Newly Opened Sugarloaf Pharmacy Brings Personalized Medications to Gwinnett County Residents, and Their Pets

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Sugarloaf Pharmacy resurrects the pharmacy experience of the mid-1900s, with personalized service and expertise to help customers understand their medications and feel confident about what they've been prescribed.

Sugarloaf Pharmacy, a privately owned, independent pharmacy, opened its doors this month. Sugarloaf Pharmacy offers the same pricing structure as the big box pharmacies, like $4.00 generics, with the added benefit of the personalized service you can only get from a locally owned and operated store.

Pharmacist and owner, Kerry Gourdikian, has worked for over 22 years as a retail pharmacist. He has established new pharmacies in Gwinnett and several surrounding counties. Kerry has also completed specialized training as a compounding pharmacist, and focuses on providing education and support for patients with special needs.

One of the most important features of Sugarloaf Pharmacy is the ability to "compound" or personalize medications. Prior to the advent of mass drug manufacturing in the 50's and 60's, nearly all prescriptions were compounded to accommodate the specific needs of the patient. In present day, the role of the pharmacist has changed to that of a dispenser of prepared medications, and most pharmacists are no longer trained to compound medications, forcing patients to adhere to a “one size fits all” approach that simply does not satisfy the needs of some.

"A compounding pharmacist can personalize medicines for patients who need special strengths, dosage forms, or even flavors,” said Kerry. “He or she can also exclude ingredients from medications that may conflict with patient allergies or sensitivities. For example, an oral medication may be compounded to a topical cream, a liquid medication, a sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablet, or suppository. We can also prepare medications that are no longer available commercially. We can order the main chemical ingredient and compound the formulation."

Roy Brown, Kerry's partner and co-owner, is a retired international business executive who worked for many years in the medical services industry. "While some pharmacies only carry a basic supply of the most commonly used medications, we will carry a very comprehensive inventory of medications,” said Brown. “For example, we carry a very sophisticated assortment of medications as prescribed by oncologists in their treatment of various cancers, pain management centers, as well as other specialty treatment centers."

Benefits of Compounding Pharmaceuticals

Sugarloaf Pharmacy will work closely with pain management physicians, gynecologists, dermatologists, as well as veterinarians, to prepare the medications that will best serve their human and animal patients. Some of the major categories of compounded medications are hormone replacement therapies, skin creams and ointments (fading creams, anti-wrinkle preparations), pain medications, children's medicines, and veterinary prescriptions.

An example of a compounded medication for human patients is the pain medication for treating tennis elbow. Many patients take ibuprofen orally, but a compounded cream which can be directly applied to the painful joint is oftentimes the better option. This would eliminate any side effects such as stomach discomfort since the medication goes directly to the painful area.

Brown says, "Veterans returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan who have experienced trauma from nearby lED explosions often have terrible headaches/migraines. We can compound creme pain medications that are applied to the forehead or temples to help alleviate and lessen this pain."

Veterinarians' patients are sometimes difficult to dose. "Their keen sense of smell can make a pet finicky when we try to persuade them to take medications,” Brown says. “We can compound the drugs to taste like tuna or salmon for cats, which is generally more palatable to them. Beef flavoring will enhance a medication that a dog may have previously refused,” Kerry added. “One animal patient was a parrot who loved a medication compound that tasted like fruit. This special service lessens the stress on the animal, as well as the animal’s owners.”

Kerry has a passion for patient education, and believes that non-compliance is rampant. "Probably 50% of patients fail to take their medication properly because they do not know what they are taking or why it is prescribed. As a result, heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes are on the rise. Our goal is to help patients have better health through a better understanding and proper use of their medications. We have a consultation room at our pharmacy so that we can take the time to help patients understand the dosage, frequency, and possible side effects from the medications that they are being prescribed. This allows us to respect a patients' privacy and comply with Federal HIPAA laws (protecting a patient’s personal information)."

On the OTC side, Sugarloaf Pharmacy will carry a very comprehensive line of vitamins and supplements from NOW® , the # 1 selling supplement brand. NOW products are manufactured under pharmaceutical conditions, and all raw materials and ingredients are fully inspected and tested at the NOW in-house laboratories prior to use. Additionally, a broad array of NOW personal care products will also be available, including their special facial care line and oral hygiene products. Sugarloaf will also stock well-known Nivea brand personal care products.

Sugarloaf Pharmacy carries diabetic supplies, basic durable medical equipment, and some specialty products. One example is male condom catheters, which reduce the rate of urinary tract infections and decrease the occurrence of pressure wounds in incontinent patients.

Sugarloaf Pharmacy boasts a diverse and multilingual staff. Kerry speaks five languages: English, Armenian, Arabic, French, and Turkish. One of the staff members speaks English and Bosniak. Kerry is also currently seeking an employee who is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Visit the Sugarloaf Website to review a more complete list of commonly compounded preparations together with possible applications. Customized, personal service and individualized care are the hallmarks of this new business.

Sugarloaf Pharmacy is located at 4825 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville, next to Starbucks. The hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The telephone number for Sugarloaf Pharmacy is 770-220-7770. For more information, please visit http://www.sugarloafpharmacy.com.

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Cynthia Sutt
Rock Paper Scissors LLC.
(678) 442-1825 102
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