A recent FDA recall of two types of generic thyroid replacement drugs has spawned questions from patients over what they should do.
Health experts and the government say the voluntary recall of Levothyroxine and Liothyronine is out of an abundance of caution and has to do with ingredients used by Westminster Pharmaceuticals that came from a Chinese supplier.
“There was a compromise in the production, in the supply chain in such that they decided to stop using that,” said Dr. Brendan Stack, a professor and head/neck surgeon at UAMS. “Apparently the FDA did an inspection in 2017, and they found that they were not in compliance with good manufacturing practices.”
So far the FDA has no reports of any adverse reactions or problems, but with the Chinese supplier a question mark, the solution is to pull it off pharmacy shelves here. For now, that's who has to do the most work in this recall.
“The pharmacies that are supplied these in bulk are asked to remove these drugs which are still within date off of their shelves,” Dr. Stack said.
If you are among the millions that use these drugs, the best advice is to make a phone call.
“I would recommend patients consider contacting their doctor and saying if they could get a new prescription or contacting their pharmacy and saying I have this generic form of thyroid hormone. I'm aware of this recall that's taken place. Can I get a replacement or can I get a new supply?” Dr. Stack said.
And with this recall coming on the heels of a similar alert over blood pressure meds, Doctor Stack thinks we may be in for more situations like this in the future.
“I think this may illustrate the importance that the FDA has in inspecting out-of-country production facilities,” he said. “Ensuring that they maintain the same quality standards that are expected for domestic drug production.”
Just like the recall of blood pressure medications, doctors are telling everyone not to stop taking the medications they have while you get replacements or a new supply. The dangers from not taking heart pressure medications can appear within hours. Problems from failing to take thyroid drugs arise within a few days.
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