One challenge people have with chronic pain conditions like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) is finding an effective treatment. If you go to a doctor or pain specialist, they might prescribe you one of many different medications or therapies. One increasingly popular treatment option is compounded pain creams.
However, despite their growing popularity, studies suggest that these creams don’t work for either nerve pain or pain caused by joints, muscles, and other stimuli. Or if they do, the effects are minimal.
Dramatically Increasing Costs
The cost of pain creams has grown dramatically in recent years. For example, Medicare spending on these creams, gels, and ointments rose from $13 million in 2010 to $323 million in 2016, an almost 2400% increase! The increase was fueled by price hikes and an increasing number of prescriptions.
As far as the price of these compounds goes, they seem to be dramatically inflated, with a tube of lidocaine compound costing an average of $751, compared to a tube of non-compounded lidocaine costing only about $455. Diclofenac had an even more significant disparity. The compounded form cost over $1500, while the non-compounded form cost only $128 a tube.
The costs seem to be ripe for corrupt practices. According to a recent report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, over 500 pharmacies had suspiciously high bills for these treatments.
In one case, a drug company sent representatives to city employees and got them to sign up for a prescription pain cream that would be free to them. However, the city’s insurance paid over $8000 per prescription for the cream. This was not a drug cream but based on a nonprescription herbal supplement, resveratrol. A bottle of resveratrol pills costs about $60–and it might be more effective (more on this later).
But perhaps it doesn’t matter because those payments represent relief for chronic pain sufferers. Not so, according to a study of these topical skin creams.
To learn whether TMJ treatment can address your pain in Columbus, OH, please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry.