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Mark Atwood
Someone close to me recently posted to her LJ the following:

I hate how doctors treat thyroid medicine like it is a protected substance. This is something I have to take every day for the rest of my life.

I had never heard of this problem before, so I dived in to some `net research, ad confirmed to myself that it is indeed a common problem and a common compaint. This stuff is as life critical to the people who need it as insulin is to type-1 diabetics, and as food and vitamins are to J. Random Human.

This is assinine, this is inexcusable. A few people kill themselves abusing this stuff as a diet shortcut, and the supply gets clamped down like it was the first coming of thionite. If someone wants to hurt themselves in such a stupid way, let them! (But don't let them pass any of the cost onto the public health budgets, either.)
6 comments or Leave a comment
blackcoat From: blackcoat Date: August 25th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, doctors treat Albeutrol the same way. Something that I totally don't understand, as I can't even think of a good side-effect high of it.
wendolen From: wendolen Date: August 25th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
My doctors don't, and I've had friends tell me that if pharmacists recognise your face and you show up with an empty albuterol inhaler, they'll give you a new one no questions asked and no prescription needed...
docorion From: docorion Date: August 25th, 2006 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Leaving aside how doctors treat the substance itself (which I will not defend, because it isn't defensible), it is not, in any way, analogous to either insulin or food. Vitamins are a better analogy, I'll admit. You need to be hypothyroid for *months* to even start having symptoms (you need to be hypothyroid for a month or so for your TSH to go up, that being the measurement used to determine whether you're hypothyroid in the first place). Diabetics can miss one shot and have symptoms; a couple of days and they're visiting me in the trauma room because their pH is less than 7 (normal is 7.4 or so, and less than 7.3 is noticeable by anyone-the patient looks like sh*t).

After you are put on thyroid hormone, you'll notice that your doctor will say something along the lines of 'come back in a few weeks and we'll check your TSH'. It's not that s/he doesn't care what happens to you in the interim, it's that that is how long it takes for your TSH to change and stabilize once you start taking thyroid hormone. So daily or weekly checking is a waste of time and resources, both yours and the doctors. It's the equivalent of asking if you're there yet when you're still getting in the car.

(Finally, if a specific doctor has been burned by a patient using it as a diet supplement, s/he's likely to be more cautious, because s/he's at least somewhat likely to be sued. Regardless of whether the suits proceeds or not, the fact of having been sued follows one like an albatross forever. Every two years, when you renew your license, you have to explain that you got sued, why you got sued, and what happened to the suit. It's like a scab which never heals).
wyckhurst From: wyckhurst Date: August 25th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds to me like you have never personally lived with this condition.
docorion From: docorion Date: August 25th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I have not. But I'm sure I won't be the first to note that physiology often has little to do with how the patient feels. When one is aware that one has a 'hormonal imbalance', and is deprived of the medication for said imbalance, I am utterly unsurprised that one begins to feel bad well before the physiology changes. This doesn't mean a person doesn't *feel bad*, it simply means that there is no *threat to life* from missing a few doses of thyroid hormone. Whereas the threat to life from missing a few doses of, say, insulin, is real and present.
wendolen From: wendolen Date: August 25th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for expressing this, much more clearly than I could. Hypothyroid sucks, and untreated it does affect quality of life. It does not threaten life the way insulin-dependent diabetes can.
6 comments or Leave a comment