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Ask the Pharmacist: Tepezza for thyroid eye disease

Suzy Cohen
Columnist
Tepezza was recently approved by the FDA to treat thyroid eye bulging which is related to Graves’ disease.

The prescription infusion was recently approved by the FDA to treat thyroid eye bulging which is related to Graves’ disease. This is an autoimmune thyroid condition that increases thyroid hormone in the body, and it impacts the eyes sometimes. Every person is different of course, however, when the eye is affected due to thyroid illness it causes great discomfort as well as eye bulging, termed proptosis. 

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Just to clarify, Graves’ disease is one of two different thyroid autoimmune conditions. Graves’ causes the thyroid hormone to swing high and low, but mainly high! Using thyroid medication may exacerbate the problem because the hormone is already elevated. The other disease is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or “hashi” for short, which causes the opposite problem. In this case, thyroid hormone swings high and low, but eventually becomes deficient, and the person is supported on thyroid medication, or supplements.

With Graves’ disease, the eyes are probably the most outward manifestation of the illness which is taking place inside the body. Tepezza has been shown to very quickly improve double vision, bulging, visual acuity and eye pain and swelling. The eye bulging was reduced by at least 2 millimeters. 

The medication is given via intravenous (IV) injection, it is not an eye drop. The infusion drip is given over an hour and conducted once every three weeks. The course of therapy requires eight separate infusions.

You may be wondering: Is it treating the Graves’ disease?  No, it’s specifically for the eye-related concerns, especially those related to eye bulging.

Is it useful for other vision problems like retinopathy, glaucoma, floaters or cataracts? No, not at all.

Is it stopping the autoimmune process within the body? No. Autoimmune conditions are difficult to manage, but not impossible. I’ve seen a lot of success when people reduce their body’s toxic load for undigested food particles. You can do this with various digestive enzymes such as pancreatin, DPP-IV, Pepsin, Amylase, Lipase, Protease, and others.

It is the partially undigested food particles that leak into the blood stream and ignite the immune system such that it destroys your thyroid gland little by little. Another theory behind autoimmune diseases is that they are driven by pathogens in the body, like viruses or bacteria. Some of us inherit genes that predispose us to a condition.

Tepezza’s side effects include muscle cramps or spasms, nausea, hair loss, diarrhea, fatigue, hearing difficulties, headache and possible taste perception alterations. It is not a given you get those of course, but the participants in the study must report whatever happens to them during the clinical trial, so these are just possibilities. Other more serious reports included infusion reactions, a worsening of inflammatory bowel disease and hyperglycemia. Naturally, hyperglycemia occurred more often in people with pre-existing diabetes.

If you are looking for specific information on Graves’ disease, Hashi’s or hypothyroidism in general, I offer natural solutions for your consideration. These are discussed in my articles which are archived at suzycohen.com and in my best-seller, Thyroid Healthy available on Amazon or my website. For more information about the medication I’ve discussed today, visit tepezza.com.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.