Suzanne Somers Back on Larry King Live

This post refers to Somers 2008 appearance on Larry King Live. There is a more recent post about Somer’s 10/23/09 appearance here.

Well, I called that one, didn’t I? After being cited by the FDA for making unsubstantiated claims, the compounding hormone industry hit back with a one-two punch aimed straight at Wyeth, delivered of course by Suzanne Somers on Larry King Live. As I predicted, they’re framing the fight as the little guy (them) against the rich pharmaceutical companies, forgetting of course that it is the informed choice of American women which is at stake here.

Once again, the American public is distracted from the real issue, which is that these anti-aging folks don’t have a scientific leg to stand on when it comes to the health claims they are making for their billion dollar compounded hormone industry. Since these charlatans can’t find a legitimate doctor to tout their medical blasphemy, they have to rely on poor Suzie, who, God bless her, doesn’t know a steroid backbone from a botox molecule (which, by the way looks suspiciously like the Thigh Master).

Larry King should be ashamed of himself. The only voice he gives to the side of science is to give out the FDA’s website. Because when it comes to the health of American women, the only expert he wants us to hear is an actress with a book to sell. (Suzanne’s book, Ageless, just came out in paperback)

In fairness to Suzanne, you should know that I prescribe HRT, almost exclusively bio-identical hormones. I’ve even given these hormones to women who have had breast cancer and were unable to find a non-estrogen alternative to treat their symptoms. But every one of these women was informed about the risks of HRT as we best know them today, and not as the compounding industry would like them to be.

Some of the claims Suzanne and her friends are making could someday prove true – but until they have the data to support these claims, they are not allowed to make them. If you want to sell drugs, you’ve got to play by the rules. And you can’t point fingers at the big bad pharmaceutical industry and then pretend that the rules don’t apply to you.

If you want to claim that estriol prevents against breast cancer, go out and prove it. At this point, there is not enough data, either in the European or American scientific literature, to support that claim. Estriol looks better than estradiol in some studies simply because it is a weaker estrogen. But when given at the higher doses prescribed by many anti-aging docs, that advantage is gone. Suzanne should know this – she herself had a hysterectomy for endometrial hyperplasia – a precancerous condition of the uterine lining known to be caused by her hormone replacement.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Estrogen is estrogen, whether it comes from mare’s urine or the moon. Until you prove otherwise, women who take HRT must be given the information they need to make an informed choice. The FDA is absolutely right on this one.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading over to Home Shopping Network to buy a Thigh Master.

Read my Four Part Series on Hormone Replacement

9 Responses to Suzanne Somers Back on Larry King Live

  1. So where do I get the moon stuff! Since, you know, by association with Diana and all, it’s probably revirginating and all, right? I mean, that’s right out of ancient tradition, and ancient traditions are SO much better than science! Go Diana!

    (A little over the top and onto the other side?)

  2. As someone who manufactures steroids…you are absolutely right about estrogen being estrogen. Its source makes no difference to the fact that the molecule is the same.

    All of your points are spot on – including the “…charlatans can’t find a legitimate doctor to tout their medical blasphemy” quote. I really liked that one.

    Now, as someone in the industry, I have to say that the charlatans might be on to something because if they weren’t then the pharma groups would have already done a study with the specific intent of showing better efficacy of their HRT meds. The fact that they haven’t should also open the eyes…

    With respect to the FDA, the rules that are in place are so cost-ineffective to prove beyond all doubt that a drug is safe and efficacious that the small guys are at a huge disadvantage. Not that studies shouldn’t be done, but they should be easier to accomplish for non-“pharma” alternatives. Some of this stuff just may work after all.

    For example, there are users of DMSO that claim that herpes outbreaks are significantly reduced or gone after treatments. Now, DMSO is a pretty straight forward product that is out there and easy to get. Big pharma will try to supress this under the argument that it isn’t a pharmaceutical that treats or cures, yet DMSO is SO readily used in formulations in today’s drugs. However, the anti-herpes marketers would lose a lot of cash. Now I don’t know if DMSO works or not, but if it did, it would be great to spread the word, wouldn’t it?

    With respect to Suzanne, I will say this. I doubt she is anything more than a mouth piece for the effort in the end, but you cannot deny that she looks pretty damn good for a breast cancer survivor. There just may be something to what she is touting.

  3. Bardiac 🙂

    Schruggling – I agree, Suzie does look great. I’d say it’s about 10% hormones and 90% diet, exercise, botox and great make up.

    You won’t get an argument from me that hrt can make some woman feel and look great – but there are risks associated with those beneftis, and women have to be informed of those risks.

  4. Dear TBTAM, Thank you ffor again extending your audience an open invitation to tea with the Wizard of Oz. How does one see beyond the marketing choreography of Big Pharma and, increasingly, its younger upstart sibling, Little Pharma anyway? And speaking of younger siblings, my sister has been a strong proponent and user of bio-identical hormones some three years, under the care of a long established endocrinologist in central MA (will get you his name later), who swears that after 40 years or so of prescribing these hormones, he hasn’t seen any cancer outcomes. Of course, this isn’t longtitudinal research, so I don’t intend to drink the kool-aid, but on my sister’s behalf, she was suffering miserable pre-men symptoms, so maybe it’s worth taking the known and unknown risks involved. Nonetheless, it’s serious stuff for a young woman (50) to take for more than a short period of time. Thank you again for the backstage tour.

  5. “The informed choice of women is at stake here.” EXACTLY. It’s our duty to give women the truth and let them do what they’d like with it. Charlatans steal choice from people by knowingly obscuring science for their own profit. Keep shining your light, TBTAM!

  6. don’t pat yourselves on the back so quickly. until the american medical community holds itself accountable for all the garbage it has pumped into our bodies (and very well tested garbage I might add), then really, give Suzanne a break. As longs as she does inform of the risks, let women make up their own minds. We’ve been letting doctors and the pharmaceutical industry do that for us for far too long and there is a trail of corpses leading straight to the AMA…

  7. BEthnyc- You see, that’s the problem with Suzanne and the anti-aging industry selling hormones. They are NOT informing women of the risks. They are feeding them hype based on a tiny handful of outdated studies to convince them theat HRT as they prescribe it is without health risks. I for one would love it if what they were saying is true, but we just don;t have the data to support their statments. Nor is use of HRT an imperative to feel or look good . I have dozens and dozens of patients who feel and look great who have never taken HRT.

    That said, there are many women, however, who can benefit from HRT, and bioidentical hormones are a great way to go for these women. But FDA approved bioidentical hormones have been avilable now for over a decade, and that is what I almost exculsively prescribe, especially now that a variety of low dose options are avilable. But every one of my patients is fully informed about the potential risks as we know them today.

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