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Doctor: Hillary's mix of old-fashioned meds pose risk

NEW YORK – Hillary Clinton’s underactive hypothyroid condition complicates the medical treatment she is receiving for her genetic propensity to form blood clots, warns a prominent New York physician.

“Hillary’s hypothyroid condition can lead to hypercoagulability, a tendency toward excessive blood clotting, that makes more complicated the use of the blood-thinning medicines she needs to control what appears to be a possibly genetic tendency of her body to produce blood clots,” Dr. Ronald Hoffman told WND in a telephone interview.

Hoffman is a New York City physician who hosts the nationally syndicated radio program “Intelligent Medicine.” He is past president of the nation’s largest organization of complementary and alternative doctors, the American College for Advancement in Medicine, or ACAM. He’s the founder and medical director of the Hoffman Center, specializing in a natural medicine approach that combines nutritional and metabolic medical assessment tools with high-tech innovations in traditional medicine.

“According to her physician’s report, Hillary is also taking two of the oldest medications for each of her medical conditions – Armour Thyroid for her hypothyroid condition and Coumadin to thin her blood,” he pointed out.

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Hoffman noted, as WND previously reported, Coumadin is the brand name for a drug called warfarin that initially was developed as a rat poison because it made rats bleed to death. WND also reported the medication Clinton has taken since 1998 to deal with her blood-clotting problems may have side effects that are hazardous to her health, including blurred vision and confusion, both of which she has experienced. And a California physician warned Coumadin could be more life-threatening to her than the possibility of a recurring blood clot.

“The medical literature cautions that patients on Armour Thyroid may need to reduce the amount of Coumadin they are taking, and this requires constant blood testing to make sure the mixture of Armour Thyroid and Coumadin are adjusted just right,” Hoffman said.

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“Too much Coumadin could result in Hillary experiencing potentially fatal hemorrhaging from even minor injuries, and too little Coumadin could cause her to form a potentially fatal blood clot.”

Controversial medicine

Hoffman pointed out that while he practices natural medicine and is comfortable with prescribing Armour Thyroid, it is a controversial medicine made from desiccated pig thyroid glands. It dates back to the late 1800s, when physicians first began prescribing extracts of animal thyroids to patients.

Medicare has now dropped Armour Thyroid as a Medicare-D approved medication in favor of synthetic pharmaceutically produced medications such as the generic medicine levothyroxine.

The U.S. government-administered Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, has concluded Armour Thyroid poses a higher risk to patients, especially to seniors. Citing concerns about Armour Thyroid having adverse cardiac effects, it recommends prescribing the “safer alternatives” of modern, synthetic, pharmaceutically produced hyperthyroid medications.

“There is no evidence to support using desiccated thyroid hormone in preference to L-thyroxine monotherapy in the treatment of hypothyroidism and therefore desiccated thyroid hormone should not be used for the treatment of hypothyroidism,” states the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, AACE, and the American Thyroid Association, ATA, in its 2012 guidelines for the treatment of hypothyroidism in adults.

Hoffman explained that warfarin caused rats to hemorrhage to death, “so the pharmaceutical companies figured if you took only a little bit of rat poison, you won’t hemorrhage to death, you just get a little blood-thinning.”

“But that’s why the therapeutic window for Coumadin is narrow,” he said. “In other words, too little Coumadin and it’s not enough – too much Coumadin and you can bleed to death.”

He said Coumadin is “an unwieldy medication, and any patient prescribed Coumadin has to be modified frequently with a blood test to make sure you’re not on too much Coumadin, or too little.”

He also pointed out that Vitamin K can interfere with Coumadin.

“So, if you eat too many green-leaf vegetables, or if you take green tea, it neutralizes the Coumadin. There are problems with Coumadin in that it’s tricky.”

Hoffman acknowledged that Coumadin is still a widely used drug-thinning medication prescribed to millions of Americans each year. He also commented he was not certain the more modern synthetic medicines developed to treat hypothyroidism were applicable to Hillary Clinton’s particular medical situation.

‘A potentially dangerous interaction’

Pharmacologist Joe Graedon, M.S., and medical anthropologist Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., two well-known authors who have written for some 35 years on the problems of prescribed medicines, warn patients in their 1997 book, “Deadly-Drug Interactions,” that Coumadin and Armour Thyroid can interact in a harmful matter in taken together.

“Thyroid hormone can have a major impact on bleeding associated with Coumadin, greatly increasing prothrombin time [length of time it takes blood to clot],” the Graedons write. “People with underactive thyroids may need higher doses of warfarin than usual. If they are then started on thyroid hormone replacement, the anticoagulant may become significantly more effective (50 to 400 percent). This reaction could result in troublesome bleeding.”

Dr. Hoffman agreed.

“Hillary Clinton, in being prescribed by her physicians to take both Armour Thyroid and Coumadin, is taking a delicate balance of medicines that interact, made more problematic in that she is using an unconventional thyroid preparation,” Hoffman stressed.

The key point is that Clinton’s thyroid condition, hypothyroidism, increases the risk of thrombosis. Moreover, hypothyroid patients cannot clear clotting factors from the blood as quickly, have elevated levels of fibrogen – a protein produced by the liver that helps blood clots to form – and have reduced rates of fibrinolysis, the bodily process that prevents naturally occurring blood clots from growing dangerously.

“Making sure the balance between medications like Armour Thyroid and Coumadin are correct requires constant blood testing,” Hoffman said.

“The delicate balance can be affected by diet, if for instance the person takes too much green tea or eats too many green vegetables, because the Vitamin K can interfere with Coumadin by reducing the blood coagulation impact of the drug.”

Hoffman said that getting the right amount of Coumadin in the blood is always a “Goldilocks” problem,”

“While Hillary Clinton may claim she is in vibrant health, she is on two medications that may interact, taking both Armour Thyroid and Coumadin, and may create instability in her blood thinning, creating both the risk of over-thinning or under-thinning her blood depending on how the two medications are kept in balance.”

Armour Thyroid and Coumadin have “a narrow range of the amount that is optimal in a patient’s bloodstream,” he pointed out.

“This multiplies the chance that from time to time a patient will experience a lack of balance in the amount of the two medications taken.”

Hoffman argued that the risk of not getting the proper mix of Armour Thyroid and Coumadin can be aggravated in the lifestyle required for a person running for president of the United States.

“It’s not just the frequent flights with multiple time zone changes and the difficult of eating constantly in hotels and restaurants,” Hoffman explained, “but also the possibility a person may skip taking a medication, or not take the medication at the right time.

“All these factors do not lead me to believe that Hillary Clinton’s avowal that she is in ‘perfect health’ is a forthcoming and comprehensive disclosure of her medical status.”

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