Some of my patients wanted me to comment on the recent “Newsweek” article, June 8, 2009, entitled, “Crazy Talk: Oprah, Wacky Cures & You.” After reading the article, I had to smile in how the writers used words in making their point in the article, that is…how crazy is Oprah?
I can only comment on the main attraction of the article which was the women’s health series Oprah had on the air starring Suzanne Somers. The writer made the following statements, “…the 62 year old actress and self-help author rubs a potent estrogen cream into the skin on her arm.” How do you know how potent that estrogen cream is? Most bio-identical hormones compounded by experienced pharmacists are much less potent than the standard pharmaceutical hormones.
“And once a day, she uses a syringe to inject estrogen directly into her vagina.” This comment makes Suzanne Somers sound like some kind of masochistic psycho! What she actually does is INSERT estrogen cream vaginally by using a syringe dispenser so it can be measured accurately. NO needle is used.
The reason I’m familiar with these practices is because I also prescribe compounded hormones to my patients. The media seems to get all up tight about these products being “non-FDA-approved”, but the fact is all the ingredients used in bio-identical hormones ARE FDA approved. The FDA approves drug products and ingredients in the drug (quality control). Compounding pharmacies (that make bio-identical hormones) and retail pharmacies both use FDA ingredients. The FDA regulates and inspects drug industries such as Merck, Wyeth and Upjohn. Bio-identical hormones are not made by big drug companies. They are compounded, which means they are prepared by hand by trained pharmacists to help meet unique needs of the patient including customizing their doses. Traditionally, ALL prescriptions were compounded.
Using chelating agents to help clear the body of certain toxins and ordering IV drips of Vitamin C and other nutrients are not so far fetched when you use these therapies for your own patients and see incredible benefits. And there is evidence based research behind theses therapies!
When conventional therapies don’t work or they produce unwanted side effects, people often look for other alternative options. I see Suzanne Somers as one of those people. Her books and appearances are more of a testimonial (with some research) of her journey through menopause. She wants to let women know they don’t have to suffer with symptoms or treatments that don’t work. How is this any different than some one selling you the newest weight-loss diet that worked wonders for them, or a new drug or supplement that cures everything from insomnia to erectile dysfunction!?
Hormones are prescription drugs. The Oprah show is a platform for her quests to share information and their stories. Then it is up to the viewers to take that information and have an open discussion with their health practitioner on whether such treatments are right for them. Be responsible for your own health care, and that starts with what you watch on TV and what you read. Talk to your health practitioner and ask lots of questions. The ultimate decision is yours.