AmeriCares Provides T4 Treatment for Thyroid Awareness Month

Pam Harrison

February 04, 2016

Approximately 25,000 patients with hypothyroidism in the United States were able to take advantage of a free month's prescription of levothyroxine, thanks to the largest donation of its kind made by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals to AmeriCares, in honor of Thyroid Awareness Month.

For a second year now, AmeriCares has participated in Thyroid Awareness Month, during which medication is distributed to over 800 free clinics and community health centers across all 50 US states.

AmeriCares' partner clinics cater to uninsured, underinsured, and low-income patients.

"About 20 million American adults have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, so it's definitely an important issue," Julie Varughese, MD, medical officer at AmeriCares, told Medscape Medical News.

"And by providing this type of donation to our partner clinics, we feel that we are able to help our partners increase their capacity, provide comprehensive care, and reduce overall costs for patients."

January Was Hypothyroid Awareness Month

AmeriCares is a global health and emergency-response organization offering assistance for people in crisis in the United States and elsewhere. As Dr Varughese noted, the organization works with more than 200 pharmaceutical companies to provide donated medicines and supplies to their partners around the world.

"Basically what we do is find different topic areas of interest to our clinic partners that will serve our patients' needs in terms of critical illnesses and chronic care conditions," Dr Varughese explained.

And in January "our emphasis was on hypothyroidism."

This year, Akrimax Pharmaceuticals became a major sponsor behind the campaign, she added, donating $2.4 million worth of levothyroxine therapy in the form of liquid gel tablets (Tirosint).

"Sometimes patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease or various forms of inflammation have problems with gastric-acid production and since the traditional tablet formulation of levothyroxine is somewhat dependent on gastric-acid secretion, the tablets are often not well absorbed," Dr Varughese noted.

The liquid gel formulation provided by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals for Thyroid Awareness Month is designed to be less dependent on gastric-acid production for absorption.

Hypothyroid patients taking a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) or an H2-receptor blocker would similarly benefit from the liquid gel formulation, as their levels of gastric acid are lessened with PPI and H2-receptor-blocker use.

In such patients, physicians need to monitor patients' response to thyroid treatment by measuring serum thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and then titrating the dose of levothyroxine accordingly.

"One of the important roles we feel AmeriCares plays for our partners is that our clinic partners have limited pharmacy budgets," Dr Varughese said.

"So being able to provide generous donations such as this formulation of levothyroxine can really offset some of the budgetary constraints our partners have and allows them to focus their funding on other parts of their work."

In 2015, AmeriCares program in the United States delivered $117 million in medicine, supplies, education, and training to a network of health providers who collectively served over five million patients.

Akrimax Pharmaceuticals was a major donor to Thyroid Awareness Month.

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