Which Is The Best Thyroid Drug For Hypothyroidism?

Which is the best thyroid drug for hypothyroidism?

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.

-Thomas Merton

Many Hypothyroid Mom readers ask which thyroid drug is best. My answer is always the same, “I wish there was one thyroid drug that worked for all of us but the reality is that we each react differently to the different medications. We must work closely with our doctor to investigate which treatment is ideal for us and what dosage is optimal.” The key is that you must know all the treatment options to ensure your doctor is exploring the options to find what’s right for you. If you are being treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication but you still don’t feel well, insist on further exploration. If you are still not feeling well, get a second opinion, a third opinion, even ten medical opinions until you find a doctor that explores the options to find what’s right for YOU.

Don’t settle.

Thyroid Drug Options

T4 Drugs

Mary Shomon included the following information at About.com Thyroid Disease.

Levothyroxine is the generic name for the synthetic form of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone replacement drug. This drug contains the synthetic form of one thyroid hormone, T4. Levothyroxine is the most commonly prescribed thyroid hormone replacement drug.

Brand names in the U.S: Synthroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid

Brand names in Canada: Synthroid, Eltroxin, and PMS-Levothyroxine

Brand names outside U.S.: Euthyrox, Thyroxine, Berlthyrox, Droxine, Eferox, Elthyrone, Eltroxin, Eutirox, Letrox, Levaxin, Levotirox, Levothyrox, Levotiroxina, Oroxine, T4KP, Thevier, Throxinique, Thyradin, Thyradin S, Thyrax, Thyrax Duotab, Thyrex, Thyro-4, Thyrosit, Thyroxin, Thyroxin-Natrium, Tiroidine

Mary also included an article on a thyroid medication called Tirosint. The levothyroxine in Tirosint is in a liquid form inside a capsule.

T3 Drugs

There are synthetic T3 drugs like Cytomel. Through a compounding pharmacy, there are also prescription compounded T3 drugs including time-released T3.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid

Brands include Forest Lab’s Armour, and Nature-throid and Westhroid by RLC Labs. There is a generic version of NDT made by Acella Pharmaceuticals. Canada’s desiccated thyroid made by Erfa is called Thyroid. There are also compounding pharmacies worldwide that produce compounded versions using the raw natural desiccated thyroid powder.

Find The Right Thyroid Treatment For YOU

We are each unique with individual sensitivities. Our bodies will NOT all react the same to these different medications. The dosages that are ideal for each of us will also vary. Our uniqueness is what makes finding the right thyroid treatment tricky.

Thyroid hormone replacement drugs are powerful, so powerful they can kill you if not taken properly. This is why it is critical to be under careful medical supervision when on these drugs, especially careful when starting a new brand or increasing dosage level. Call your doctor immediately if you experience adverse reactions.

1. Sensitivities to the fillers used in the medications

Chris Kresser at Medicine For The 21st Century wrote a great post 3 Steps To Choosing The Right Thyroid Hormone:

Many popular thyroid medications contain common allergens such as cornstarch, lactose and even gluten. As I explained in a previous post, most hypothyroid patients have sensitivities to gluten, and many of them also react to corn and dairy (which contains lactose).

Synthroid, which is one of the most popular medications prescribed for hypothyroidism, has both cornstarch and lactose as a filler. Cytomel, which is a popular synthetic T3 hormone, has modified food starch – which contains gluten – as a filler.

Even the natural porcine products like Armour suffer from issues with fillers. In 2008, the manufacturers of Armour reformulated the product, reducing the amount of dextrose & increasing the amount of methylcellulose in the filler. This may explain the explosion of reports by patients on internet forums and in doctor’s offices that the new form of Armour was either “miraculous” or “horrible”. Those that had sensitivities to dextrose were reacting less to the new form, and experiencing better results, while those that had sensitivities to methylcellulose were reacting more, and experiencing worse results.

Thyroid Pharmacist Dr. Izabella Wentz wrote this information on her great Thyroid Lifestyle Facebook page:

Compounded T4/T3 products offer another alternative. These medications also offer the advantage of being made without fillers such as lactose or gluten, which are present in some thyroid medications and can be problematic for thyroid patients.

However compounded T4/T3 products need to be prepared by a specially trained compounding pharmacist. These compounds are usually much more expensive and may need to be refrigerated to preserve activity.

Thyroid compounds are usually prepared in the same physiological ratio that is found in Armour®, however, physicians can elect to change the amount of T3/T4, as the compounding pharmacists are literally making the medications from scratch. This can be a huge advantage for those patients that did not feel well on conventional treatments or natural desiccated treatments.

2. A gentle start to dosing

My doctor increased my thyroid drug dosage gradually in an incremental fashion until she found the dose that was optimal for me. She adjusted my dosages by regularly monitoring my Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies and most importantly by listening to my symptoms. I contrast that with the stories I hear from readers of their adverse reactions to their doctor’s  prescription for sudden large dosage increases and medication brand switches at high doses. T3 drugs such as Cytomel and natural desiccated thyroid have active T3 in them which for some people can be stimulating for the heart and cause heart palpitations. It is critical to have a gentle start.

In the book Thyroid Power, Richard Shames and Karilee Halo Shames wrote:

Some people do not want to take the time to start with a mild dose, adjusting to their medication gradually. However, we have found that the slow, step-by-step method of reaching your optimal dose is more easily tolerated by the body than the “sock it to me” approach so characteristic of our fast-paced culture.

3. The need for T3 treatment

In mainstream medicine, T4 drugs like Synthroid are the gold standard for treatment of hypothyroidism. While these drugs work for some, for many of us these drugs fail to relieve our symptoms. Our bodies need to convert the T4 in these drugs to the active useable thyroid hormone T3. However for many hypothyroidism sufferers, our bodies don’t convert the T4 to T3 and we are left suffering symptoms. If you are on T4 only drugs and you are still not feeling well, speak with your doctor about testing your Free T3 levels to determine if you would benefit from T3 medication.

Many of us report feeling our best on natural desiccated thyroid. However others report not reacting well to NDTs and responding better to synthetic T4 and T3 drugs. Even with natural desiccated thyroid, many of us feel great on one brand but terrible on another. Again we are each unique and it’s about finding what works best for you.

4. Finding your optimal thyroid levels

Many hypothyroidism sufferers are not feeling well despite treatment because their lab results are in the “normal” range but not at the optimal level for them.

Mary Shomon included this great article at About.com Thyroid Disease.

Help, I’m Hypothyroid and I Still Don’t Feel Well

More innovative doctors are beginning to believe that a TSH of around 1 -2 —in the low end of the normal range — is optimal for most people to feel well and avoid having hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms. Similarly, some practitioners feel that optimal hypothyroidism treatment includes Free T4 in the top half of the normal range, and Free T3 in the top 25th percentile of the normal range.

If you are being treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication but you still don’t feel well, insist on further exploration. If you are still not feeling well, get a second opinion, a third opinion, even ten medical opinions until you find a doctor that explores the options to find what’s right for YOU.

Don’t settle.

Thank you Sarah Downing for including Hypothyroid Mom in your guest post at ThyroidChange  How To Be A Good Doctor – 10 Patient Tips. Sarah also has her own blog Butterflies and Phoenixes (sarahjdowning.com) where she writes about thyroid and chronic illness.

About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. Connect with me on Google+

Comments

  1. Absolutely, don’t settle! I’m on T3 now (liothyronine sodium) after doing lots of research. T4 (levothyroxine) did nothing for me, I can’t seem to use it and may be a ‘non-converter’ so two years were just wasted on that medication. The doc just kept increasing my dose until eventually my hair started falling out and I was getting all sorts of toxic symptoms. Keep spreading the word.
    Hypothyroid Mum to one toddler and one baby (need all the energy I can get!)

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Absolutely Yvonne, Hypothyroid Moms need all the energy we can get! Happy to know you are exploring T3 medication to see what works best for you. We are all so different so careful trial and error is how we’ll find what’s right for each of us. Best of luck and welcome to Hypothyroid Mom!

      • Cate Harper says:

        Hello just found your site. I am 67 and was diagnosed with hypoyroidism in February this year. I take Eutirox because I live in Spain and all info is in Spanish. I have a great doc who sent me for all possible tests. I was put on 75mgs for two months and then after blood work am on half a tablet a day. I do not have any problems but after taking them I started with soreness at vaginal entrance. She got me tests in ladies clinic and results show vaginal atrophy. It is awful and made worse with e cream. May go to see dermatologist. I can’t find out if my eutrinox may have caused this. It just seems odd it happened after meds. I am due back for 6 month blood work in November. Any info would be great. BTW, oddly enough I had a 2 miscarriages and stillbirth in my Thirties and my daughter has RA. Maybe I have had this disease for years. Many thanks. Cate

        • Cate, I’m your age on just started on levothyroxine in June. Started at .05, then to .075, and expect an increase tomorrow. I am also using estrogen vaginal cream for urinary issues – and it helps. Neither of these has caused vaginal soreness for me. The only problem I get that sounds like yours is candida overgrowth. I live between Florida and Yucatan, Mexico, both hot and humid. Have you tried treating it with clotrimazole cream?
          And P.S., I had Crohn’s Disease in my 30′s which was cured by surgery, but I think that, like the RA, indicates we’re prone to auto-immune diseases, so it looks like now it’s Hashimoto’s. I hope you can find out what’s causing that sorenesss. Ugh. :(

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Cate, I am very sorry to hear about the vaginal soreness. It does seem too much of a coincidence this happened at the same time you started your meds. There are other thyroid drug brands why not try a different brand in case that was the issue. Also you mention your daughter having RA. I wonder if you and your daughter have had your thyroid antibodies tested for Hashimoto’s? It is considered the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the world next to iodine deficiency yet thyroid antibodies are not routinely tested sadly. When a person has one autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s they are more vulnerable to develop others such as RA. Get testing for Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies.

          http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

    • Yvonne – please tell me about your toxic symptoms on T4 meds. I take only T4 and I’m wondering if because I feel so crappy all the time, that I have started to accept this at normal. I need to talk to someone about this.

  2. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for mentioning my site. What a useful article:-). I wanted to ask where you got your information about Cytomel not being gluten-free as this is actually the first I’ve heard of this and back when I was researching it (as I was on Cytomel for a few weeks) I came to the conclusion that it was gluten-free. I think I even asked at the pharmacy. Either way, I checked again and it’s on the list of gluten-free drugs:
    http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/list.htm

    There is a Mexican brand, Cynomel, which according to one forum post I read may have caused some gluten intolerance reactions with people, but I was under the impression that this is made with corn, so I’m not entirely sure either.

    I think I’m going to do some more research on this as it would be good to know for the future. I know some brands of synthetic T4 are notorious for containing gluten. One friend of mine is allergic to corn gluten, so that makes it even tougher for her (although Nature-Throid and West-Throid – essentially the same thing) are corn-free, but do contain lactose, which can cause problems for some other people.

    Thanks for the great article!

    Sarah

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Sarah, Thank you for commenting. Love your blog “Butterflies & Phoenixes” about thyroid and chronic illness.

      http://sarahjdowning.com/

      That quote regarding Cytomel comes from Chris Kresser. I’ve attached his post here below for you. I believe Chris is a person to follow for thyroid health. When I read this post it struck me hard because I’ve been contacted by so many readers who have terrible terrible reactions to different thyroid drugs including Cytomel and I set off on a rampage to find out what might be going on. Of course the issue of over medication is possible and adrenal and ferritin/iron issues which I plan to write more about. However this idea of sensitivities to the ingredients especially gluten in these products struck me. I contacted Chris with that same question of which ingredients in Cytomel in particular are gluten and I hope to hear back from him. In the meantime, I hope that this post will catch the eye of thyroid experts to take a closer look at each ingredient in these drugs. It’s time a complete review of each drug is done to ensure they don’t contain allergic components especially gluten given our sensitivities to it. It’s time for new drugs to be created that are truly gluten-free and hypoallergenic. It’s time for change.

      http://chriskresser.com/3-steps-to-choosing-the-right-thyroid-hormone

      • kathy iftody says:

        I recently under the supervision of my doctor has switched from cytomel to syntrhoid. He intially took me off everything cold turkey because i have hasimoto’s and my number reading were 100. I crashed severely and slept for an entire week day and night. He wanted me to stay off all medication for 4 weeks so he could get a proper reading I couldn’t handle what was happening so he started me on synthroid 0..125 mg once a day. In three days i did notice my fatigue had gone away and the heaviness in my arms but my eyes are so badly puffy dark and baggy. Is this normal thing that could happen. I seriously look like i am dying. lol I am also gluten intolerate and was wondering if this medication has gluten in it. I also have NHL Non hodgkins lymphoma but have not been in treatment for the past 4 years. Was diagnosed in 2006.

        • Hi there, I was really having loads of allergy type symptoms when I was on levo and later found out I wasn’t processing it but I think something in the tablets was also causing allergies. The only one that wasn’t so bad for that turned out to be the only one that was low efficacy and later withdrawn so perhaps it was just the levo itself, I don’t know. It is possible to be allergic to the fillers used in them. Puffy eyes, eczema break outs and just that allergy feeling (hard to describe). I feel really tired when I am having an allergic reaction and it is a sort of different tiredness to thyroid tiredness.

          • Dana Trentini says:

            Hi Yvonne,

            Absolutely you can have allergic reactions to the different fillers, binding agents and dyes used in the different brands. I’ve had many readers react terribly to certain brands then do great on others. If you’ve tried different brands and you can’t find one that’s good for you, another option is to look into compounded thyroid medications created by compounding pharmacies. They created thyroid meds without all the fillers, binding agents that others use.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Kathy,

          I am so sorry to hear what’s happened. We are all different in how our bodies react to the different fillers, binding agents and dyes in the different thyroid drug brands so absolutely it’s possible that you reacted to your medication. I included a quote from one of Chris Kresser’s website article about Cytomel containing gluten. So it’s possible that you were reacting to the gluten in this medication too. I assume this happened when you started your medication?

          I wonder too if there are underlying issues causing your Hashimoto’s that are not being addressed. Dr. Izabella Wentz wrote a great new book about lifestyle changes to reduce antibodies including diet changes and supplements. Her website is also very helpful.

          http://www.thyroidlifestyle.com

          It seems that 4 weeks would be a long time to be taken off thyroid medication. Get a second medical opinion. Best wishes to you.

          http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

    • I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 15 years ago at 41. I started with synthroid( don’t we all?) but my symptoms came back after 2 years. I was on cytomel for 11 years. 50mcg per day. Then 75 mcg per day. For the last 2 years I could feel myself crashing….getting more tired, more depressed, more bloated! I had ordered some cynomel from Mexico mainly because of the incredible price, but I was afraid to change medications and slip further in the abyss known as hypothyroidism! Well, I finally ran out of cytomel and couldn’t afford to renew my prescription so I started my cynomel. 75 mcg divided into 3 doses 5 hours apart. What a transformation!!!! I’m not sure what is in(or not in) the cynomel but it sure works for me! And 2/3rds cheaper than cytomel!

  3. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for looking into this. I posted a question on it on the STTM forum because this is honestly the first I’ve heard about it and it really concerns me as I was actually on Cytomel for a short time even though I’m supposed to be gluten-free. I did think I had done my due diligence, but we shall see.

    Thanks again for raising awareness!

    Sarah

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Great Sarah. Yes please let me know whatever you find about Cytomel. My suspicion is that a closer look is needed at all the common thyroid drugs.

  4. No doubt you’re right, Dana. My first instinct would be to contact the manufacturer and ask them, so I may just do that once I get a chance.

    BTW: I also really like Chris Kresser.

    Will keep you posted!

    Sarah

  5. Dana Trentini says:

    Excellent idea Sarah!

    • I just sent an email to King Pharmaceuticals/Pfizer, the manufacturer of Cytomel, and am awaiting their reply as to what allergens this medication contains and whether or not it does in fact contain gluten. Hopefully, I can get an answer “straight from the horse’s mouth”.

      Cheers,

      Sarah

  6. I am a 56 year old woman who has spent the last 4 years as a medical nomad going from doctor to doctor seeking help. I have explained that I am exhausted all of the time, have shortness of breath on the tennis court, insomnia…including 4 or 5 all nighters every month where no matter what I do or take, I can not sleep.

    I have recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, Diabetes, Zero B-12, and wildly fluctuating hormones after undergoing a radical hysterectomy last April. I am wearing a hormone patch but I have days which I feel like I am totally about to loose it to days.

    I am on my 2nd day of Levothyroxine…taking 1/2 a 75 MCG pill for the first week then moving up to taking the entire 75MCG dose. Last night… I think I slept 2 hours. I’m sure when I move up to the 75MCG dose I will be awake all night.

    My biggest fear is being able to continue successfully functioning in my high stress, deadline oriented marketing firm. In the last year, my thinking has become so foggy and I have struggled at time trying to keep all the balls in the air. Would love any and all advise from anyone who has been on this journey ahead of me/

    Joan

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Joan, You would be surprised by my post attached below 300+ Hypothyroidism Symptoms…Yes REALLY” because your symptoms are all there. I’m not sure what testing you’ve had done but it’s essential to have your Free T4, Free T3 and reverse T3 levels tested as well as thyroid antibodies (although since you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I assume your thyroid antibodies have already been tested). The issue is that often times mainstream relies on one test TSH to diagnose and treat hypothyroidism but it doesn’t provide a complete picture of the issue so the above testing will help determine the type of treatment you need. While Levothyroxine works for some, for many this does not relieve our symptoms which is why I included above T3 treatment. For many of us our bodies don’t convert the T4 hormone in Levothyroxine to the T3 we need, and we benefit from adding T3 treatment. By testing your Free T3 levels you will know if it is low in the range that you will benefit from T3 treatment. If you do not feel well on your Levothyroxine speak with your doctor about all the treatment options. In addition, you should test for issues that may underlie your Hashimoto’s. I’ve included below two posts with points to also discuss with your doctor. Best of luck to you Joan!

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/300-hypothyroidism-symptoms-yes-really/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-your-body-is-not-supposed-to-destroy-itself-right/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-thyroiditis-its-a-genetics-thing/

  7. Thank you so much for your website Dana!

    I am trying to get a referral to see an endocrinologist. I have a huge number of hypothyroid symptoms, many of them severe. I am currently existing, rather than living.

    I have done a fair bit of reading about thyroid issues, and am aware of the controversy as to what constitutes a normal range for TSH. With my recent (6 weeks ago) TSH of 4.4 and free T4 of 0.8, I was all set to push an endocrinologist to treat my hypothyroid symptoms despite the numbers. I still feel terrible, but had bloodwork done today. Confused as to my TSH being 2.8 and T4 1.0… I have never taken any thyroid meds.

    Do you have any advice for me? Thanks so much!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Liz,
      One of the biggest issues for thyroid sufferers is the “normal” TSH range used in mainstream medicine. Most mainstream doctors use a range around 0.5 to 5.0 depending on the laboratory and area where you live. As you’ve read there is a push by thyroid advocates to narrow that range with many thyroid experts recommending a TSH range between 1 and 2. See thyroid advoate Mary Shomon’s article attached below. Of course in your reading you probably have come across the fact that TSH alone does not provide a complete picture of thyroid function and you need a doctor to test also your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. What’s interesting is to see your TSH fluctuating like that. Of course there may be other reasons for your TSH change, however one thing to check closely are your thyroid antibody levels in particular the antibodies associated with Hashimoto’s – called TPO-Ab and TgAb. People with this autoimmune condition often cycle up and down with TSH going up and down and their labs in the early stages can appear normal but their antibodies are sky high. Please be sure to get your thyroid antibodies tested to double check. Best of luck to you.

      http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hypothyroidism/a/notwell.htm

      • Thanks so much for your reply Dana. I saw a new doc in January, supposedly a specialist in integrative medicine, and he tested for two thyroid antibodies in addition to TSH, T3 and T4. I was told the antibody tests were normal and that they ruled out both Graves and Hashimoto’s…

        Our medical clinic has gone digital and I can see blood work results as far back as early 2008. My TSH has fluctuated from 4.0 to 1.8 during that time. Most recently: June ’12 it was 2.8, Oct ’12 4.1, Jan ’13 4.4, two weeks later 3.8, and March ’13 2.8. I’ve only had 4 T4 results, beginning in Oct ’12: 0.8, 0.8, 1.1, 1.0.

        My symptoms are screaming HYPOTHYROID, however, having weaned off of 9 year regimen of Zoloft in August 2012, docs I see want me to take another anti-D. I started to feel like I was coming back to life when lowering and then off of the Zoloft, was then slammed with several stressful physical ailments from August-now, after 2 very stressful years dealing with a mentally ill colleague. Stress level in my life has been huge and I think the depressive symptoms I have now are a symptom, not the root cause of my illness. I don’t want a bandaid fix. It is sooo hard to find a doc who will really listen to me with an open mind. Still have my fingers crossed for the referral to an endocrinologist to come through.. it is pending approval by the endocrinologist at the moment. No idea what criterion he will use to decide whether or not to accept me as a patient…

        I plan to do a lot more reading on your website. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for all of the information you provide. (And this Ontario born and raised gal thinks it’s cool you got your undergrad degree at U of T.) :)

        I don;t know if this is addressed on your site, but is throat pain a common complaint of hypothyroid patients? I had an ENT doc scope my throat and tell me there is no tumor… but I’m not sure exactly what he was ruling out. The pain I have is almost always on the right side of my throat and often a sharp stabbing pain once in a while. Other times it is a general ache. The feeling that there is something “wrong’ in my throat is constant…

        • Dana Trentini says:

          WOW Liz so great to have an Ontario born hypothyroid mom on my site!! Born and raised in Toronto and my family all lives there still. My husband and I moved to the US in 2000 and never went home. We love it here but miss our family and Toronto too! So much to consider. First, there are Hashimoto’s sufferers who show up with negative thyroid antibodies but who have the condition and thyroid ultrasound can confirm. Here is a link to that below. Your pain in the throat is something I’ve experienced before and absolutely because the thyroid is located at the base of our neck, it can affect your neck and mouth. Have you been checked for a goiter which is an enlargement of the thyroid, which is also characteristic of Hashimoto’s? Also unfortunately many hypothyroid sufferer are misdiagnosed with depression. Turns out many have low Free T3 levels and that Free T3 treatment helps with the depression. See link below. So please ask for a thyroid ultrasound and Free T3 testing.

          http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hypothyroidism/a/hashivshypo.htm

          http://thyroidbook.com/blog/unraveling-thyroid-antibodies/

          http://www.holtorfmed.com/blog/thyroid-dysfunction-as-cause-of-depression/

        • I would love to be in contact with Liz as her comment is so similar to my situation and to see what she finds out. Awesome article.

          • Dana Trentini says:

            Hi Shari, try replying to her comment right under her comment is the “reply” button. There is greater chance she will see your comment that way. I hope Liz checks the comments to see your message. I too agree I would love to hear from her to see what she finds out too.

  8. I am a long time Hypo/Hashi patient. I was diagnosed approx 10-14yrs ago but had symptoms for about 3yrs leading up to becoming full blown Hypo. I am been on Armour for the majority of that time but, for the last 1-1.5yrs have been seen symptoms crop up again. My hair started slowly falling out a little over a year ago. I saw my doctor in Jan of 2012 and he up my dosage from 1 grain to 1.5 grains. The hair loss continued at a slow pace until late last year. I’ve lost about half my hair in whole and it is falling out by the bulb. I have more sound sleep nights but do experience a night or two a week where I am tired but just can’t stay asleep the entire night. My skin is becoming crepey, I’ve been sick more often over the last few months than I’ve been in the last 2yrs. I am seeing my doctor in a week but need to better understand what some options could be for me from an RX perspective. I am not convinced that soley uping my Armour dosage is the answer and I want to be ready to have this discussion with my doc.

    Thank you very much Dana!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Oh Jessica, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I know how important our hair is to a woman so I can only imagine how hard this is for you. Absolutely you need to see your doctor. Hashimoto’s can worsen over time so it’s possible that your thyroid is functioning less optimally and that you need an increase in your medication. You need to see your doctor and get testing to know what’s happening. The fact that your doctor is open to Armour makes me think he/she will be open to additional testing. First off be sure your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 are tested. There are also many potential underlying issues with Hashimoto’s that should be tested including sex hormone levels, vitamin D and selenium. Also adrenals are very important for thyroid health, so ask if your doctor will give you a saliva test for cortisol levels to test your adrenals as well full blood panel for iron including ferritin. In addition, there is a great deal of research on the connection between gluten and Hashimoto’s as well as other food sensitivities. It is worth a try to go gluten free for a few weeks to see how you feel. Here is a link to a post on Hashimoto’s, as well Mary Shomon wrote a book on hair loss for thyroid sufferers. Best of luck to you.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

      http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hairloss/a/hairloss.htm

      http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/hairloss.htm

  9. Nicole Guilfoyle says:

    Hi …I am so happy I found your site. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 3 years ago when I was pregnant. I was given very little information and still at times feel uninformed. They took me off my medicine (synthroid) right after I had my baby. This lead me down a difficult path and now looking back I am not sure if it was baby blues or side affects from the thyroid. Long story short I was depressed thought it was the baby blues, lost a ton of hair again could be either post baby hormones or the thyroid, and finally had a hard time producing enough milk. At my 6 week post baby check up my obgyn finally referred me to an endocrinologist. I was put back on synthroid and went on with life. Recently I have noticed some changes, I have a cysts in one of my breast, my skin and head are extremely dry, and the most alarming symptom is I have shortness of breath and a tightening in my chest ( was not sure if i was having a panic attack or just a symptom) I am still tired all the time, my hair is brittle, and truly the depression has not gon away fully. I was wondering if you could give me your insight on my situation and if there are any other medication or tests I should have done.

    Thank you so much

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Nicole, your symptoms of baby blues, hair loss, not producing enough breast milk, dry skin, chest pain and depression all sound so much like hypothyroidism symptoms. You must look more closely with your doctor at how you are being treated. It may just mean a change in your dosage of Synthroid is needed, however as this article points out there are many people who don’t do well on Synthroid. There are some of us that our bodies just don’t convert the T4 in Synthroid to the active T3 our bodies need. You can tell that by testing your Free T3 levels, so be sure that’s tested. Please speak with your doctor about testing your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse, T3, thyroid antibodies (TPO-Ab, TgAb) and adrenals. Hashimoto’s is one of the leading causes of hypothyroidism and many hypothyroidism sufferers don’t realize they have it because thyroid antibodies are not routinely tested. Please be sure to ask for all those tests so that you have a complete picture of your condition. Ideally your testing would also include iron and ferritin, vitamin B12, D3, magnesium, zinc, selenium, as well as sex hormone levels and any other tests your doctor recommends. If your doctor won’t do all these tests, then it’s time to find a new doctor. Best of luck to you.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/when-thyroid-disease-masquerades-as-psychiatric-disorder/

  10. Janna Johnson says:

    I was diagnosed on 1/3/13 w/Hashimoto’s after hitting a wall right before Thanksgiving. I have always been an energetic, happy, confident individual and now I am the complete opposite. Things starting to go downhill w/my health in 08/2012 but I chalked it up to my hormones. 2 days before Thanksgiving I had the worst panic attack of my life. The brain fog came on (which I would describe exactly the way the definition of it is), fatigue, I was debilitated. I couldn’t even take care of my own children much less myself. After the Hashimoto’s diagnosis, which was diagnosed because my right lobe was enlarged, I was put on 50mcg of Tirosint. It didn’t do much. 8 weeks later I was put on Armour and I had a bad reaction to it (worsening symptoms), which I assumed were the fillers. I went to a holistic doctor who ran more thyroid test other than TSH and T4 and come to find out my body is not converting T4 to T3. He said I was just hypo and didn’t have Hashi’s. Since then. which was 3 1/2 weeks ago I have been on T3 only (4.5mcg in am and 4.5 in pm). My symptoms are better but still there. I DO NOT feel like myself!! I feel out of my own body, no focus, detached from everything, mild depression, anxiety, and horrific brain fog!! Has anyone else felt this way? If so, what did you do to get better and how long did it take? I honestly feel like I will never be better!! I have a 2 1/2yr old and a 4 1/2yr old and a husband. I want my life back!!

    I did go see a new DO last week who did more blood work and I gave her all of th einfo on the new Wes-throid -P. I am hoping it works but I don’t go back to see her for 2 weeks and then I hope she prescribes it.

    I welcome any and all feedback. Thank you!!!!

    • Janna Johnson says:

      Looking for some advice and inspiration please!!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Janna, Is there a reason your doctor put you on T3 only? While some patients are on T3 only treatment for various reasons the majority are on a combination of T4 and T3. The first step is you need to be sure to have comprehensive done. Get a copy of your lab results. Ask your doctor to test your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies for Hashimoto’s (TPO-Ab and TgAb) and thyroid antibodies for Graves since some people have both (TSI), ask for full iron panel including ferritin, sex hormones including testosterone, vitamin D3, B12, zinc, magnesium, selenium, as well as adrenal testing. All these factors could underlie your condition. Also many hypothyroid sufferers report doing well on a gluten free diet. I found my symptoms improved going gluten free. Try it for 30 days to see if it makes a difference. The good news Janna is that there is hope to live well despite your thyroid condition. Thanks to finding a great thyroid doctor, I feel better at 42 years old than I did at 20!

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

      • Janna Johnson says:

        sorry for late reply! I did T3 only just to see how I would do. but Ionly did it for 3 weeks and then tried Armour again but by chewing it this time. That made a world of difference to me. I got my sex hormones tested and adrenals. I am working on all of it and hope to feel “normal” again soon. I have been gluten free for 2yrs but recently cut out sugar, soy, and dairy.

        Thanks!!

    • Jana, I have been feeling the same way for 9 months now. I have been trying to find the cause of this myself! I too have a 3 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter. It has been a living nightmare, as you know. I reely haven’t come across anyone that has felt this way. I have been going from dr. To dr to find out what the heck is going on with me. Please, if you find out anything that can be causing this, let me know. I will do the same! You are not alone!!!

      • Janna Johnson says:

        I am so sorry to hear that you are also feeling this way Jennifer! It is a very awful feeling to have. I have had days that I didn’t care if I was here or not. I kept reading that chewing Armour before swallowing works really well, so about 6 weeks ago I tried it and started to feel better w/in 3 days. Now it wasn’t a lot better but I could tell I was on the right path. I also figured out I have low cortisol which are the same symptoms of hypothyroidism. I have started taking adrenal supplement and just eating really clean. I have been gluten free for about 2yrs but recently I cut out dairy, sugar, and soy. I also don’t drink caffeine. I have candida as well and it also has the same darn symptoms. http://www.candidadiet.com has relly good info and a symptoms list. I did finally find a really good doctor also that listens to my symptoms and does all of the correct tests. Reading the STTM book and website multiple times have instrumental to me. Janie has invaulable info on adrenals, thryoid, and more. I highly recommend that. I also joined her yahoo group, Natural Thyroid Hormone, as well and the people there have been great support. There I learned about the MTHFR gene defect and started taking methyl-B12 and methyl-folate vitamins which have made a HUGE difference for me. I started at 1 grain of Armour and have upped by 1/4 grain every 10-14 days. You typicall woulld up by 1/2 grain but my body is sensitive to T3. I have finally started to feel better about 2 weeks ago. The depression and anxiety are lifting, slowly. I still have awful cystic acne on back and face and dry hair/skin but they are the least of my worries. I am not 100% but I will get there. I finally feel I am on the right path though.

        I know you probably have a lot of questions and I probably have a ton of info to give so feel free to contact me at jannaljohnson@yahoo.com

        Stay strong!
        Janna

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Janna, Thanks for sharing your story. I love the Stop The Thyroid Madness site! So happy you are doing well.

    • Jana, I have been feeling the same way for 9 months now. I have been trying to find the cause of this myself! I too have a 3 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter. It has been a living nightmare, as you know. I reely haven’t come across anyone that has felt this way. I have been going from dr. To dr to find out what the heck is going on with me. Please, if you find out anything that can be causing this, let me know. I will do the same! You are not alone!!!

    • Teresa R. says:

      I hear the frustration. I too have been tired, I think all my life, but after giving birth to my last/2nd child, she took everything out of me. I asked my doctor to put me on desiccated Thyroid (here in Canada) when my TSH was 3.59. Well that’s been a couple of years now and a couple of days ago, I got a TSH result of 4.19. When I’d first started to take “Thyroid” (Afra) I had to go down to 7.5mg as my heart was beating hard. I increased it the last couple of days to the full 30mg and yesterday and today I’ve been breathless, gasping for breath, with little exersion and my heart is beating more rapid. Dana, Am I having an allergy to the desiccated “Thyroid”?
      Thanks,
      Teresa

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Teresa,

        Be sure to contact your doctor whenever you are having any strange reaction to a new medication or increase in dosage. It may an issue of dosage. It may also be your body’s sensitivity to an ingredient in that particular thyroid drug brand because we’re all different in how our bodies react. Also T3 can be stimulating to the heart for some people so it’s recommended to increase slowly in increments to give the body time to adjust. Also there are two other very common reasons why people react badly to thyroid meds including natural desiccated thyroid: Poor adrenals (best test is saliva for cortisol) and poor iron levels (be sure to get a full iron panel including ferritin). Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe from Stop the Thyroid Madness writes about this very thing you are describing.

        http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me/

        http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mistakes-patients-make/

        http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/natural-thyroid-101/

  11. Hi,
    I have been on Synthroid (75) for about 3 years. My job does “wellness” blood works every year which I do. Last year my TSH level was 1.3. This year my TSH level was 4.9. so I went to Dr. and showed my PA. (I have gained 20 pounds in the last 4 months and have not been feeling well.) But I do have other diseases. My Dr. took another TSH test and it came back 4.1. She said it looked great, in normal levels. After visiting your website I am thinking about going to another Dr. Is that a big jump in TSH levels in a year? Should I push this? Thank you for your advice.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Gina, absolutely push this push this push this! Hmmm did I insist enough! The average TSH range in most areas is about 0.5 to 5.0 but there is great controversy over this with thyroid advocates pushing to narrow that range.

      Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon wrote: “More innovative doctors are beginning to believe that a TSH of around 1 – 2 — in the low end of the normal range — is optimal for most people to feel well and avoid having hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms. Similarly, some practitioners feel that optimal hypothyroidism treatment includes Free T4 in the top half of the normal range, and Free T3 in the top 25th percentil of the normal range.” Your TSH 4.9 or 4.1 is high. Also you need your Free T4 and Free T3 tests done. Check where your scores fall relative to the range. You can have normal TSH for example but very low Free T3 levels and that would explain your symptoms.

      Go to your doctor and ask for testing your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies (TPO-Ab and TgAb). If your doctor won’t test these, find a doctor who will.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

      Best of luck.

  12. I was diagnosed w/full blown hashi and as a result hypothyroid . I think I have been hypo/hyper for years. Like one of the posts I hit the wall Thanksgiving and have been trying to recover ever since. I have gone from Synthroid 125 to 88 in combination w/5 cytomel. Thought I was improving but symptoms seem to be coming back. Any advice on how to balance meds? Seem to be going from hypo/hyper in 2 week intervals. My Dr is working with me but we can’t find the balance. I just want to be myself again. At 57 now and feel like 67! It has been a roller coaster and there just doesn’t seem to be an answer. I share all of the symptoms of those posted above. Hair Loss weight gain, pale skin, puffy face on and off, exhaustion but can’t sleep….etc….any advice? My daughter is getting married in 6 months and I just want to show up as me per diagnosis!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Judy, It is common with Hashimoto’s to swing up and down in TSH with hyper and hypo symptoms and back and forth. First off you may not be optimally treated for your condition. It’s great your doctor was open to adding cytomel so maybe your doctor woudl be open to more investigation. Have you discussed with your doctor your dosages as well as whether or not switching to a natural desiccated thyroid would work for you. Speak with your doctor about how you are not doing well on your medications on those dosages and ask what options there are for you. It may mean getting a second medical opinion from someone who works with many Hashimoto’s sufferers. There are also many potential underlying issues with Hashimoto’s so be sure to have your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, iron/ferritin, B12, D3, magnesium, zinc, selenium, sex hormones including testosterone, and adrenals. All of these issues could potentially be worsening your condition. Also there is a great deal of material written on the link between gluten and Hashimoto’s so it’s worth it to try going gluten free for 30 days to see if it is helpful for you. Best of luck to you.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/hashimotos/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-thyroiditis-its-a-genetics-thing/

    • Thank you for the response . I went for a blood test today so ill have a better idea of what’s happening. Dr increased cytomel another 5 mcg so now 88 synthroid and 10 mcg of cytomel. Time will tell. As for B12, I have been getting injections for several years due to low levels of B12. I am also taking vitamin D as prescribed my Dr. The truth is I was in pretty bad shape when diagnosed going from normal to no thyroid function at all in months. Can it take more than 5 months to get back to normal? It has been a rough road back.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Judy, it is a process for you and your doctor to find the right dosage for you however the fact that you have a doctor who is listening to you is a step in the right direction. Best of luck to you.

  13. Thank you Dana!!!! I will call and ask my Dr. to take a look at the bloodwork and see when they tested me last for 3 and 4. I am 43 and should take more control over my care, I guess. LOL.
    Thanks again.

  14. Nadine D. says:

    Dana, I never thought the thyroid can be such a pain!
    i have had 3 m/c already and my previous doctor never mentioned that my TSH levels were a bit High.
    Fortunately my actual doctor tested my thyroid and prescribed Synthroid, I started it 3 months ago and my TSh levels are normal now.
    My ferritine levels are low but Dr said he won’t care about it as long as i’m taking my prenatal vitamines .
    I’m now 5 weeks pregnant, I’m still freaked out especially that I’m diagnosed with insuline resistance as well. I hope this time my pregnancy will end with a healthy baby. Thank you again for your articles.
    Good luck for everyone.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Nadine,

      Congratulations on your pregnancy. If you haven’t already contact your doctor today to get your thyroid levels tested. TSH can rise quickly in pregnancy so you want to test as soon as possible. Many times thyroid sufferers need an increase in dosage during pregnancy to meet the needs of the baby. Your baby relies on your in the early part of pregnancy for thyroid hormone for growth and development. Also the American Thyroid Association recommends a TSH less than 2.5 in the first trimester and recommends you be tested every 4 weeks to monitor your thyroid levels. Bring a copy of the attached guidelines by the American Thyroid Association because many doctors have not read these guidelines. Best wishes to you and your baby.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472679/

  15. I’m struggling. In two and a half years since being diagnosed, I’ve not found my drug routine that gives me enough energy. Wondering what the stats are for what drugs work best for people. I know we’re all different, but it would be great to have an article or website that shows just the drug stats… trinoset works for 65 percent of people who go on it, synthroid 35 percent, etc. Very curious if natural or synthetic T3 work best for what percentages. I’ve read a bunch on this. I think of this every single day, and yet there seems to be so much mystery to medicating. Really mind-blowing how messy the endocrine info is. It’s all over the place. I’m so disheartened. Will I ever feel normal, clear headed again?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Kate,

      Now that would make for a very interesting research paper for any researchers on my site. I would love to know the percentage of people who do well on the different thyroid medications. I can’t say that I’ve come across information like that. All I can say is that the majority of my readers do not do well on Levothyroxine drugs like Synthroid alone. I have a mix of people who do best on Levothyroxine drugs like Synthroid combined with Cytomel, then another group that does best on natural desiccated thyroid. Even within the group that does best on NDTs some do better on Armour others on Nature-throid. I personally do my best on Nature-throid. Should you find an article that provides the information you are asking please share it with me. The bottom line is if you aren’t feeling well on your medication then you are not being optimally treated. It may be the drug brand, type, dosage, or it may be that you haven’t been full tested for other factors that can interfere with thyroid function such as adrenals, iron, sex hormones, vitamin D3, B12, magnesium, zinc, selenium. Be sure to have them tested along with your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3.

  16. Hi Dana,

    My mom is taking levothyroxine sodium for about two years. She had a mild arrhythmia before but she believes that after taking levothyroxine she is getting worse and can’t sleep at nights. I did a research and found out that levothyroxine increases arrhythmia in some cases. Would it be possible to let me know whether there is any replacement for levothyroxine. Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Marjan

  17. Dana,

    What an interesting page.
    I had a horrible time having children. We m/c the first two, then had a daughter at 26 weeks because the placenta had infarcted (she fied a week later). My successful pregnancies (#4 and #5) resulted in low birth weight kiddos with partially infarcted placentas. I’m lucky to have my kids, though, as I was told there was no reason to think I could ever carry them to term.
    I’ve been on Synthroid for six years, and in the last two years it has been useless. I have gained twenty pounds – while on a strict calorie counting diet with daily strenuous exercise! Coincidentally, I also had breast cancer during this period. Bad to worse…
    My dose has been increased all the way to the 200mcg without significant lab changes and no change in symptoms. Just this week I switched to Armour. We shall see. I will be forty this fall, but I feel eighty. Between the mibd numbing fatigue, forgetfulness and weight gain, I might as well be.
    I’m curious if my collection of reproductive issues (including the cancer) follows a pattern you’ve seen. I’m also having a hard time finding a list of doctors in the Dallas area that are not just Synthroid pushers. As a twenty year RN, I find myself basically doing the research FOR my current doctor. Thankfully, she is open minded , but this isn’t optimal.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Amie

  18. Hello, I’m so excited that a dear friend recommended your website! I’ve had Hoshimotos for about 15 years, and in the past 3 months my symptoms have gotten so much more severe. I’ve gained about 20 pounds (mostly in the waist) and feel foggy and tired all the time. I also have body aches and irritability. My last tsh # was 4.8, which my Dr. considered “normal”. I’m in search of an endocrinologist in the Putnam/Westchester NY area, and wonder if you could suggest a physician and also recommend what additional tests are necessary to properly diagnose my condition. Thanks so much.

  19. Was put on Synthroid several months ago. Started having ringing in ears, fluid in eyes, not tears, blurred vision, slurred speach and feeling of being drugged or drunk. balance was effected. The worse time was after a meal. This would happen for about 2-3 hours after a meal. Blood sugar readings went up. Started falling sleepy all the time. I still worked and cusomers coming in thought I was drinking on the job. Don’t drink. I am 81 . I take Zocor and Cozar. Dr took me off Blood Pressure meds for blood presure dropped too low. I just stopped taking Synthroid. He told me go back on them. SYNTHROID was the only new med and nothing else could be causing the things that were happening to me. I go back to doctor july 7 but I will not go back on this medication, I feel like I am dying when I take it. I cant live like that. Had a flu shost last Septemer and immediately my knees swelled up and I could barely walk For the first time in my life I had adnormal thyroid blood test. To be ttuthful. I would rather die than take Synthroid wth all the side effects. I think I am allergic to it. I forgot to take it one day and started feeling better and the next day 30 minutes after I took it I started feeling drunk and disorientated.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Bessie,

      I am sorry that happened to you. I appreciate you sharing your experience here. Your story shows so clearly what I mean when I say we are each different in how our bodies react to the ingredients, fillers and binding agents in the different thyroid drug brands. This goes for all supplements and medications of any kind. Listen to your body. You may be very right and your body may be sensitive or even allergic to an ingredient in that brand. At the same time there is concern about going off your medication because hypothyroidism can cause serious even life-threatening complications like heart disease and diabetes. There are other thyroid drug brands and I hope you’ll go back to your doctor or find a new doctor who will explore them carefully with you.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  20. Christine says:

    I had an interesting experience with Erfa Thyroid that so many patients praise. I was so hopeful when starting on it a few months ago but, after a few days on it, my whole body started itching. I could wake up with blood on the sheets from scratching myself in my sleep to get some relief. I also ended up with some clear hyper symptoms (rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating, insomnia), while gaining weight and bloating (usually hypo symptoms). Labs 24 h after latest dose showed an FT4 of 0.9 (ref 0.8-1.8) and an FT3 of 3.3 (ref 2.2-4.2).

    My doctor suggested we try Armour instead, and I just got the delivery from the pharmacy. Tomorrow will be my first day on Armour, and I’m both excited and nervous at the same time…I hope it will provide the same symptom relief Erfa did, although my FTs were borderline low. I have been off Erfa for the past couple of days, and the itching is all but gone, so I must have been reacting to something in Erfa.

    It would be interesting to know if anyone else has had the same or other problems with Erfa Thyroid, or is everyone happy with it except me? I almost hesitate to critizise Erfa after reading so many glowing reviews by patients stating that Erfa gave them their life back after Armour’s reformulation…

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the NDT thyroid drug from Erfa. Your experience shows so clearly how we are each unique in how our bodies react to the different ingredients, fillers, binding agents in the different thyroid drug medications. This is why there is no one perfect thyroid drug for everyone. I’ve heard from many who have negative reactions to the various brands more than likely due to sensitivity to one or more of the ingredients. I’ve heard good and bad about all the brands, so you see one person will do great on one brand but another person tries it and doesn’t do well. For example, I did not do well on Armour. All my symptoms worsened when the manufacturers changed the ingredients back in 2009 and thankfully my doctor switched me to Nature-throid and I do great on it. Then I have readers who do terribly on Nature-throid and prefer Armour, then others who have tried all the NDTs and just do better on synthetics. It’s all about having a doctor who is open to explore the different brands with you to find what’s right for you.

      The other possibility for the hyper like symptoms is that if the dosage is started too high, many people have heart sensitivity to T3 and need to start at a low dose and increment increases in dosage over time to give the body to adjust. There are two other common reasons why people experience hyperthyroid symptoms like heart palpitations, insomnia, shakiness, nervousness – poor adrenal function (best tests is saliva for cortisol levels) and low iron (request full iron panel including ferritin). Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe wrote a great article about the various reasons why patients don’t do well on T3 or NDT medications.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me/

  21. Hi,
    I have a question.. I do not have a thyroid any longer and with this recent issue with the manufacturer’s recalling of thyroid meds the medication I’ve been on for the last 10 years is no longer available. the only medication that I can get on is synthroid or the generic levothyroxine, unfortunately that medication does not work for me I am having a huge issue getting my hands on any other type of thyroid medication, I’ve spoken to my doctor about this because my levels are completely whacked out I’m exhausted my hairs falling out and I feel like I’m going to have a huge medical issue if I don’t find something that works for me really soon my levels have been really off for the last 4 months. do you know of any other Siri medications besides the synthroid and it’s generic? I am in the USA and I am willing to buy from Canada if needed! My Dr. had told me of another medication out there but no one has it and now I can’t remember the name of it… my memory is really going on me due to my level being so low I think he is getting worse by the day and I really really need to get this under control soon. I actually am starting to feel panic at this point. any suggestions would be helpful…
    thanks, Mia

  22. I live in Ontario, Canada and i think I need Cytomil but my endo won’t prescribe it.

    TSH: 3.66 (0.35-4.94)
    Free T3 : 3.1 (3.8-6.0)
    Free T4: 10 (8-15)

    Any suggestions on how to convince. My previous would not prescribe either despite my feelings of fatigue.
    Thanks

  23. Elizabeth says:

    The reason why Armour is no longer working as well as it used to is because the FDA (under pressure by Synthroid’s manufacturer) changed the regulations overseeing this medication that had been grandfathered in. In other words, desiccated porcine (pig) thyroid extract (which is Armour) was developed in the late 19th century and used with great success.

    Then in the 1960s Synthroid was heavily marketed as the synthetic version of T4 by Abbott Laboratories, and doctors started to prescribe Synthroid instead of Armour. Since Armour is a natural formulation (hence not patentable for big profits), its manufacturer. this medication doesn’t have the big pockets to convince doctors or the FDA.

    However, due to the advent of the Internet, hypothyroid sufferers rallied and shared their horror stories of losing hair, concentration, energy, etc with Synthroid. Not only that, they shared how they came back to life with Armour.

    Then in 2009, Synthroid manufacturer heaviliy lobbied the FDA to change its regulation of Armour (which had worked wonderfully with no recalls for more than 100 years) and require an extended shelf life.

    So Forest Pharmaceuticals reformulated Armour, and people who took the NEW formulation of Armour never felt the same again – they started suffering from the same (and even worse) symptoms than Synthroid. Then Abbott Laboratories financed studies showing how Armour (the new version) is not better than Synthroid – nu duh!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Elizabeth,

      Thank you for sharing this. This explains why I was doing great on the old Armour until 2009 and then my symptoms started coming back. My doctor had many patients complaining on the newly formulated Armour and she switched her patients to Nature-throid. I’m doing great on it. It’s scary the power of big pharmaceutical companies.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Desiccated Thyroid became a commercial treatment option in 1934 with Westhroid[citation needed], and has to this day, never been recalled for instability. In the early 1960s, desiccated thyroid hormones (thyroid extract) began to be replaced by levothyroxine (T4), or by combinations of T4 and T3. Replacement occurred faster in the United Kingdom than in North America, but by the 1980s more patients were being prescribed levothyroxine or T4/T3 combinations than desiccated thyroid extract.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Wikipedia:

    Synthroid, one of the most successful brand names in pharmaceutical marketing history, became as synonymous with thyroid replacement to generations of American primary care doctors as Kleenex or Xerox became with their respective products.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I am very angry – FDA making such a corrupt, short-sighted decision! I have been reading online about how Armour worked miracles for hypothyroidism in the past but now is on par or worse than Synthroid.

    I have taken Synthroid for almost 20 years and never once did any of my doctors or endocrinologists mention Armour as an alternative. I feel like my youth was stolen from me – hair loss (wearing a wig for more than 10 years), fogginess, loss of concentration, depression, weight gain, difficulty to lose weight.

    It just makes me so sad and angry – it’s not fair! I don’t see why the FDA had to kowtow to a money-grubbing pharmaceutical firm’s blatant ploy to eliminate competition from a more effective, cheaper, natural, time-proven alternative (that just so happens not to have a large army of pharmaceutical reps pushing it on doctors). I’m angry that this information is not widely known.

    Since our Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the same rights as a person, then this company should be put on trial for taking away the lives of millions of hypothyroid sufferers – the loss of income and livelihood, the economic and emotional cost of wearing wigs, the compromised health of millions.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Elizabeth, thyroid hormone replacement is madness absolute madness. I have heard from countless readers that their doctors refuse to treat with anything but Levothyroxine drugs like Synthroid. The internet has made it possible for thyroid patients to come together and voice our stories. The more we share what’s happened to us the more attention we will receive. Of course we have a hard road up against big money companies but it’s worth a try.

  27. my doctor prescribed levothyroxine .005 , after only a few days i had severe hair loss.
    is there another drug that does not have that side effect

    • Yes, hair loss is a listed side-effect of levo. I was on it and it didn’t make my hypothyroidism any better but when the hair loss just got worse and worse it was so upsetting. Doc didn’t have any answers so I said I wasn’t willing to stay on it with all the side effects. natural desiccated thyroid didn’t agree with me either (although hair loss stopped) so I am on T3 now. Turns out I can’t process levo nor the T4 (which is levo) component of NDT. Maybe you’re like me, maybe you can’t process levo. Don’t just put up with it if you’re feeling rotten and having lots of hair loss. Docs will say that will stop and it is just short term but it isn’t, it can keep falling out. My hair got so thin I had it all cut off, 18 inches, I was so upset to see my scalp through at the sides when in bright light. Good luck and really, don’t put up with it as it is right there on the info sheet that comes with the levo. You can’t stay on something that’s giving you side effects.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Hi Yvonne,

        I’ve heard from several readers that experienced massive hair loss when they started certain brands of thyroid medication. You’re right that we’re all different in terms of how our bodies react to the different medications and it’s about finding what’s right for you.

        http://hypothyroidmom.com/which-is-the-best-thyroid-drug-for-hypothyroidism/

        I too cut off all my hair to a pixie cut length for the hair loss and now thanks to proper thyroid treatment and testing and treating of my low ferritin my hair is growing back in healthy.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Doris, everyone reacts differently to the binding agents, fillers and dyes used in the different brands. I’ve heard from several readers who had hair loss when they started certain thyroid drug brands. There are other brands to try. Levothyroxine is a T4 only drug. Synthroid is the most common brand name, although I’ve heard from readers who complained of hair loss with this yet others didn’t have that same reaction. So again we’re all different. Here is an article attached with the different thyroid drug brand options.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/which-is-the-best-thyroid-drug-for-hypothyroidism/

  28. Had fantastic results with Synthroid for 1st 2 months in energy and metabolism but then some side effects causing me to inform PCP I wished to discontinue ie headaches, sweating, appetite, itching, swelling. I’m thinking that I have unmedicated, high blood pressure that perhaps a sodium free option may work better-what is there proven on the market as sodium free synthroid option?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Faith,

      It’s possible to have an allergic reaction to one of the binding agents, fillers, or dyes in the thyroid drug. I have many readers who have bad reactions to a particular thyroid drug then try a different brand and do better. We’re all different in how we react to the different brands so it’s about finding the one that’s right for you. Unfortunately I am not aware of which brands are sodium free or not. I wish I did to tell you. Perhaps calling the manufacturer of the brand to ask if they are sodium free or not.

  29. Hi,

    OK, so I am 40 yr old man and was diagnosed with Hasimoto’s about 1.5 years ago. My TSH was through the roof – 56 and I wasn’t really experiencing any symptoms. I started taking Euthyrox (100mg per day) and my body went into shock. Went down to 50 and then back up to 100 after I got used to it. Ever since taking it I have been having issues with my heart. Palpitations, couplets etc. had everything checked out and nothing serious going on. Any idea how to help stop the heart paps? Now I am on 100mg per day for more than a year my TSH is steady under 5 – floats between 2 & 5.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Spencer,

      Euthyrox is a type of Levothyroxine drug that contains T4 hormone only. These drugs are the number one prescribed for hypothyroidism but they don’t work for all of us. We’re also all different in how our bodies react to the different fillers, binding agents and dyes in the different brands, so you should know all the drug options and find a doctor who is open to exploring them to find what’s right for you.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

      Testing should include at a very minimum Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, adrenals, and full iron panel. Poor adrenals and poor iron levels are two common reasons why people experience hyperthyroid symptoms like heart palpitations on thyroid medication. There is a concept called “pooling” that you should read by thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/pooling/

      Also your heart palpitations may be due to your Hashimoto’s. Thyroid medication is an important factor in slowing down the autoimmune attack in Hashimoto’s however it is equally important to identify and treat the root causes that triggered your Hashimoto’s in the first place. Potential triggers include food intolerances (I have readers who went gluten free and their thyroid antibodies reduced to normal), nutrient deficiencies including selenium, D3, B12, zinc, blood sugar issues, abnormal sex hormone levels, bacteria/viral infections, Candida, heavy metal toxicity and digestion issues. There is a great new book by Dr. Izabella Wentz that goes over all the triggers for Hashimoto’s and what you can do about them.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-thyroiditis-lifestyle-interventions-for-finding-and-treating-the-root-cause/

  30. Hi. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism almost 8 years ago. I was always thin and very active, but within the past few years I have gained 70 lbs. It is so frustrating. I work out 4-5 days a week and eat very healthy. I am on synthroid. I go for blood tests every 6 months, my doctor says my levels are within the normal range, but I feel awful. Some days I feel like I am dieing, because of the lack of energy. I want my life back, I have 2 small children, and I feel like I can’t keep up with them. I am so tired of feeling this way. I am thinking of trying the gluten free diet, has anybody had any experience with this.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Amy,

      TSH is often the only test run for thyroid patients but this one test does not give a full picture. Testing should include at a minimum Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, adrenals, full iron panel and D3.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-5-reasons-doctors-fail-to-diagnose-hypothyroidism/

      Synthroid is the number one drug prescribed but it doesn’t work for all of us. This may be the issue.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/which-is-the-best-thyroid-drug-for-hypothyroidism/

    • Hi Amy,

      If you are gluten intolerant, eliminating it will make a HUGE difference in how you feel and look! When I gave up wheat, which is a challenge to do, the first gift was improved eyesight (my nightblindness disappeared). My digestion improved, fibromyalgia gone and my energy significantly improved. My hair/skin improved too.

      You might want to check out the recent Gluten Summit http://theglutensummit.com/

      If you don’t already cook regular meals for yourself, this is a big change but absolutely worth the effort. You have to build a new gluten free pantry but the payoff is BIG. People seem to think the fast food/prepacked dinner route is faster but once you are organized, you can bang out amazing meals in less time than running to the fast food joint. Once you start eating real food (gluten free/organic/nomGMO) you won’t want to eat the other stuff. I just had an omlette of pasture raised chicken eggs, spinach, parmesan, garlic, smashed tomatoes that was awesome. Took me 5 mins.

      I could go on and on. I would also recommend this site if you are looking to educate yourself. I’m taking her course which set me back several hundred dollars but in the grand scheme of things, will save me thousands in medical cost and untold suffering.
      http://www.thewholejourney.com

      Good luck.

  31. Amy – I feel you. I am so foggy headed. And I’m on Tirosint and Armour. Just started testosterone to the mix. Might – just might – go have my HGH (human growth hormone) tested. I hear it’s expensive and if I need the stuff – means shots for the rest of my life. But, I, like you am so tired of feeling tired. I suggest you try T3, before all else, if you haven’t tried it. I’m already on it and still struggling, but I do believe it helps a lot of people.

  32. I just wanted to thank you for recommending Dr. Borenstein. I saw him on Monday, and am so excited at the prospect of feeling good again! Thanks again- will keep you posted, but I’m really encouraged.!

  33. Michelle Hale says:

    I am 42 years old and started on synthroid 3 months ago. At first I felt great but now I have stared gaining weight even despite my efforts of reducing calories and excersising. Is there any other option out there for me?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Michelle,

      You know from this article that Synthroid is the number one drug prescribed but it fails to help many of us. Synthroid contains T4 hormone only and our bodies are supposed to convert it to the active T3 hormone our cells need but for many of us our bodies don’t convert it properly leaving us with low T3 and symptoms. The thyroid controls metabolism so you bet weight gain is a symptom. Many of us benefit from a combination of T4 and T3 treatment as I write about in this article. The first step is speaking to your doctor about these T3 medications such as natural desiccated thyroid. If your doctor is not open to these medications, then find a doctor who will explore them with you to see what’s best for you. There are options besides Synthroid. Also testing should include not just TSH but also Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies, Thyroglobulin Antibodies, Adrenals, full iron panel including Ferritin, and D3 at a minimum.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-5-reasons-doctors-fail-to-diagnose-hypothyroidism/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  34. My hair started to fall out right after my doctor increased my levothyroxin. I have since gone back to my original dosage. Will my hair grow back now that my dosage has changed back? Does anyone have any personal experience with this?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Patty, some people lose hair in reaction to certain thyroid drug brands so be sure to tell your doctor this happened because there are various brands. Also be sure your ferritin and sex hormones are tested because in my case these factors played a role in my hair loss too.

  35. Hi there i need your help plz my free t4 & free t3 are all normal and my tsh but my symptoms are getting getting bad my mental is bad. I got my 2 of my antibody tested and came back very high. My doctor put me on sythriod but i still feel the same even tho blood work is normal free t4 and free t3 what is going on with me and what can i do thank you.

    My adrenal and vit D are all good everything is all good in my blood.

  36. Geddy – Synthroid did nothing for me. I’m on a compounding pharmacy version of T3 and 100mcg of Tironsint. It’s what works best for me. Get the book by Kenneth Blanchard “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About You about Hypothyroid.” He looks at symptoms and not only bloodwork. I know it’s frustrating. Hang in there. And be your own advocate. Go seen another doctor if the one you’re seeing isn’t helping you.

  37. Julie Doerr says:

    i was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism 16 years ago. was told i needed to take a radiation pill so they machine could scan my throat for thyroid activity. found out later that the radiation pill KILLS the thyroid glands. after many years i went to an endocrinologist complaining i wasn’t feeling any better with the “synthetic thyroid medications” . she decided to take an ultrasound to see what was going on with my thryroid glands. low and behold! the radiation had killed my thyroid glands and was left with only specks of hormone in my throat. i did some research and found a natural medicine called armour. ive been taking that since 2009. although i feel much better, i still get depressed and i have mood swings. thank you for sharing , because i had no idea that thyroid disorders could lead to unhealthy brains..

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Julie, I’m sorry all that you’ve been through. I’m on a natural desiccated thyroid like Armour, but the brand I take is Nature-throid. Dosage is key for me. I feel terrible if my Free T3 is low. I only feel well when my dosage is high enough to get my Free T3 top quarter of the range. Here’s how.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/the-thyroid-worlds-queen-t3/

      Be sure testing includes Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, adrenals, full iron panel, sex hormones, blood sugar, and nutrient deficiencies like D3, B12, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

  38. Erika Donaldson says:

    Hello
    I was recently diagnosed with secondary hypothyroidism, so the issue is less my thyroid gland and more my pituitary gland. This Todd over a year of advocating to find out. My T4 was low so the endo prescribed synthroid about three months ago. I felt better initially after a dose increase but now I feel like I’m crashing. my symptoms are slowly returning. She once tested my T3 which was normal, but not the free T3. I think I will ask her to do so. I’m really concerned because we never found the cause of my pituitary issue. An MRI was done and came back normal. Which should I investigate more, my thyroid hormone levels outer my brain?
    Thanks

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Erika,

      The thyroid is a puzzle with many possible factors to consider. First it may be a dosage issue and that your dosage is not right for you. However as you know from my article the majority of us do better on a combination of T4 and T3 medication and Synthroid is only T4. Then it’s important to have a doctor who will test Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies, Thyroglobulin Antibodies, adrenals, full iron panel, sex hormones, blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies including D3, B12, magnesium, zinc, selenium. Get a second medical opinion to be sure all factors have been considered.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  39. Every doctor that I have been to will not listen to me when I tell them that I know my Levothyroxin isn’t working. It makes me so sick but they will not switch me. It’s so upsetting when they won’t listen to me. I’m going there for their help but all I’m getting is try this diet and take these pills. =( I’m 23 and I constantly flip flop between hypo and hyper on top of having PCOS.

    • Julie Doerr says:

      I had that issue . But that is why i went to an endocrinologist because they specialize in diabetes and thyroid disorders. you have to be really direct to the doctor. tell them you want to be put on a different medication. dont ask them. for years i had felt horrible despite using medication. because they were synthetic my body rejected them. so i did some research and found a natural medication called “armour”. since then, i have felt so much better. if the doctors you are going to dont give you the answer you want, go to another. but i highly suggest you go to a professional . because family practice doctors dont understand the kind of tests and levels of the thyroid.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Jessa,

      You have to find a new doctor one who is open to thyroid meds outside of Levothyroxine. Here are resources to help you find one. Also the fact you flip hypo to hyper and have PCOS are signs of Hashimoto’s which is considered the number one cause of hypothyroidism yet thyroid antibodies are not routinely tested so you need them tested. There are two tests you need: Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  40. Jennifer Padden says:

    I have hypo/Hashimoto’s and have so many symptoms for the last 20 years that I thought it was just from ageing.

    I have been see sawing between hyper and hypo for about 7 years & my dr was always just adjusting dosages. Now he has me alternating doses of 0.088 mg and 0.10 mg. I haven’t felt well for
    years.

    My dr refuses to do proper testing – just does the T4 and one antibody test.

    My latest symptoms of this downward spiral are Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia which is a precancer & I had 10 biopsies of my right breast & finally a lumpectomy on October 2/13. I am now considered high risk for breast cancer with lifetime risk 66%-73% due to already having ADH and family history of Breast cancer.

    About 3 years ago I began having vaginal pain with intercourse & I haven’t been able to having intercourse since. Drs could not find a problem but did believe it was atrophy and put me on Premarin cream just this past August /13. In Nov/13, a gyneo said I have scar tissue build up due to vaginal deliveries of my children & believes it’s been there for years but the pain of it is the atrophy & bag dryness. He wants me to try 1 mg of the Premarin for 3. months. I expressed my concerns due to being high risk for breast cancer but he said its very low risk.

    I just feel like there’s just so many issues & signs that my body is breaking down. I have Osteopenia, Vit D def, wrist & neck & jaw pain, weak ankles, trouble swallowing which is getting progressively worse, facial pain, aching teeth, swollen & bleeding g gums, hearing & vision problems, either freezing cold or extremely hot, indigestion, constipation, fatigue, chronic insomnia, no motivation, cold nodule on thyroid, etc etc.

    I will say that since my dr has me alternating doses of the Levothyroxine that I’m no longer constipated but all other symyoms have remained the same.

    I am 56 years old & feel like this has taken over me. I can’t shake it. Does anyone know of a good Thyroid dr who will do proper Lab tests on me. I feel like my life depends on it. I LIVE IN ONTARIO.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Oh Jennifer, I am sorry all you have been through. Please please please find a doctor who will look more closely at your thyroid health. Someone who will do all the right tests including Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, adrenals, full iron panel including ferritin, D3, B12, magnesium, zinc, selenium, food sensitivities and sex hormones. There are so many pieces to thyroid health that should be checked. As you know from this article Levothyroxine drugs do not work for everyone. For many of us we do better on a combo of T4 and T3 meds. Here are resources to help you locate a good doctor. In particular the link to Mary Shomon’s list if you scroll down that page you’ll see a list of doctors for Canada. Also if you click on the ThyroidChange list there is a list of Canadian doctors too. Best wishes to you.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  41. CAN SOMEONE PLZ JUST HELP ME! Can hypo/Hashimoto mess with your thoughts like can it mess with your irrational thinking and make you irrational paranoia? and give you delusion thoughts!? schizophrenia too? PLZ someone help me i never had this before till i found out i was hypo/has just came out of no where and NO i do not have any mental health in my fam nothing like that ! im on sythriod right now 25mcg and i dont feel good mentally and all this TSH free T3 & Free t4 blood tests keep coming back normal ! like what should i do can T3 help me get my normal mental and irrational thinking back? PLZ SOMEONE HELP ME !

  42. Virginia Bake says:

    I have been on Levothyroxine(25 mcg) for about a year. I have shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle weakness & trouble sleeping. the Dr. says my labs are OK now. I’m not sure what to ask him to do. After reading most of these I’m still confused. If the med. is working, should I insist on trying something else? What should it be? I’m thinking I need a second opinion, but don’t know where to go. I have an HMO & it has to be within their providers.

  43. Hi Dana, I am going to begin treating my hypothyroidism with thyroid supplement. I am still breastfeeding my baby and was wondering if you had any information on the safety of taking the natural desiccated thyroid supplement while breastfeeding. I know that it is “safe” to take levothyroxine while breastfeeding, that is, it’s okay for baby and it shouldn’t deplete milk supply. After reading your blog it seems like it would be better to try the natural supplement but I can’t find any information on taking that while breastfeeding. Thank you for this wonderful resource!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Breeayn, Here is an article from thyroid advocate Mary Shomon about the safety of thyroid medication while breastfeeding. Now she does not specify which thyroid medications are safe or not safe. I personally took Nature-throid, a natural desiccated thyroid, while breastfeeding. Of course it’s important to be under close supervision by your doctor to be sure you are taking the right dosage for you.

      http://thyroid.about.com/od/breastfeeding/f/thyroiddrugs.htm

  44. Thank you so much for posting all this information. I am trying to learn as much as I can and all these stories mean so much. It seems all so overwhelming but I am so glad you wrote it.

  45. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism 7 years ago and drank radio active iodine to kill my thyroid. Of course I immediately became hypo. I have been on levo ever since. My levels have fluctuated so much I almost expect the results to be abnormal each time I see my endo. Recently though, my TSH was 32.0. I am now on 200 mcg of levo. I am not even sure where to go from here. I have two little girls and teach kindergarten. It’s exhausting. I need help. I don’t know what to even ask the dr for. Do you have any advice on what I should ask for or what tests I should be receiving? Thank you so much. Hopeful…

  46. MariahPacheco says:

    Hello my names Mariah I just found out Im hypo and I feel as of my life just ended im not a pill person just because im very scared of the side affects I may get K went to get cheked out bc of how weak and tired and felt dead all the time I have a soon to be 3 year old and a one year old and I cant keep up with them . I have no Doc I found out threw the Er room I Have so many questions about this levo pill and so affraid to take it im driving my self nuts ive been crying alot im 21 years old and feel li ke a Child affarid of a monster lol . Should I find a doctor before I take this pill? Ive been reading about peoples effects like racing heart beat cant sleep and so on and thats on a 25 mg pill the same amount given to me … please help I feel like my family dont understand the fear I have right now the last pill I have took was back in 2010 and did a natural childbirth to skip the meds and now im on a pill for the rest of my life… sorry for sounding like a big spoiled brat or something but its 647am I woke up out of my sleep with butterflys its driving me nuts !!!! Thank you for anybody who kinda knows what im going threw and for the advice .

  47. Hello my names Mariah I just found out Im hypo and I feel as of my life just ended im not a pill person just because im very scared of the side affects I may get K went to get cheked out bc of how weak and tired and felt dead all the time I have a soon to be 3 year old and a one year old and I cant keep up with them . I have no Doc I found out threw the Er room I Have so many questions about this levo pill and so affraid to take it im driving my self nuts ive been crying alot im 21 years old and feel li ke a Child affarid of a monster lol . Should I find a doctor before I take this pill? Ive been reading about peoples effects like racing heart beat cant sleep and so on and thats on a 25 mg pill the same amount given to me … please help I feel like my family dont understand the fear I have right now the last pill I have took was back in 201and did a natural childbirth to skip the meds and now im on a pill for the rest of my life… sorry for sounding like a big spoiled brat or something but its 647am I woke up out of my sleep with butterflys its driving me nuts !!!! Thank you for anybody who kinda knows what im going threw and for the advice :(

  48. Thank you for your interesting website. I was diagnosed with hypo about 10years and it has taken me many years to get my dosage to what I believe seems to be working for me. I have had to ask my Dr to mark my presc generic only after being given non-generic (my dosage is a 6mth supply) by the chemist causing fogginess in the brain, exhaustion then one incident of complete memory loss (very frightening) I have since found out that non-generic have a shorter shelf life and also the ingredients are the same but caseing and fillers can be very different. You have also written about this so I have decided I am not going nuts. Anyway after 3mths of being back on “Oroxine” I am generally feeling much better. My only other query is that the Dr says I must take the tablet first thing in the morning as it has to be take on an empty stomach but this clashes with my only cup of coffee for the day is when I first hit the ground each morning so I have set my alarm and take my 100mg at 4pm each day as this is when my stomach is empty an hour before and after do you thonk this is okay? As it seems to work for me. Thanks for all the help

  49. I am so glad that I just found this website. I have been on Levothyroxine for 10 years now. I still have brain fog and forgetfulness which is very embarrassing at times. I can’t even remember simple things some times. My dr. only orders test for the TSH and never tests the free T3 or any other thyroid tests. Because my range for the TSH is in a normal range a little above a 2, then they don’t do the other tests. I am wondering if this is ok or not. I cannot convince my Dr. to test those. I have had three drs. and they only do the TSH.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Linda, TSH doesn’t give a full picture of thyroid health which is why testing Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies is so important. In addition the issue of what is considered “normal” TSH and “optimal” is very different. Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon from the site About.com Thyroid has this list of recommended tests on her Facebook page that includes optimal ranges. You will see that she writes optimal TSH is 1 to 2 so even by that alone you should seek out a doctor to do fuller testing for you. If you do not have access to Facebook and cannot open this link to her post please let me know. I will also post a list of resources to help you locate a doctor for a second opinion.

      Levothyroxine while it works for some does not work for us all. Many of us do better on a combination of T4 and T3. This may be an important issue for you if you continue to have symptoms on your treatment.

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151719609086481&set=a.382208591480.164472.377405846480&type=1

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  50. 2002 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, put on levo, very low dose. But it did the trick went to feeling relatively normal for a mom with 3 kids, job etc. by 2005 my little girl, 10 y/o got diagnosed with hyper. She was given radioactive iodine and went hypo, like most. So heart wrenching for a mother watch as her 12 y/o now gained 80 lbs in 4 months after being hypo and being treated with levo. Then youngest daughter in 2009, 9 y/o diagnosed hyper with more pronounced eye disease and I think given what damage the dr did to the other daughter she just decided to treat the hyper with increasing methimazole. Now both girls one 18 one 14 both are hypo but stable but both 250 & 220 lbs so on to me again. Totally freaky but started having heart racing and feeling like I someone was choking me. I called 911, when enroutetothehospital I could not berate and they decided to intubate me. They did tests to find out I was in the midst of a thyroid storm. So they tried to keep me sedated for 6 days while they were aggressively trying to bring the level down to a manageable level and then do surgery to take it out. They did the surgery. My thyroid was double the weight of a normal person and no signs of cancer which is apparently unusual for a 43 y/o woman with hypothyroidism. They sent every student to the pathology lab I was told. I developed pneumonia and was in in intensive care for 12 days. It was horrible, that was when he’ll just began. I lost 8% muscle mass each day of being in bed. I lost 20 lbs which made me partly happy until I realized it was all muscle and I couldn’t hardly walk and definitely could not go up the stairs to my own bedroom. Post op they started me right away on 137 mcg levo then 6 weeks later dropped it down to 112 then to 88 then back up to 125. Two weeks before Christmas I started to become overwhelmingly depressed and 3/4 of my hair fell out. I felt like a peacock that had its feathers taken away. Depression and anxiety were extreme. I put that 20 lbs back on plus 10 in one week. I begged my dr to switch me to armour as I had read so many people getting relief from that drug vs the one I was on. That’s when I went on a rampage looking for a dr. And made several consult appointments and explained that I pay for my healthcare and I they only were going to look at the numbers and not consider how I felt that they were not going to be my dr. I found one and when igot my blood drawn a week ago, I asked her if I could try the armour and she agreed but said that she was going to go slow and that there are only 5 strengths to the medications so it can have limitations. I have now been on it since February 3 rd and it is too soon to know if it will be the right strength or if she will ad something to make up for T3. I am vitamin d deficient since the surgery and take that also. My hair is so thin and wispy. Luckily I walked into this salon next to my pharmacy crying and the beautiful girl behind the counter said you will be fine you just need to go to Sally Beauty Supply and get some clip in extensions, she showed me that she herself had them in her beautiful hair. It was huge! Got the extensions, which were pricey 100$ and did not look like much but man oh man. I clip them in and no one knows that it is not my hair. I have even tested this and told people and they are shocked and amazed it’s not my hair. I want you to know I have never written on any posts before now and I wanted to share my story. I am hoping to feel normal again. And another thing that made me fire the first endo was gaining 10 lbs in a week and losing that much hair and having them tell me that it was no big deal, that I just overate during the holidays and the stress of the surgery is what made my hair fall out. Sorry, NOPE! Not with what I was reading and the way I felt in my gut that something was just wrong. I am happy you have this and maybe my story will help someone else, even if just one person reads this and decides to question how they feel and how they deserve proper care, money or no money. I live in the USA, served my country for our freedoms and am a disabled veteran. All politics aside, I hope this makes a difference.

  51. Kristina – Your story is tough to read. Why are so many of us having this issue with our thyroid? Is that planet just so poisoned now?

    The best thing to work for me has been compounding pharmacy T3 (desiccated pig thyroid) and Tirosint.

    If your doctor won’t put you on a NATURAL type of T3 – FIRE THEM. And find a doctor who will.

    Good luck to all.

  52. Hi! I recently found your page after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism just a few weeks ago. My lab results showed a TSH level of 374 which from what I have read seems drastically high. My physician so far is not treating my condition as anything unusual and just the normal hypo condition to be treated with the medication Levothyroxine. I have always read on your site about the correlation between miscarriages/stillbirth and thyroid conditions. I had never seemed to have any symptoms of this condition until after I suffered a stillbirth of our daughter (3rd child) last June at almost 41 weeks. It looked like her death was due to a cord compression accident with the cord presenting before her head and being compressed during labor. I am now worried that her death may have actually had something to do with my condition. I am scheduled to go back to the doctor this month for a recheck to see how I doing on the medication and if it needs adjusting. I am suspecting I will need to increase my dosage since it seems my levels were very high and I am still exhibiting the same symptoms of swollen neck, increased weight that isn’t coming off, lack of energy, and no menstrual cycle for several months. Do you think the stillbirth of our daughter could be related to my condition since I wasn’t diagnosed with the condition until after the birth? Do you think I could have developed the condition postpartum? My husband and I were really hoping to be able to try to conceive again, but I am worried that I will not be able to do so now or that my condition will cause me to lose another baby. After what we went through, I just don’t think I could handle another loss like that. Thank you so much for all of this information!

  53. So I went to my doc five weeks ago and she said my thyroid levels were too low despite my levothyroxine, and so she upped the dosage (I’ve been receiving treatment for about seven years, and just got a new doc). I’m thinking, “Great! Maybe now I’ll get some relief!” Instead, I think my symptoms have gotten worse. Is that possible, or is it just a coincidence?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Jen, ask your doctor if she would be open to trying other options with you including a combo of synthetic T4 and T3 or natural desiccated thyroid to see how you do.

  54. Christie says:

    I was born with hypothyroidism and have been on synthroid my whole life, from day 1. I had no idea there were other options for medication and have finally found a doctor who is willing to try me on something else – I don’t feel bad or good – mainly because I don’t know anything different. I am hoping by trying some other options I will learn what it feels like to have more energy and possibly keep my weight at a fairly regular level!!

    thanks for the awesome work you’re doing – so glad I stumbled upon your site <3

  55. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos last week and started off with Amour thyroid 30mg. I took one tablet for 2 days and experiences intense itching on my face, swelling of the tounge and lips. I shared this with my doc and she put me on Natures Thyroid and while the allergic reaction isn’t quite as bad I’m still feeling swelling of the eye lids and a burning sensation in my throat and at the back of my mouth. Kind of like I’ve been eating hot peppers. Any body else have these wierd reactions? Did they go away in time?

    • Teresa R says:

      I was having problems with the pig thyroid too. I was only on a 1/4 of a 1mg tab as anything higher caused my heart to beat fast, and a soreness in my left arm (tho’t I was heading for a heart attack!). Went off it for 6 months, onto an herbal support, but now my TSH is even worse & I felt it, worse! So, tho’ I hate synthetic I was desperate & switched to Synthroid (Levoxin sp?). I’m @ .05mg with no reaction, feeling a bit better. Retesting in 5 weeks. I understand that going on a “thyroid diet” also looks promising. I’m currently doing a blend of the GAPS/Maker’s diet/Nourishing Traditions WAPF, for my son’s tummy issues, but even avoiding eating broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage in the raw state, I noticed this made an amazing difference last fall! I believe what u eat & how it’s prepared makes a difference in our overall health! Blessings to u all!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Lisa, there are different fillers, binding agents and dyes in the different brands of thyroid meds and why our bodies are all different in terms of how we react to them. You may be sensitive to something in these two drugs. There are other options to discuss with your doctor including WP Thyroid by RLC Labs or having a compounding pharmacy custom make thyroid meds without the ingredients to which you are sensitive.

  56. Hi. Is there anybody out there who has converted Hashimoto without using medication?

    My daughter got diagnosed in January and I would so much like to find away for her without medication. Has any of you any experience concerning this?

    Gtatitude. Dagmar

  57. I buy my thyroid and bio-identical hormones at CVS. They keep a database if you tell them your allergens and they will inform you if they cannot fulfill a script based on your profile. I accidentally didn’t tell them I’m allergic to soy and peanuts and purchased the progesterone before reading the bottle. I really found it hard to believe that soy and peanuts would be a part of the mfg. process. They let me return it one time, but once you pay for it, they normally will not return it once you leave the premise. This was a 50.00 error. I’m better off getting a compounded script, for just a little more money.

    I’m trying tirosint/cytomel which seem very expensive and hoping for results. Armour gave me a serious sinus infection. Naturethoid did not work at all. I’m on a paleo diet and rest a lot, but I’ve been on tirosint on a few days and I feel tired. Perhaps 50 mcg to start is too low. Can anyone tell me if you’ve had similar issues? I went to a specialist and she put my on low dose naltrexone at our first appointment and it’s doing a beautiful job lowering my antibodies down to 100 from 700 in just two months. Google LDN, I was disappointed when I found out my regular GP knows about it and didn’t once recommend it to me in over a year after I told her my antibodies were elevated and the Naturethoid does nothing.

  58. Hi, Lisa. I have been on Synthroid/Levothyroxine for over 5 years. My recent bloodwork has my TSH level at 0.441 and my Free T4 level at 1.9 and flagged as HIGH. Should I be concerned? My endocrinologist thinks it’s all good. I am having some thinking issues and have gained weight recently. I am allergic to iodine and avoid all iodine products. Could that be influencing how my thyroid is working?
    Thanks.

  59. Hello, I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few days ago because I went to see my doc about my enlarged thyroid. Seen him the same day I called to make an appointment did blood work and a cpl days later my TSH was 40.0. Got more blood work done to check for Hashi’s (I’ll know by Friday) and had an ultrasound done (which will take a bit longer for the results to come back) He prescribed me Eltroxin 0.1mg but he don’t want me to take it until he knows if its hashimotos that’s causing hypo! And tbh I’m kinda scared to take it because of all the horror stories I’ve read! Lol

    Anyways, my symptoms seem like a mixture of both hypo and hyper. Like feels and looks like I’m losing weight, I am tired but I get spurts of energy, also cant sleep at night! I get hot flashes, sweat when I actually sleep, there was only a cpl times I’ve felt really cold! Slow heart rate w/ palpitations, Im not experienceing any hair loss or brittle nails (I take biotin) eye and ear pain (had that for over a year) my eyes are becoming more sensitive….and have had bad aching bones and joints and stiffness….but the achiness has gone for now and the brain fog and forgetfulness is starting to set in lol….I wonder if this is just the start or if I’ve been hypo for a few years! Cuz of other symptoms but I won’t go there cause this post is getting too long lol

  60. catherine kostelec says:

    Since using Cytomel my numbers and energy is better but my hair has turned to wispy baby fine hair and falling out -has anyone had this experience

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Catherine, let your doctor know this reaction to Cytomel. I’ve heard from readers reporting hair loss when starting various thyroid medications. Our bodies are all different in terms of how we react to the different fillers, binding agents and dyes. There are other options including natural desiccated thyroid that contains both T4 and T3. There are also compounded T3 meds that can be produced by compounding pharmacies without the ingredients to which you are sensitive. So different options to discuss with your doctor.

  61. Hi, I’m 23, I went to the doctor a little over two weeks ago to get tested for hypothyroidism. My hair had been falling out and I was always exhausted. My blood test came back positive for hypothyroidism and I have been on Levothyroxine since.

    My hair is still falling out and I can’t stand waiting as it gets worse. I am also taking biotin and a liquid b12 complex. The medicine has also caused mood swings from crying to anger.
    My doctor told me to take the medicine for a month.

  62. Hello Dana:
    I have hypothyroid symptoms and am on Erfa Thyroid right now. I am on 90 mg. one day they 120 mg the next day…then 90..then 120. I have insomnia, hot flashes, light headedness, fibrilations, foggy thinking, unable to loose weight, thinning hair, etc. My last blood work was Free T3 was 6.5 (high end of range) Free T4 was 16 (mid range) and my TSH was 0.02 (low end of range which makes me hyperthyroid). My doctor will not increase my thyroid meds. I am also on Progesterone cream, Estrogen Cream and Testosterone Cream. I have had a Right Hemithyroidectomy done in 1991 for nodules. I have been on Levothyroxin 0.1 mg for many years but that dose did give me palpitations so dose was decreased to 0.05mg but that was not enough. I did have a mitral valve prolapse which was repaired in 2005. I went back on Levothyroxin 0.1 mg but that eventually started my arrythmias again. Started on Erfa Thyroid about 1 year ago. Started on 15 mg then slowly increased. Not as fast as the “Stopthethyroidmadness” website recommends and I am now at the dose mentioned above. I now have arrythmias again. PLEASE HELP ME. I would love to find a doctor in my area to help me and do all the blood work necessary to give me a proper diagnosis. My grandfather had and my mother also has thyroid issues. Look forward to hearing from you SOON!

  63. p b kansagara says:

    I have Hypothyrodism TSH is found 6.67 how much mcg tablet should be taken everyday

  64. I’m going nuts with this Hashimoto diagnosis and treatment! I am 56 now and I just don’t feel like I will ever be anything near “normal” again. Every time I go in and have my levels tested, they tell me they are within the normal range. But I feel as if I am not anywhere near who I once was. I can gain 5 pounds in a matter of days! and not be eating anything different than I was the week before!! That is so discouraging! I have gained a total of almost 60 pounds over the course of about 10 years…about the time I was finally diagnosed. Getting that diagnosis took me almost being totally out! I kept complaining I had no energy and all of the normal symptoms…but mainly no energy. It got to the point that I could hardly work. I remodel houses and I would be on site but would just lay down and answer questions like that. It was just awful. They finally did the re-uptake and then they freaked! It’s a shame that it went that far. I weighed about 110-120 most all of my life until I was about 42. Now I weigh 190!!!!!! I take a cluster of all kinds of meds that I am sure that I would not need to take if I could lose this weight! but I can’t get it off. I take 50mcg of levothyroxine. Whenever I make a suggestion that maybe I need to increase my dose, I get told that I don’t understand how my thyroid works. argh! Any and all help and advice will be greatly appreciated.

  65. I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s / Hypothyroid. My goiters grew extremely fast and began affecting my voice, breathing, and swallowing. My ENT (who has had thyroid cancer and a thyroidectomy) tried me on 3 months of Synthroid 75, which did nothing. As the goiters grew, he finally recommended thyroidectomy. I had my thyroid out just about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been on Synthroid 125 plus Calcium and Vitamin D. The Synthroid is doing NOTHING, as I still have hair falling out, uncontrollable body temps, mood swings, no energy, brain fog, dry skin, can’t sleep…and many other issues. I go back for my 1st increase (had blood work done last week, but don’t have results yet) in a few days. I just want to know what I’m to be expecting. Without my thyroid, am I still considered to have Hashimoto’s?? I can tell I’m not on enough medicine and need to feel better. I felt better before surgery. How long should I wait once the medicine is increased to start feeling better?? Any help would be appreciated. Kim

Trackbacks

  1. […] Optimal Thyroid Treatment – It wasn’t until my doctor did comprehensive thyroid testing and explored the thyroid drug options to find what was right for me, that my constipation began improving. This is a critical step for every hypothyroidism sufferer. If you are reading this article right now and you suffer from chronic constipation but you’ve never been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, please get your thyroid tested. If you are being treated with thyroid medication but you still suffer from common symptoms like constipation, take a closer look at whether you are being optimally treated. […]

  2. […] Optimal Thyroid Treatment – It wasn’t until my doctor did comprehensive thyroid testing and explored the thyroid drug options to find what was right for me, that my constipation began improving. This is a critical step for every hypothyroidism sufferer. If you are reading this article right now and you suffer from chronic constipation but you’ve never been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, please get your thyroid tested. If you are being treated with thyroid medication but you still suffer from common symptoms like constipation, take a closer look at whether you are being optimally treated. […]

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