Listen Up!

Listen Up!

Women’s International Pharmacy


We need your help!megaphone

Your freedom of choice and ability to receive compounded prescription medications from the pharmacy of your choice is at risk!

In a move that exceeds what federal law allows, FDA is trying to limit the number of compounded medications a pharmacy is able to ship over state lines. If this action is finalized, Women’s International would be unnecessarily and severely restricted in the compounded medications that could be delivered to our patients!

We may not be able to ship your compounded medication to you!

You can help, however! You can do something to prevent this from happening! Please read the information and follow the link to let your congressperson know you need your compounded medication.

There is a new proposed legislation in Congress (H.R. 2871, The Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017) that clarifies that FDA does not have the authority to limit the ability of pharmacies to fill prescriptions for compounded medications across state lines.

Key points of H.R. 2871 include:
  • Clarifying that FDA does not have the authority to limit patient specific prescriptions for compounded medications that can be filled across state lines.
  • Allowing practitioners to use compounded medications in their offices, if allowed by their state.




It is vitally important that you let your House representative know that you support H.R. 2871, and that you would like your Congressman or Congresswoman to cosponsor and support this bill. Please tell them your story, and how not getting your compounded medications would personally impact you!  There is a suggested message below that you can feel free to use or modify. After you explain to them how important your compounded medication is to you and that you are able to receive it from a pharmacy of your choice, please ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2871.

Thank you for your support!

Sample Message: “I use compounded medications, and ask that you cosponsor and support H.R.2871, a bill that would preserve my right to get compounded medications from the pharmacy of my choice. FDA, without legitimate authority, is trying to severely limit the availability of compounded medications.

This bipartisan bill, called Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017, protects my rights to choose my pharmacy and to get my compounded medications from the pharmacy of my choice, even if it is in another state.

Please let me know your position on H.R. 2871, and please let me know if you will sign on as a cosponsor. Thank you.”

Listen Up! 2017-07-28T17:12:45+00:00

Book Review – Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD

Book Review – Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy


Paleo Dog is a primer for the care and wellness of your dog. However, by following the principles outlined by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD, you might do yourself and your human household a lot of good as well.

Dogs are “opportunistic omnivores,” meaning that they will eat almost anything, but dogs actually evolved eating prey animals. So, what does a modern-day Paleo Dog eat? The Paleo Dog diet excludes all cereals and grains, and processed or synthetic foods. Paleo Dogs eat primarily bones, organ meats, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and fish oils. This is basically the same diet that has become increasingly popular for humans, with names like the “Stone Age” diet or “Caveman Diet.”

According to the authors, approximately 78 million dogs live in US households, with 85% of those dogs eating a typical commercial dog food diet (which closely resembles the composition of a human “fast food” diet). About half of the dogs eating commercial dog food diets are overweight, and about 75% of them have some sort of dental disease by the age of three. The death rate due to cancer is over 40% for dogs under ten years old. Death in dogs typically occurs between 10-13 years of age, and most often from cancer.

Many dogs show early signs of health disturbances that owners and veterinarians might accept as normal. For example, excess weight leads to joint disease, heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes, liver disease, skin and coat problems, decreased immune function, cancer, and a reduced life expectancy. (Sound familiar?) If your dog has “doggy” breath, this is most likely a sign of dental disease. If the dog’s coat is lifeless, greasy, flaky and not very appealing to stroke, this could be another sign of trouble. In addition, smells coming from every pore and a build-up of a waxy substance in the ears could indicate allergies. Your dog’s eyes might also exhibit a build-up of mucous in the corners, or persistent tear production. Dogs with allergies might also have bouts of wheezing or sneezing, or constant scratching of the ears, or scooting to scratch his butt. Doggy flatulence, along with foul smelling and large volumes of stool, may also be present. None of these symptoms are “normal” with a Paleo Dog diet.

The authors suggest that the Paleo Dog diet will address these and many other health-related symptoms or behaviors. Following the guidance in this book should help improve a dog’s digestion and periodontal health, as well as produce healthier skin and a shinier coat. In addition, allergies can be tamed and muscle strength, performance, and stamina can be improved.

The authors include lots of instruction to help transition your pet from a typical grain-based diet to one containing lots of raw meats and foods. While perusing the recipe section for Paleo foods to feed your dog, you might find that the recipes sound appealing for people as well (the Paleo Wraps sounded particularly tasty to me).

Paleo Dog addresses many other health-related topics beyond diet. For example, the authors describe how we expose our canine companions to a whole host of interventions that their wild cousins never encounter, such as vaccinations, spaying and neutering, deworming, and chemicals to control fleas. In addition, our pets face greater exposure to the chemicals we put in our yards and homes. Is it any wonder that they endure less than perfect health?

The book also offers a wonderful tableau of alternative treatments to explore for your dog, or even for yourself. The authors include information on treating your companion with herbs, acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, flower essences, and massage therapy. People who have not sought out these types of treatments before may be pleasantly surprised at the many options available.

Paleo Dog offers many practical tips for ensuring a long, healthy life span for both you and your canine pet. The authors include so many brief (but good) explanations for the dazzling array of choices that you may find yourself going back to it, over and over again, for years to come.

  • Hofve J, Yarnall C. Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books; 2014.
Book Review – Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD 2017-12-14T12:26:03+00:00

Book Review – Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Jeffrey Dach, MD

Book Review – Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Jeffrey Dach, MD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy


Dr. Jeffrey Dach is an active blogger and has gathered his information into a wonderful book called Bioidentical Hormones 101. Usually I cringe when I see an article or listen to a presentation with someone claiming to have the truth about bioidentical hormones. But if you are looking for someone who is really digging into the truth, you can find it here.

Dr. Dach negates the statement that “There isn’t any research involving bioidentical hormones” by providing a long list of references to the contrary, along with plenty of documentation on his patient cases and his personal observations.

This book is for people who want to understand the concept of helping the body operate as it was meant to operate, or who want information to begin a dialogue with their practitioner, as well as for practitioners who need resources to confirm or validate their treatment plans. The groundwork is already done.

You may find that this book is not easy to read from cover to cover (although it is very readable), but you will want to add it to your reference shelf for when you want to get “just the facts” about bioidentical hormones and the industry around them.

  • Dach J. Bioidentical Hormones 101. Bloomington, IL: iUniverse Publishing; 2011.
Book Review – Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Jeffrey Dach, MD 2017-12-13T16:10:21+00:00

The Art and Science of Compounding

The Art and Science of Compounding:
Where Are We Now? And How Did We Get Here?

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy


In the evolution of the practices of pharmacy and medicine, the preparation of “therapies” typically predates even the naming of the therapy. In primitive societies, the healing arts were a combination of sorcerer, priest, and medicine man, someone who was armed with “materia magica” rather than “materia medica.”

Looking back at the intertwined histories of pharmacy and medicine may help build a framework for understanding some of the issues we are grappling with today.

Historical Benchmarks

The earliest written medical texts were in fact a pharmaceopia written in the Sumerian language, dating around 2100 B.C. These recipes described the use of oils, alcohols, wines, fats, honey, milk and wax as vehicles, as well as processes such as extracting with water and oil, infusing with wine, pulverizing, boiling, filtering, and spreading. Tablets found from the 7th century B.C. provide evidence of approximately 250 drug substances of vegetable origin, 120 of mineral origin, and 180 of other origin.

Fast forward to the vast advances in the Persian world, and we find evidence of syrups, confections, plant oil extractions, and other combinations of materials. By then, weighing and measuring tools were also developed and subsequently documented by the great physician and philosopher, Avicenna, who unified all known medical science into his Canon Medicinae. Translations of these texts into Latin eventually brought this knowledge to the western world.

Original Pharmacy Professional Organizations

The American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) was founded in 1852, and evolved into the American Pharmacist Association. In 1898, the organization now known as the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) was established.

Medicine and pharmacy (as well as many other practices) have their roots in the medieval guild system, which served to protect the artisans who held a particular expertise. Modern-day professional organizations replicate the guild structure, and continue to exist primarily to protect the art and craft of their respective industries (see box at right). In pharmacy, the guild philosophy of preparing for a single use still applies to the process of compounding, where a preparation is completed only at the request of a prescriber (i.e., a prescription).

However, the industrial revolution had a huge impact on the practice of pharmacy. The process of manufacturing demanded that institutions be capitalistic, and that production generated a profit. Rather than production for single-use, some preparations lent themselves to the efficiencies that manufacturing could supply. These manufactured products could be produced in quantities, making the process less expensive, as well as becoming more easily standardized.

In 1820, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) was established to promote the standardization of formulas. While compounding was still the most prevalent way of formulating medications, it became less common as the pharmaceutical industry began providing standardized doses and dosage forms.

Another benchmark in the evolution of pharmacy in the US occurred in the 1870s when patent and trademark laws allowed companies to advertise to ensure the creation of markets for manufactured products. Eventually, the promotional free-for-all that ensued led to the passage of the first Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which was replaced by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, first established in 1938.

While pharmacists were still using a broad knowledge of compounding to serve their customers, by the 1920s the so-called “patent medicines” accounted for approximately 20% of their business. The first third of the twentieth century ushered in even more radical changes in manufacturing that affected the practice of pharmacy. Chemistry and biochemistry had advanced such that new molecular entities could be created. The emergence of antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, hormones, radioactive agents, and vaccines created new fields in pharmaceutical science.

Over time, the traditional art of compounding began to fade away. By the 1960s, the concept of a “clinical pharmacy” had taken hold. Rather than being tied to the creation of preparations, pharmacists became more focused on dispensing drug products, in consultation with patients and practitioners. As a reflection of that change in thinking, compounding course work started to be eliminated from or minimized in the professional curricula.

A Revival, Of Sorts

Although many in the profession considered compounding to be a dead end, credit is due to the formation of a company called the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA). Their mission statement includes these words:

One patient. One prescriber. One pharmacist. A triad relationship with a common goal: achieving a positive therapeutic outcome for the patient. And in the midst of this relationship and this common goal is PCCA, the leader in pharmacy compounding since 1981.

PCCA recognized that manufactured medications could not always meet individual patients’ particular needs and some pharmacists began to embrace the challenges with great enthusiasm.

Moreover, the tools of the trade for compounding pharmacists had also evolved far beyond the mortars and pestles and balances of yesteryear. Automated mixing devices and instruments for qualitative and quantitative analyses were adapted to the preparation of smaller batches of individualized preparations. Now, there are precision electronic balances, which even allow for recording the weights of each active and non-active ingredient. Computers are used to document all instructions and transactions.

More and more companies began to participate in the ancillary services spurred on by the resurgence in compounding. Companies that supply the active ingredients, new dosage and delivery forms, specialized packaging, computer programming, specialized equipment, educational programs, training programs, laboratories and equipment to verify process and quality, and monitoring equipment flourished. Specialized sterile equipment even became affordable for pharmacy businesses.

The FDA and Other Challenges

The first sign of trouble for this burgeoning resuscitation of compounding came in 1989 with an internal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) document stating that, although the FDA probably did not have the authority within its statutes, they intended to regulate pharmacy compounding. By 1992, the FDA put its full force behind this position by issuing its first Compliance Policy Guide regarding compounding and beginning to inspect pharmacies.

To avoid the limitations of the FDA regulations on their authority to inspect, FDA inspectors enlisted the aid of state pharmacy inspectors to conduct their visits. Often, the results were citations and warning letters applying manufacturing regulations to pharmacy compounding regulations that were impossible to meet in the context of a pharmacy. Of importance to note here, is this action by the FDA was a serious incursion into the question of State versus Federal rights. Up to this point, regulatory activities in the health sciences had traditionally been the responsibility of the individual states.

The FDA position became more solidified in the passing of the FDA Modernization Act (FDA-MA) in 1997, which extended FDA regulations to include oversight of pharmacy compounding. In the following years, several lawsuits were initiated challenging the regulations. Of prime importance was a case that went before the Federal Supreme Court challenging the restrictions on commercial free speech when compounding. The outcome was a 5-4 decision preserving commercial free speech.

In the intervening years, a profusion of lawsuits, skirmishes, petitions, and challenges surfaced. In response, the compounding pharmacy industry formed another professional association, the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), to represent their segment of pharmacy practice. Professional pharmacy organizations came together to found the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB). PCAB is a voluntary quality accreditation designation for the compounding industry.

Almost all states made changes in their pharmacy practice acts to include regulation of any pharmacies that sent prescriptions into their states. The United States Pharmacoepia (USP) also made changes to their compendia, in addition to making their recommendations for processes and procedures enforceable upon the practice, and particularly upon pharmacy compounding.

Yet, somehow the layers of regulation and safeguards did not prevent the tragedy involving vials of methylprednisolone distributed between May and October of 2012 by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) that resulted in many cases of fungal meningitis and a significant number of deaths. As it was established later, NECC was operating in violation of the Massachusetts pharmacy practice act by sending thousands of vials to practitioners and hospitals without patient-specific prescription orders. Sending non-patient-specific medication for office supply was not allowed by Massachusetts regulations. Both the State of Massachusetts and the FDA had previously inspected and found problems with NECC, and both failed to take action. A public outcry for more regulation of compounding pharmacy resulted. Many in the industry pointed out that adequate regulations were already in place, but the regulators had simply failed to enforce them.

New Regulations & New Challenges

The NECC tragedy led to the passage of the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA), which was signed into law on November 27, 2013, amending the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Many of the provisions of the earlier act under FDAMA were restored, with the constraints against free speech removed. Specifically, it restores the FDA’s right to create both positive and negative formularies, to put restrictions on interstate provision of compounded medications, and to deter-mine if a compounded medication is “too difficult to compound.”

Recently, the IACP hosted their annual “Compounders on Capitol Hill” event, designed to facilitate member visits with their congressional representatives. The focus this year was on discussing the newly passed DQSA. The intent of Congress in passing the DQSA was to improve patient safety by preventing future occurrences such as the one that happened at NECC; however, there is concern that the FDA will ignore Congressional intent in its implementation of the DQSA.

As of this writing, there are a number of areas within the DQSA that have yet to be clearly defined. For example, it is unclear whether compounding pharmacies may compound non-patient-specific medications for practitioners to administer to patients in their offices. The FDA contends that compounding for office administration is not allowed; however, it is not clearly addressed in the regulations. Further complicating the matter, some states already have clear regulations permitting the compounding of medications for office administration. A second example is whether or not states will have the authority to license FDA-regulated outsourcing facilities. A number of states have started enacting laws under the belief that they have the right to oversee any delivery of drugs within their state.

Another section of the law (Section 503b) creates a new entity called an ” outsourcing facility,” which may or may not be a pharmacy, and which compounds sterile drug preparations to be sent directly to hospitals and practitioners. Outsourcing facilities are directly under FDA oversight. Physicians, as well as pharmacists, are allowed to compound under this act.

Questions arise regarding the standards a practitioner must follow if compounding is done in a medical office setting. For example, the USP has delineated the processes to follow when even low-risk sterile compounding is done. Low-risk sterile compounding is performed when two or more sterile products are mixed together. Will physicians be required to write procedure manuals, certify sterile procedures, and document the environment, as pharmacists involved in sterile compounding must already do?

The DEA’s View of Compounding for Office Supply or Administration

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) contends that any pharmacy that supplies a compounded controlled drug to another DEA registrant’s office (such as a physician) cannot be dispensing because, under their definitions, the drug must be delivered to the final user. Therefore, the DEA believes that the compounding pharmacist is illegally manufacturing a drug. On the contrary, manufactured drugs can be provided for office supply and administration. Legislative relief is currently being sought for office supply of compounded preparations.

The current DEA definitions, as extracted from the Controlled Substance Act, Subchapter 1, Control and Enforcement, are:

  • The term “dispense” means to deliver a controlled substance to an ultimate user or research subject by, or pursuant to the lawful order of, a practitioner, including the prescribing and administering of a controlled substance and the packaging, labeling or compounding necessary to prepare the substance for such delivery. The term “dispenser” means a practitioner who so delivers a controlled substance to an ultimate user or research subject.
  • The term “manufacture” means the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, or processing of a drug or other substance, either directly or indirectly or by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of such substance or labeling or relabeling of its container; except that such term does not include the preparation, compounding, packaging, or labeling of a drug or other substance in conformity with applicable State or local law by a practitioner as an incident to his administration or dispensing of such drug or substance in the course of his professional practice. The term “manufacturer” means a person who manufactures a drug or other substance.

Compounding means the preparation of Components into a Drug product (1) as the result of a Practitioner’s Prescription Drug Order based on the Practitioner/patient/Pharmacist relationship in the course of professional practice, or (2) for the purpose of, or as an incident to, research, teaching, or chemical analysis and not for sale or Dispensing. Compounding includes the preparation of limited amounts of Drugs or Devices in anticipation of receiving Prescription Drug Orders based on routine, regularly observed prescribing patterns.”

To add to the confusion regarding DQSA interpretation, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has its own viewpoint on the dispensing and manufacturing of drugs (explained in the box above) and some of the entities involved have their own definitions of compounding (see the box below).

More challenges, lawsuits, and potentially conflicting interpretations of the regulations are likely to continue. Nevertheless, as pharmacy law changes, the practice of compounding will continue to evolve. The USP has even begun to standardize some of the most commonly used formulas. Compounding pharmacists also continue to bridge an important gap by preparing formulas that manufacturers are temporarily unable to supply, or choose not to supply for economic reasons.

Despite the current disarray in regulations, Dr. Loyd Allen of the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding points out that the future is very bright for compounding. With rapid increases in our body of knowledge about the uniqueness of our biology, physiology, and genetic expression, the demand for individualized solutions for health problems can only increase. And with the practice of pharmacy compounding geared up with twentieth century technology, there are plenty of pharmacists who are not content to be purveyors of mass-produced medicine and stand ready for the challenges ahead.

What is the Current Definition of Compounding?

In addition to the confusion generated by the tortuous definitions of “dispense” and “manufacture” supplied by the DEA, some of the various regulatory entities involved have their own definition of “compounding.” On top of that, each State has a definition of compounding in their pharmacy practice act. The following definitions were published in the May 23, 2014, Compounding This Week, an e-newsletter by Dr. Loyd Allen, Editor in Chief:

  • H.R. 3204 Definition (now in DQSA)
    “The term ‘compounding’ includes the combining, admixing, mixing, diluting, pooling, reconstituting, or otherwise altering of a drug or bulk drug substance to create a drug.”
  • The term “manufacture” means the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, or processing of a drug or other substance, either directly or indirectly or by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of such substance or labeling or relabeling of its container; except that such term does not include the preparation, com pounding, packaging, or labeling of a drug or other substance in conformity with applicable State or local law by a practitioner as an incident to his administration or dispensing of such drug or substance in the course of his professional practice. The term “manufacturer” means a person who manufactures a drug or other substance.
  • FDA Note
    “The term ‘compounding’ does not include mixing, reconstituting, or other such acts that are performed in accordance with directions contained in approved labeling provided by the product’s manufacturer and other manufacturer directions consistent with that labeling.”
  • USP Definition
    “The preparation, mixing, assembling, altering, packaging, and labeling of a drug, drug-delivery device, or device in accordance with a licensed practitioner’s prescription, medication order, or initiative based on the practitioner/ patient/ pharmacist/ compounder relationship in the course of professional practice. Compounding includes the following:

    • Preparation of drug dosage forms for both human and animal patients
    • Preparation of drugs or devices in anticipation of prescription drug orders based on routine, regularly observed prescribing patterns
    • Reconstitution or manipulation of commercial products that may require the addition of one or more ingredients
    • Preparation of drugs or devices for the purposes of, or as an incident to, research (clinical or academic), teaching, or chemical analysis
    • Preparation of drugs and devices for prescriber’s office use where permitted by federal and state law.”
  • NABP Definition(National Association of Board of Pharmacy)
    “‘Compounding’ means the preparation of Components into a Drug product (1) as the result of a Practitioner’s Prescription Drug Order based on the Practitioner/patient/Pharmacist relationship in the course of professional practice, or (2) for the purpose of, or as an incident to, research, teaching, or chemical analysis and not for sale or Dispensing. Compounding includes the preparation of limited amounts of Drugs or Devices in anticipation of receiving Prescription Drug Orders based on routine, regularly observed prescribing patterns.”

For additional information, please consult these resources:

  • The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP): This organization sponsors an advocacy group for patients and professionals, “Partnership for Personalized Prescriptions.”
  • American Pharmacists Association (APhA): . Pharmacists can join the “Compounding Special Interest Group” by clicking on “E-Communities” under the “Get Involved” menu option.
  •, which is produced by the International Journal of Pharmaceu-tical Compounding.
  • Women in Balance Institute,, which is an advocacy group for customized care in women’s health.
  • Alliance for Natural Health,, which is a strong ally for customized care and integrative medicine.
The Art and Science of Compounding 2017-11-20T10:56:36+00:00

Dr. Dalton’s Impact on Women’s International Pharmacy

Dr. Dalton’s Impact on Women’s International Pharmacy (WIP)

– Women’s International Pharmacy

Dr. Katharina Dalton’s studies, and other studies like hers, provided the basis of knowledge for many pharmacists including our founder, Wallace (Wally) Simons. Wally used his scientific understanding of progesterone to benefit the women coming to his pharmacy from the “PMS Clinic” next door. Wally knew the importance of creating a progesterone formulation that would be absorbed via the lymphatic system into the blood stream rather than immediately being broken down by the liver when taken orally. Today, 28 years later, WIP pharmacists are still utilizing and expanding upon the core compounding practices Wally developed. One of our pharmacists, Carol Petersen, was recently recognized in Pharmacy Today‘s June profile edition in an article titled Compound interest: Petersen shares expertise on women’s health, leads APhA-APPM Compounding SIG. The legacy of Women’s International Pharmacy’s mission to find solutions to meet patient-specific needs endures.

Dr. Dalton’s Impact on Women’s International Pharmacy 2017-10-19T15:08:07+00:00

Book Review – The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD

Book Review – The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy


Dr. Gottfried has a revolution in mind—one that may lead to better health for many women. In The Hormone Cure, she not only means to sort out the complexities of hormone balance and make it understandable, she offers solutions and numerous resources to help you attain it.

She covers so much ground that it is difficult to come up with something that Dr. Gottfried misses in this book. She begins by helping you sort out potential hormone imbalances with vivid questions such as:

  • “Increased abdominal circumference, greater than 35 inches (the dreaded abdominal fat, or muffin top—not bloating)?”
  • “Vaginal dryness, irritation, or loss of feeling (as if there were layers of blankets between you and the now-elusive toe curling orgasm)?”

She then walks you through the various hormone dysfunctions or irregularities, and describes the “Gottfried Protocol” specific to each.

Dr. Gottfried goes on to explain that each hormone issue is not independent of other hormone issues and (unlike how she was taught in medical school) combined hormone therapies addressing all of the hormone issues should be used together for the best result, rather than addressing one issue at a time. She further describes the common patterns or trends of hormone issues that she sees in her practice.

In addition, Dr. Gottfried explains how you should present symptoms and talk with practitioners to get the help you want, including treatments and/or prescriptions. She includes a glossary of the terms she uses, in case you are not familiar with the medical terminology, and also provides additional resources for getting tested (even at home) and for finding a practitioner who can help you.

Dr. Gottfried wants to help you create healthy habits, and to use journaling or technology to keep you on task. She offers diet suggestions, many of which tend toward an almost Paleolithic eating style. She discusses insulin and glucose levels at length, and covers many of the issues and health problems associated with insulin resistance. She also covers the problems associated with mercury toxicity in food and dental amalgams, and explains how hormone levels are affected. Questions surrounding environmental estrogen mimics (i.e., xenoestrogens) and eating soy are also covered.

Recognizing that non-medical approaches can also help achieve hormone balance, Dr. Gottfried recommends the HeartMath system for training yourself to reduce abnormally high cortisol levels due to stress, or using the alternate nose breathing from yoga traditions for the same result. (Dr. Gottfried embraces the practice of yoga and is a teacher herself.) She also suggests other tools that may help you along the journey, including Dr. Martin Seligman’s website, which contains questionnaires for assessing your own strengths and happiness.

Dr. Gottfried doesn’t intend to drop you once you have finished her book. She wants to continue to be your coach, and she has gathered up the power of social media: websites, webinars, blogs, emails, referrals, and references so you can continue your journey with her.

Her writing style is engaging and fun, which may lead some to think that Dr. Gottfried’s book is just a lot of fluff (her being a yoga teacher and all!). But, she is a scientist and medically trained at Harvard University, with over 20 years of medical practice and having treated more than 10,000 women. For inquiring minds, she has included a lengthy reference section that should convince even the most skeptical of her credibility.

Some practitioners have not been willing to address the complex problems of hormone dysregulation because they were not taught how to do so in medical school. Learning about balancing multiple hormones may seem daunting to them. However, this book is written in such an organized, simple, and yet scientific fashion, that Dr. Gottfried may well be knocking down some of the barriers preventing women from receiving the help they need to optimize their health. We say, bring on the revolution!

  • Gottfried S. The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol. New York, NY: Scribner; 2014.
  • Seligman MEP. Authentic Happiness.
Book Review – The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD 2017-12-11T17:19:50+00:00

Boric Acid: A Good Fit for Treatment-Resistant Vaginal Infections

Boric Acid: A Good Fit for Treatment-Resistant Vaginal Infections

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy

Vaginal infections may be difficult to resolve if resistance to standard drugs develops.

Boric acid is a mild antiseptic with anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. A clinical review of 14 studies found boric acid to be a safe and effective treatment for vaginal infections caused by resistant yeast. A smaller study of 58 women found that boric acid may provide additional benefit to treatment regimens for resistant bacterial infection.

Ask your compounder about boric acid suppositories or vaginal capsules for vaginal yeast and bacterial infections. Note that this preparation should NEVER be taken by mouth.

Boric Acid: A Good Fit for Treatment-Resistant Vaginal Infections 2017-05-17T15:41:28+00:00

Adrenaline and the Pulse Test

Adrenaline and the Pulse Test

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy


According to Michael Platt, MD, the release of adrenaline contributes significantly to symptoms associated with incontinence. Phil Bate, PhD, a member of the Orthomolecular Medical Society for many years, advocates the use of a simple technique, the pulse test, to detect substances that trigger adrenaline release in the body.

This test, developed in the 1950s by Arthur Coca, MD, provides a reliable and inexpensive method of measuring the adrenaline release caused by allergies and sensitivities to foods and chemicals. When adrenaline is released, the pulse rate goes up. By measuring the pulse rate before and after exposure to particular foods or chemicals, people can determine which substances raise or do not raise adrenaline levels in their bodies. An increase of five beats or more per minute indicates a release of adrenaline. Dr. Bate advises that people not deliberately expose themselves to any known allergen but that they use the test to uncover allergens that they are not currently aware of.

The pulse test helps to uncover hidden adrenaline triggers which may be beneficial in the treatment of incontinence and other disorders. Dr. Coca’s book The Pulse Test explains this test in great detail.

  • Coca AF. The Pulse Test: Easy Allergy Detection New York,NY:Arco Publishing;1956.
  • Platt M. The Platt Protocol for Hormone Balancing: A Wellness Manual for Healthcare Practitioners (unpublished)
Adrenaline and the Pulse Test 2017-11-20T11:09:40+00:00