Thursday, June 2, 2016

Annoying Arrogance at Pfizer.com

Earlier this week, on another site, I got into a discussion of the starch in Cytomel, a thyroid supplement used by many gluten-intolerant hypothyroid patients. The discussion referenced Hashimoto's Disease, which is a separate problem from gluten intolerance, but correlated. Someone claimed that 90% of people with Hashimoto's Disease have drastic gluten reactions--although their reactions may or may not include celiac sprue. (Apparently a majority of people who have the celiac gene don't develop the symptom called sprue, which is called that because it looks like the infectious disease also called sprue.) The problem these people were discussing was that Pfizer had apparently used wheat gluten to prepare Cytomel.

It gets worse than that, if you follow the thread around the Internet. Pfizer officially says Cytomel may contain potato, corn, or wheat starch, most likely corn...but if that corn happens to be E. coli corn, it will affect gluten-intolerant people just as wheat does. In fact, some people who don't have the celiac gene, and don't react to natural wheat, may have reactions to E. coli corn. A lot of E. coli corn has been produced in the United States recently.

Personally, I've always been borderline hyperthyroid--the skinny kind of undiagnosed celiac when I was eating wheat products, so energetic it annoys people when I stopped. My hyperthyroidism is, however, a function of the same genetic quirk that made my mother hypothyroid for years. Then after years of being disabled by thyroid failure, barely functional on the maximum safe dose of pure animal thyroxin, she developed Hashimoto's Disease. The doctor said, "Well, you can take immunosuppressants..." The doctor had of course recognized that Mother could not, as most of us can, simply eat less and exercise more and control our weight and metabolism.

I happened to have picked up a book--sometimes I don't know why I pick up things. I was in my early twenties; my own weight, figure, and metabolism were fabulous. Whether it was idle curiosity, or whether I'd thought "This might help Mother," I don't remember. Anyway I had the book to leave with her.

It helped. She lost weight. She felt great. She dumped the thyroid hormone supplements and started feeling "young" and energetic...even before going gluten-free.

So, in aid of the hypothyroid discussants, I posted a link to that book here, and I also posted a complaint at the Pfizer web site. It's hard; their web site is not exactly user-friendly--among other things it seems unable to process standard punctuation marks. And this is the incredibly arrogant retort I received:

"
Thank you for your inquiry to Pfizer Medical Information. We are pleased to provide you with the attached information in response to your specific request. To view our response to your inquiry, double-click on the attached PDF icon. By opening the attached PDF icon, you are acknowledging that you specifically requested the information attached to this email. PLEASE NOTE: This e-mail is intended only for the specific person who has requested information about a specific Pfizer Inc product.
Please contact Pfizer Medical Information at (800) 438-1985, or Hospira, a Pfizer Company, at (800) 615-0187:
· If you did NOT request this information
· If you have any other questions regarding Pfizer products
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Pfizer at (800) 438-1985 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Please visit pfizer.com/products or hospira.com/en/products_and_services to view the U.S. prescribing information for Pfizer's FDA-approved products.
******************************************************************
Please do NOT reply to this message. For medical inquiries on Pfizer prescription products, please contact us by calling Pfizer Medical Information (800-438-1985) or Hospira, a Pfizer Company, (800) 615-0187. Alternatively, if you are a healthcare professional, you may access medical information on Pfizer prescription products or submit an inquiry to us on www.PfizerMedInfo.com.
******************************************************************
In order to view the attached file, you must have Adobe® Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have this software installed, you can download it at no cost from www.adobe.com.
"

Hmph. If anybody out there wants to stick it to Pfizer where it'll hurt them most...this is not just another fad weight loss diet book. The authors discuss the basic idea of revving up your metabolism in a way that will empower readers (who stick with the diet) to do all kinds of things besides look cute in bikinis. Your metabolism determines your tolerance for heat and cold, your need for sleep, your hormone cycle and thus your fertility (if you're a woman trying to have children), your moods, even your I.Q. score. Many people's thyroid activity is mildly "hyper" or "hypo" at times. You can use the information in this book to mellow out if you tend to be hyperthyroid (tense, skinny, restless, hyperactive, impatient), which is rare in adults, or to re-energize yourself if you tend to be hypothyroid (sluggish, overweight, first to feel tired or cold, depressive, slow-witted), which becomes more common as people age. I can't say much to recommend the basic weight-loss menu the authors provide, which is not for celiacs, but I can say that the general information behind it really does work.

Yes, if you want to lose weight, you do still have to eat less and exercise more. If you're hypothyroid you've probably tried doing that a few dozen times, and it's never worked for long. What's special about this book is that it explains how to tailor your diet and exercise plan specifically toward your weak thyroid activity, so this time, very likely, diet and exercise will work....even if you have Hashimoto's Disease.

Adjusting the specific balance of calories, and schedule of exercise, restored the "get up and go" to Mother after it "got up and went." It didn't turn her into Jack Lalanne, or Victoria Principal. It did get her weight down by four full dress sizes, get her through an associate degree in college, and allow her to walk the teenaged traditional students into the ground. And did I mention...no more thyroid medication! For thirty years!

Pfizer so truly deserves for all of its thyroid patients to get similar results from this book. You can click on the link and buy it from the Amazon Associate who uploaded the photo (theoretically I get a small commission that way too), or you can buy it from either address at the very bottom of the screen for $5 per book + $5 per package.