Tag Archives: levothyroxine

Why Levothyroxine — i.e. Synthroid — Treatment Isn’t Working for You

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Conventional medicine believes that if you have an underactive, chemically ablated or surgically-removed thyroid gland, that all you need is levothyroxine – the synthetic form of the T4 hormone. Levothyroxine is also known by its brand names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Tirosint, and Levothroid, among others. T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone, and must be converted into the active thyroid hormone T3 – triiodothyronine — in order to deliver oxygen and energy to cells, and resolve hypothyroidism. The conventional belief is that the levothyroxine will adequately and effectively convert in the body to T3. As a result, millions of people who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or who are hypothyroid after thyroid surgery or Radioactive Iodine (RAI) treatment, are given a prescription for generic or brand name levothyroxine, and sent on their way. Even with levothyroxine treatment, however, many of these patients, and you may be among them, continue to experience hypothyroidism […]

4 Reasons Why You May Need More Thyroid Medication

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Researchers took a look at some of the key factors that cause patients to need larger-than-expected dosages of thyroid medication. The study looked at levothyroxine dosages in hypothyroid patients, but the factors they identified – the reasons why you may need more thyroid medication – are relevant whether you’re taking levothyroxine, liothyronine (T3), or natural desiccated thyroid for your hypothyroidism. Reason 1: Your Medication is Impairing Absorption One key factor that may cause you to be on a higher dose is that you are taking a medication that is known to interfere with thyroid medication absorption. In the study, 21% of the patients were taking a drug that interfered with absorption of their thyroid medication. Reason 2: You Have Undiagnosed Celiac Disease In the research, study members were tested for anti-endomysial antibodies and evidence of celiac disease. As many as 4% of the study population was found to have undiagnosed […]

Thyroid Drug Interactions: Drugs That Affect Thyroid Hormone Replacement Absorption

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There are a variety of reasons why you may need to take a larger-than-usual dose of thyroid hormone replacement medication— but one of the most common reason is that you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication that affects absorption of your thyroid medication. For example, before you grab that Tums or Rolaids along with a thyroid drug, think again. Antacids that include calcium carbonate and/or aluminum hydroxide can significantly reduce thyroid medication absorption. (There’s some evidence that antacids with magnesium may also have an effect.) They should be taken four to six hours apart from thyroid medications. Iron also supplements impair absorption. They should be taken four to six hours apart from thyroid medications. Some other absorption blockers: Sucralfate – ulcer drug – allow at least 8 hours apart Cholestyramine and other cholesterol lowering drugs – 4-6 hours apart Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and other quinolone antibiotics – at least 4 […]

Five Ways the New ATA Hypothyroidism Guidelines are Bad for Thyroid Patients

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There are so many things wrong with these Guidelines that we could write volumes, but let’s cut to the chase. Here are five ways the new ATA hypothyroidism guidelines hurt thyroid patients. 1. The ATA’s Conflict of Interest Makes the Guidelines Findings Questionable at Best While the ATA goes out of its way to assert that there are no financial conflicts of interests, as patient advocate Mary Shomon points out in her article, the ATA itself receives a substantial amount of financial support from three drug companies – Pfizer, AbbVie, and Akrimax – that make levothyroxine, the drug that the guidelines claim are the “standard of care.” How can the ATA claim a lack of bias and no conflict of interest, when its own balance sheet depends on support from the very drug makers who make the drug they are claiming is superior? 2. The ATA Diminishes the Importance and […]

13 Numbers About Your Health That You Need To Know

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2.5 OR LOWER Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels above 2.5 are considered to be suspicious for subclinical hypothyroidism by many integrative physicians. The “normal” reference range for the TSH test tends to run from .3 to 4.5, and many patients with levels above 2.5 are told their thyroid is “normal,” while their physicians fail to test to actual circulating thyroid hormone (Free T4, Free T3) or the thyroid antibodies that can detect an autoimmune thyroid disease. 1.3 OR HIGHER The Free T4 test measures the available amount of the T4 storage hormone available to be converted into T3, the active thyroid hormone. While the reference range at many labs runs from .8 to 2.8 ng/dL, integrative physicians have found that most patients feel best when their level falls into the top half of the range, at a level of 1.3 or higher. 3.2 OR HIGHER The Free T3 test measures […]

7 Signs That You Need a New Doctor

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To borrow the metaphor, you may have to kiss a few frogs along the way before you find that prince — or princess — or a practitioner. But in some cases, it becomes clear that this is not a working relationship, and it’s time to move on. Here are seven signs that you definitely need a new doctor. 1. Your Doctor Questions Whether Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Adrenal Insufficiency Are “Real” Diagnoses If you get an inkling that your doctor lumps Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — as well as adrenal insufficiency — into the category of psychosomatic, somatoform illnesses, or suggests that they are somehow not real, “made-up,” “trendy,” or in your head, it’s a clear warning that you need a new doctor. Move on to a more knowledgeable practitioner who is up on the latest research and findings about these conditions. 2. Your Doctor Bristles at the Word “Bioidentical” […]

The Best Clinical Guidelines Money Can Buy: A Look at Guidelines Bias and Thyroid Treatment

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The article didn’t get much attention in the American medical community, and that’s no surprise. The title of the British Medical Journal article was “Evidence Based Medicine: Why we can’t trust clinical guidelines.” In the June 2013 article, author Jeanne Lenzer describes how drug companies can negatively influence members of committees that create clinical guidelines, to the detriment of patient care. What are Clinical Guidelines? According to the Institute of Medicine, clinical practice guidelines are “statements that include recommendations intended to optimize patient care that are informed by a systematic review of evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options.” Ideally, these guidelines should be based on rigorous analysis, good science, and the best possible evidence and patient outcomes, without any influence from the manufacturers of the drugs being reviewed, and procedures or medical devices involved in the treatments. In reality, however, as Lenzer identifies, […]

Driving While Hypothyroid: Worse Than Drunk Driving?

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Researchers from the University of Kentucky looked at whether significant hypothyroidism could impair driving ability. They studied 32 patients who had thyroid cancer – and who were taken off their thyroid hormone drugs and became hypothyroid prior to radioactive iodine scanning to detect cancer recurrence. They had the patients do a driving simulator test, and according to study co-author Dr. Charles Smith, “We found that hypothyroid patients being tested on a driving simulator had a similar performance to that of drivers with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit in the U.S. Physicians should warn their hypothyroid patients to avoid driving until they have been sufficiently treated with thyroid hormone.” According to study co-author Dr. Ken Ain, “These patients had delayed reaction times, and their response in terms of braking their vehicles was as bad as those above the legal limit for alcohol intoxication.” Said Ain: “Nobody has truly […]

Thyroid Drugs and Antibiotics: A Warning

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A study from the journal Thyroid found that the antibiotic ciprofloxacin – known more commonly by brand names Cipro, Proquin, Ciproxin, Ciprobay, Cirpoxine, and Ciflox — significantly decreased the absorption of the thyroid medication. [Keep in mind that some experts feel that the warning about ciprofloxacin applies also to similar quinolone antibiotics such as levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), monifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Norox-In), and ofloxacin (Floxin).] This means that if you are taking thyroid drugs and an antibiotic from the quinolone family, it could interfere with absorption, and cause you to become substantially more hypothyroid. Interestingly, the antibiotic rifampin (also called rifampicin) — and known by brand names Rifadin, Rifamate and Rifater — significantly increased the absorption of the thyroid medication. This means that if you are taking the antibiotic along with your thyroid hormone replacement medication, it could actually cause you to become overmedicated, or experience hyperthyroid symptoms. Is there […]

Challenges in Thyroid Hormone Therapy: Why Is It So Complicated?

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On the one hand, it’s promising to think that a group of prominent endocrinologists are joining together to discuss this important issue. The endocrinology community, after all, is not typically known for acknowledging — much less being curious about — the complexities of thyroid hormone treatment. The tendency is usually to prescribe Synthroid, Levoxyl or another brand name or generic form of levothyroxine, and then write off any unresolved symptoms as unrelated to the thyroid problem, as a consequence of poor lifestyle choices, or even, as a somatoform disorder, also known as a psychosomatic disease. But for two decades, thyroid patients, advocates, and an increasing number of physicians — many of them holistic or integrative — have already been hard at work identifying and successfully identifying effective solutions to the challenges of thyroid hormone therapy. To some extent, it’s complicated because the endocrinology world makes it so. The Limitations of […]