2009 Another Troubled Year for Endocrinologists

Doctors who treat diabetes and thyroid disease (endocrinologists) are no strangers to unpredictable and unpleasant developments in their field of medicine. In a recent blog I pointed out a number of set-backs encountered in Endocrinology in 2008 http://www.metabolism.com/2008/02/29/a-year-of-stumbles-for-diabetes-care-in-the-us-part-1/ . In today’s blog I begin with part one of three on the latest stumbles in 2009 in this branch of medicine.

1. National Organization of Endocrinologists Attacks Use of Armour Thyroid. The national organization representing endocrinologists (American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists) officially declared that the use of Armour Thyroid (dessicated thyroid tissue, “natural” thyroid replacement) was not recommended for treating hypothyroidism. The AACE based their decision on claims that preparation Armour thyroid was not well standardized and that the “t3” content of Armour might make it dangerous.

My own opinion is that for decades the makers of synthetic “t4” have financed the careers of endocrine leaders in the field of thyroid research. Eventually all teaching in the endocrine community in the U.S. has been homogenized into one mindset that only synthetic “t4” is a valid treatment for thyroid hormone replacement. Recent events have caused the makers of brand t4 to become more defensive. This is a result of insurance companies forcing an acceleration of the use of generic “t4” preparations by their members. To reinforce their position, the brand leaders of synthetic t4 chose this year to essentially wipe out any competition from the Armour thyroid advocates. To underscore the seriousness of the denunciation of Armour thyroid by the AACE, Medicare announced that Armour Thyroid was no longer to be a medication covered by the federal program.

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