Linda Elsegood: I'd like to welcome my guest, Dr Masoud Rashidi. He was from California, the owner with his wife, Dr Anna. They own their own compounding pharmacy in Folsom. Thanks for joining us today, Masoud.
Masoud Rashidi: Thank you, Linda, for having me on the show.
Linda Elsegood: Could you tell us what made you decide to get into pharmacy?
Masoud Rashidi: It started back in high school. My dad knew a pharmacist, and I was able to shadow with him for a day. It was interesting how you can help people and get to know them. I wanted to pursue pharmacy after that.
Linda Elsegood: Wow. That's amazing, isn't it? So how long have you been a pharmacist now? Did they know about LDN?
Masoud Rashidi: I've been a pharmacist for 15 years now, since 2004. That's when I graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. That's where I received my doctorate degree and started working a few months thereafter. I started working at a chain, like everybody else out of school. They did not know about LDN. After a few years, I started working at a chain in California. A couple of years later, I decided to explore, because there was a need for a compounding pharmacy in town. There was none available at the time. So, we had rotations back to school to learn about compounding, but we still didn't know about LDN until I began compounding and started our own company in 2007. That's where we became involved in compounding LDN.
Linda Elsegood: So, in your pharmacy, what forms of LDN do you offer?
Masoud Rashidi: We provide a few different ones. Mainly, we do capsules in many different dosages. We also do lozenges. We've compounded a topical, such as a transdermal application; also a liquid, both in aqueous solution or oil, depending on the situation The kid may take the oil or not, so we go from there, depending on what flavors we can incorporate into the different formation. We pretty much do every possible dosing that is available right now.
Linda Elsegood: And what strength do you normally start with? Do you do a micro-dose?
Masoud Rashidi: Yes, we do micro-dosing; actually we've done a few of them. Our most common one, of course, is the typical dosing, 1.5 mg, 3.0 mg, and 4.5 mg, but the last few years everything has changed. We’re doing so many different doses every day. We've done from 0.1 mg all the way to 9.0 mg.
With micro-dosing, we do from 1 microgram to 5, 10, depending on where are going to end up with that particular patient and their needs. We've been doing both, like several different dosing, and we send our products to third-party testing to ensure potency and quality.
Linda Elsegood: Having spoken to so many pharmacists, it's very difficult to say that one microgram of LDN is very difficult to know. It's very hard to prove. You have to find the right people to have it tested. Lots of people, I'm sure, who take LDN are not aware of all the efforts that compounding pharmacies must go through. Would you like to tell us a bit about that?
Masoud Rashidi: We received two different chemicals of Naltrexone from a couple of different wholesalers. Then we send it for testing after compounding to determine the best one to use. It’s not a requirement to do all this testing, but we go above and beyond to make sure we get the right dosing. We send samples to the third-party lab to be tested to see if it is within range. Legally, you can have 10% variation on the capsules, but in our lab, we like to keep it less than 3% to be even more accurate. When we send it out, we tried to keep it less than 5%, especially when you get to low doses. Ten per cent is a lot of variation when dealing with one microgram, so we try to keep that even lower than what's legally allowed to ensure higher quality. In the past, they've rejected a chemical because it had too much water content.
Linda Elsegood: What kinds of doctors are you dealing with? Naturopathic doctors, pain specialists, MD’s, and other prescribers?
Masoud Rashidi: Yes, you are right on. One of our biggest prescribers is a nurse practitioner who specializes in women's health and sees many people with Hashimoto's and autoimmune. We have an MD, after going to the LDN Research Trust Conference a few months ago, has become big on LDN. We have a few naturopaths. I go to different doctor's offices and educate them on LDN. In California, unfortunately, a lot of naturopaths cannot prescribe; they must have oversight MD’s. They must find a naturopath who can prescribe it because not every naturopath in California can do so. We do have MDs, nurse practitioners, a variety of different doctors, even paediatrics. One of our best cases was an autism patient, with a prescribing MD. It was amazing. Every time I think about it I get goosebumps because of what happened. A few days later, the mom calls and says, “Oh, my kid is actually communicating with two siblings!” It was three days later at 0.1 milligrams. It's been about three months, and she's one of the best advocates for LDN. She calls us all the time. This child is talking more and more with the siblings and the parents and having eye-to-eye contact. The mom said it was life-changing, and that's what we hear all the time. My life has changed after LDN. It's rewarding when you hear those words, and that's why we keep doing what we're doing. We continue to conduct seminars for the public and for the doctors to increase awareness. It's been very good for the patients, and our goal is to increase awareness on how great it is and how it can help in so many ways, especially with all the research articles available now.
Linda Elsegood: What case studies do you have, feedback from patients, and their conditions?
Masoud Rashidi: One of the biggest ones we get is RA or rheumatoid arthritis. They get a lot of good response. After a week or two, they can move their fingers, and they don't have much pain. They've tried all these different drugs, and nothing works. Now after a week or two, it's amazing sometimes. For some patients, it takes a few months, but sometimes, within a week they call you back, and it's like, “Oh my God, what is this? This is working amazingly.” One amazing result was an MS (multiple sclerosis) patients. I was brand new to compounding, six months. We didn’t have that many employees, so we knew every patient that came in the door. He comes in with a wheelchair. He’s tried everything. We consulted with MS experts, and that's how we started with LDN, just speaking with them. I kid you not, three months later, he comes in, WALKS into the pharmacy. I'm like, whoa! He was in tears. He says, “I’ve been in a wheelchair for so many years. I've tried all these drugs, and nothing has worked. This has been amazing.” That's when we started promoting LDN more, talking to different doctors about it. We get to a lot of good feedback like that. There are just too many of them to share.
Linda Elsegood: What about patients with GI problems? Have you had any feedback from those?
Masoud Rashidi: Actually, we’ve seen IBS, IBD, Crohn’s disease, and things like that having really good results. Of course, as we all know, not every drug is going to do 100% for every patient. But we’ve had about 80% good results. The funny part is that they’ve tried all other drugs that are commercially available, and nothing has worked. At this point, they contact us. After so many doctors, so many drugs, and they come in and then have good success with LDN. Every time we do our seminars, people come in and ask, “Oh, would it work for this?” So, we start researching. Our latest question, Mom called us and said, “Okay, my daughter's addicted to narcotics. They put her on Suboxone. What can I do with LDN? She's now more addicted to Suboxone than she was addicted to narcotics.” We're researching that right now. It's amazing how one drug can treat so many different conditions.
Linda Elsegood: Definitely. Still talking about GI, do you have any patients using it for SIBO, (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)?
Masoud Rashidi: I've read a lot about it. We have a patient wanting to try it, but the doctor was not willing to prescribe it. We referred care to this new physician. This is our first case, and we'll find out hopefully soon.
Linda Elsegood: What about Lyme? Is that something you've seen
Masoud Rashidi: Lyme…yes, we have. So many people go undiagnosed, and then they get diagnosed, and they don’t know what to give them. Then they're on pain meds and stuff like that. We had a Lyme patient, we talked to her doctor and put her on LDN. It has helped her a lot with her symptoms. We've had quite a few patients, but she was a really severe case with multiple issues. About two and a half months later she was off many of her medications, and she was feeling much better. She could resume driving, not being on all these different drugs. Previously, she was depressed. Now she gets up, and she can do things in the morning. We’ve had other cases with very good results as well.
Linda Elsegood: Okay. And have you got vets around who prescribe LDN for animals?
Masoud Rashidi: I've talked to quite a few veterinarians in town. We’re writing a protocol on how to use LDN for pets. One veterinarian has used it, and it helps with all the issues that humans have. There are a lot of articles on that. We've been starting them on the lower doses. We do make it mostly liquid in an oil suspension so that it lasts longer. We have had a few now. The vets have been very happy, and the owners have been happy. The dog had arthritic pain and could not move as much. We gave him the LDN, the veterinarians prescribed it, and then a month or so later the dog is doing much better. Veterinarians talk to each other. We get more questions from different veterinarians every day and hope that we can get more awareness of LDN for pets. It works for them. We've seen results, few, not many, but I've read a lot of research studies on it. I am hoping that it's going to become more popular sooner rather than later in the pet world, too.
Linda Elsegood: Right. It's all to do with raising awareness and making the doctors feel comfortable. Not surprised that you have so many MD’s prescribing LDN. Again, they are traditionally trained and many of them take some convincing to look outside the box. You were saying ND’s in your area often can't prescribe the LDN. What about physician assistants? Are they allowed to prescribe?
Masoud Rashidi: Oh yeah, they do. We have one who's a big proponent of it because he's seen really good results. He's a functional medicine PA. He involved the doctor and everybody else. It's contagious when you see good results. They tell each other, and they start calling it in. Yes, we have quite a few PA’s that prescribe. Not as many as I want. They're coming on board because we’re holding seminars in large scale now.
Linda Elsegood: Yes, PA’s tend to have more time to listen to patients than doctors. It's amazing what these service providers are doing. We'd be lost without them.
Masoud Rashidi: You're absolutely right. As far as they have more time to spend with the patient because doctors have a lot of other things going on at the same time.
Linda Elsegood: When you have a chronic disease, let's say MS or lupus, even fibromyalgia, trying to get the diagnosis isn't easy. And then you’ve got to find somebody to help you to get the right treatment because obviously everybody is different. It also helps to have that patient, doctor and pharmacist relationship, doesn't it? You know, the triangle. Presenting LDN to more doctors and letting them know that you're there to answer any questions or queries they may have I would think helps them become more confident in prescribing LDN.
Masoud Rashidi: That's true. Even in our patient's seminar, we had last month, we had four prescribers show up at the seminar that was for the patient. It was very interesting. In future seminars, we may broadcast on Facebook Live or somewhere, so more people can be reached who cannot come in. All our seminars are free. We do this for awareness. We have people come in and share their stories. Patients talk to each other, and then they start getting up and talking to the whole group. That's amazing, too, because then they are hearing from the patient, not from us.
Linda Elsegood: Of course, patients, as soon as they learn about LDN, they then go and find a doctor or educate their own doctor. I think patients also play a big part in raising awareness of LDN, especially when they have good results.
Masoud Rashidi: Exactly. We give them a whole binder. We've seen that patient take those binders to their doctor and show them some of the research studies, because some doctors are still thinking of Naltrexone as a whole dose Naltrexone and they're like, “Oh, you don't need it.” We tell them, take this to your doctor, and that has helped. You are absolutely right. Patients are the best advocate for this whole thing because they see results.
Linda Elsegood: We’ve come to the end of the show. Thank you so much for having been my guest today. It really was a pleasure speaking with you.
Masoud Rashidi: Thank you for having us, and it was a pleasure speaking with you.
Linda Elsegood: Thank you.
This show is sponsored by Doctors Masoud and Anna Rashidi. They graduated in 2004 from Western University with a Doctor of Pharmacy degrees. Soon after in 2007, they opened the PCAP accredited Innovative Compounding Pharmacy located at 820 Wales Drive, Suite 3, Folsom, California 95630. To better serve the community, for more information, please call (866) 470-9197 or visit www.icpfolsom.com.
Any questions or comments you may have, please email me. Linda, firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for joining us today. We really appreciate your company. Until next time, stay safe and keep well.