be a challenge. Many sufferers came to rely heavily on the popular drug Midrin before it was discontinued in 2009 (and then generic versions were pulled from the market in late 2010). Regional shortages of Midrin continue, with sporadic or limited availability, at best. For sufferers of migraines or tension-type headaches, this unavailability has posed a significant problem, as Midrin had been the best medication they had found to treat their symptoms. For those sufferers that also had risk factors for stroke or other cardiovascular issues, it was one of the only migraine medications considered safe for them. Since then, former Midrin-users have been forced to turn to other drugs or remedies to cope with their pain. What if they could get Midrin back?
Many are unaware that there is a solution to the Midrin shortage through pharmaceutical compounding. Compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications, and effectively returns to the roots of pharmacy, where pharmacies make, by hand, medicines that doctors prescribe. Through the years, modern technology and research have allowed more pharmacists to customize medications to address very specific needs not met by major manufacturers.
The active ingredients that were used in Midrin (acetaminophen, dichloralphenazone, and isometheptene mucate) are still available. While pharmaceutical companies are unable to produce Midrin or a generic without clinical trials and applications for FDA approval, compounding pharmacies – which are regulated by state boards – can compound an equivalent prescription medication. Following a precise formula, these pharmacists use the same active ingredients, in the same concentrations, to provide patients another option in treating their migraines.
There are thousands of compounding pharmacists practicing all over the United States and Canada, with the tools and ingredients needed to create a Midrin equivalent. To find one, patients and doctors can go to www.findacompounder.com. Entering a zip code at that site will yield a list of compounding pharmacies within a given radius, as well as information on what to look for in finding a good compounder.
John Voliva is a pharmacist and serves as social community manager at Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA). He has more than a decade of experience owning a compounding-only pharmacy, and has worked hand-in-hand with hospitals, physicians and patients to help solve problems stemming from drug shortages. PCCA has a membership of more than 3,900 independent community pharmacists, and provides them with chemical ingredients, equipment, devices, training and education, among other resources. For more: http://www.pccarx.com/