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Dr. Steven Hotze vs. the Endocrinologists:

The Battle Over Hypothyroidism Diagnosis and Armour Thyroid

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Updated June 14, 2006

Dr. Steven Hotze vs. the Endocrinologists:
November, 2005 -- All out war is being waged between Dr. Steven Hotze, author of a book published earlier this year, "Hormones, Health and Happiness," and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). The controversy centers on an appearance Dr. Hotze made on the CBS Early Show on September 19, 2005, to discuss his book. In the interview with CBS host René Syler, Hotze made a head-on assault against conventional endocrinology -- along with its main source of funding, Synthroid, one of America's top-selling and most profitable prescription drugs. (You can view Hotze's tv appearance online / Appearance on CBS Early Show / September 19, 2005.)

In the CBS interview, Hotze took issue with his perceived flaws in how hypothyroidism is diagnosed. Said Hotze:

"This is what I hear from women. "I've been made to feel like a hypochondriac. I've got these problems." What are the problems? Loss of energy, fatigue, hair loss, difficulty with weight, mood swings, can't think clearly, mood swings, go to bed tired, wake up tired, toss and turn all night, sluggish bowel function, joint/muscle aches pains, elevated cholesterol, loss of the lateral third of the eyebrows, enlarged tongue, they don't feel the romantic moods and inclinations, and they go to the doctor, and the doctor does a blood test, and goes 'your thyroid is normal.' How do you think that makes a woman feel? She feels like "well, maybe it's in my mind." The doctor gives her an antidepressant.
Hotze then explained his philosophy of giving a therapeutic trial of Armour Thyroid when a patient presents with symptoms. He said:

Conventional doctors rely strictly on blood tests....That doesn't work. Because 95% of the people alaways fall within the range. That's how they define the range...So in my opinion...we listen to the patient and let her tell us her symptoms. And then we will treat her based upon her clinical symptoms and give her a therapeutic trial of thyroid.
Later in the interview, Hotze took aim directly at Synthroid, while explaining his preference for Armour:

Armour Thyroid's been around for 100 years. Synthroid...synthetic thyroid -- it's not even the active thyroid hormone, nor is Levothroid or Levoxyl. These are synthetic thyroid hormones that the drug companies have perpetrated upon the public, convinced the endocrinologists and doctors to use. And they put the women on these drugs. And I say this...If you're taking a synthetic thyroid preparation and you still have the symptoms of low thyroid, it's not working. And you ought to have a trial of Armour Thyroid.
The AACE clearly disagreed with Hotze's comments, and wrote a letter of response to CBS dated October 18, 2005.

In the letter, Dr. Bill Law, President of the AACE, expressed his "extreme concern and disappointment," calling the interview a "thinly veiled infomercial for his practice and book."

The AACE also criticized Armour Thyroid, saying:

Animal-derived desiccated thyroid, which Dr Hotze endorses and describes as "natural," is not a natural form of thyroid replacement for humans at all. It is an obsolete product obtained from ground-up cattle and pig thyroid glands. The chemical composition is quite variable, since only the iodine content is measured, and the amount of biologically active thyroid hormones in each tablet is not quantified. This makes it extremely difficult for even a trained specialist to properly adjust the dose to fit each patient's needs.
For context, it's important to note that AACE as an organization relies heavily on funding from Abbott Laboratories, manufacturer of Synthroid (See AACE's Corporate Partners list). Many of the members of AACE's leadership, as well as influential general members, are also recipients of hefty grants, speaking fees and honorarium, research funds, free drug samples, free patient literature, logo gift items, and other financial and material support from Synthroid's manufacturer.

It's also important to note that in recent history, whenever Synthroid has been criticized publicly, AACE has come to its defense by issuing public statements, or conducting public relations efforts in support of Synthroid.

For example, Synthroid came under serious fire in 2001 when the FDA refused the manufacturer's request to bypass the required FDA drug approval process, and instead required that the drug receive FDA approval, or phase out manufacturing. In a scathing April 26, 2001 letter to Knoll Pharmaceuticals, Synthroid's manufacturer at the time, the FDA wrote:

The history of potency failures...indicates that Synthroid has not been reliably potent and stable.
The FDA also outlined what they called "a long history of manufacturing problems," including recalls due to potency and stability problems, deviations from good manufacturing practices, and products that were of low dosage.

NEXT: What else has the AACE done?

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