Shortage Of Thyroid Drugs Poses Difficulties For Cancer Patients

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The Shortage Of The Drugs Poses Difficulties

For patients like Lisa Meidl and as many as another 30,000 patients, although their thyroid cancer is easily treatable, the access to the medication is beyond reach. According to the manufacturer of the drug, almost forty percent of the patients undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer will not be able to acquire the drug until later in the summer. This shortage is posing extreme difficulties to patients like Lisa who are then forced to make tough choices.The Alternatives Available

A large number of the patients are choosing to delay the treatment for their cancers. Other may opt for continuing the treatment even when they suffer the side effects of the medications. Such side effects include fatigue, depression, and feeling of confusion. Many people like Lisa Meidl have postponed their treatments and are forced to live with their cancer, thereby limiting their choices of overcoming the cancer. This is causing severe problems for a large number of patients suffering from thyroid cancer.

Thyrogen Acts As A Stimulating Hormone

The drug Thyrogen is a thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is injected in patients who have undergone surgery to remove their thyroid glands. The drug is required for diagnostic tests and treatment. Before the availability of Thyrogen in 1998, patients without thyroid glands had to discontinue the use of thyroid hormones six weeks before the treatment and tests. The drug is effective for patients to overcome the side effects of hormone withdrawal. Presently, there is no alternative to Thyrogen for patients who are using this medication.

Shortage A Big Concern

Thyroid cancer is treatable but there is a thirty percent possibility of its recurring and is one of the fastest growing cancers among American women. According to Dr. Herbert Chen who leads the endocrine cancer disease group at the University of Wisconsin, the shortage is a big concern. Dr. Chen prescribes Thyrogen to almost seventy-five percent of his patients before commencing the treatment. Because thyroid cancer moves slowly, physicians are advising their low-risks patients to wait for the end of the shortage before commencing their treatments. However, several patients who have a history of aggressive tumors cannot delay their treatments and their doctors are advising them to tolerate the significant side effects of their treatment plans.

Shortage Due To Increased Demand

According to officials at Genzyme Corporation, which is the company that manufactures Thyrogen, the supply is expected to remain scarce until July. The shortage in the supply of the drug is a result of inventory restrictions and the inability to meet the constantly increase in the demand for the medication. Additionally, the company is in the transition phase of its bottling and labeling procedures to a new plant that is causing further delay. Although, doctors are advising patients to delay their treatments for two or three months, they are unsure about the result of the delay. After a surgery, physicians want to assist the patients to get back to their normal lives. The shortage of Thyrogen is causing a delay in the patient’s ability to lead a normal life, which can be very frustrating.