Thomas Paine, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary said, “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” In other words, he felt we should be suspect of the value of things that come easily, and Kirk, the pharmacist and pharmacy manager at NW Remedies Compounding Pharmacy in Olympia feels the same way. NW Remedies and their dedicated staff are proud to offer our community of humans and animals, high-quality, customizable medications in a variety of different formats, and they’ve been doing so since 2009.
Long-time residents may remember Randy’s Compounding Pharmacy, tucked inside Ralph’s Thriftway. A few years ago, the pharmacy finally got a home of its own, just a stone’s throw away, and in the same parking lot.
NW Remedies is a compounding pharmacy, which is different from what Kirk defines as a traditional pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens. Traditional pharmacies often offer medicines in “one-size-fits-all,” Kirk explains, whereas the compounding pharmacy is the complete opposite.
“You could say we are niché or customized medicine,” Kirk says, with the majority of the remedies being allopathic, or western medicine in nature. Essentially, compounded remedies offer more flexibility for the individual and can treat a myriad of disease states.
“Say someone can’t swallow.” Kirk explains, “We can take the same medicine that was found in tablet form and turn it into a suspension (liquid), a transdermal cream, or a suppository, for example.”
The pharmacists at NW Remedies can prepare unique dosage forms containing the ideal dose of medication for each individual in forms that are not commercially available such as transdermal gels, troches, chewies, and lollipops. Medications can also be free of problem-causing ingredients like dyes, sugar, lactose, or alcohol.
The highly customizable nature and extreme attention to detail that goes into creating the remedy results in higher quality and lesser quantity of medicine, says Kirk. He feels the gratitude that patients often express when they receive their customized formula, and Kirk enjoys seeing the patients take a more active role in their health.
He shares a heartwarming story of an experience where he was able to help a pediatric patient with their epilepsy. “I received a call from Seattle Children’s Hospital, asking if I could make a specific strength of valproic acid.” When Kirk said he could, no problem, he recalls that the sigh of relief on the other end of the receiver was palpable. The hospital had called many pharmacies, and for reasons unknown, Kirk was the only one so far that was able to say yes. “To me it was normal, I was just doing my job,” he remembers, but he could tell by the exuberance and elation that his “yes” had meant a lot.
Medicine for your Four-Legged Family Members Too
We all want the best for our children, and our pets, and for our own bodies. Kirk sort of chuckled when he reported that, “pet owners take better care of their pets than themselves. There’s plenty of data to support that.”
That may be why NW remedies Compounding Pharmacy does a majority of their business with feline and canine patients. Kirk says that many of the remedies they compound are for cats and dogs with cancer, facing end-of-life scenarios. The pharmacy can compound flavored medications that are more palatable to animals like fish or the perennial favorite, bacon.
Kirk says compounding medicines is kind of like baking. You follow the recipe with great care and attention to detail and then end up with something the recipient knows you’ve put your all into.
It’s not as if compounding is simple though. These are highly-trained pharmacists with an extensive breadth and depth of knowledge not found at traditional pharmacies. There are more training opportunities and occasions to learn, due to the sheer amount of materials they work with.
NW remedies don’t offer sterile compounding like solutions for IVs or injectables, but they can source and make nearly everything. “It’s highly likely we can make what the patient wants,” Kirk says. However, prescriptions from physicians are still required.
NW Remedies is also the South Sound’s largest retailer of professional-line, ultra-pure nutraceuticals and homeopathies. Favorite brands like Thorne, Biotics, Boiron, and Standard Process can all be found inside NW Remedies where their extensive retail selections are open to the public.
Kirk and his staff are a fountain of knowledge not only in the realm of pharmaceuticals, but also vitamins, supplements, and even providers. “We work with a lot of naturopaths,” Kirk shares, adding that their professional network of providers in our area is quite extensive. “If you’ve heard about something unique from a friend or neighbor and call us up trying to locate it, we can direct you to one of the trusted professionals we work with.”
Whether it’s hormone therapy you’re after, pediatrics, podiatry, adrenal/thyroid, wound and scar care, dentistry or veterinary, check out NW Remedies for a customized solution.
1851 State Ave NE, Suite 105