The 4 Types of Thyroid Medication

Issue # 136  September 19, 2013

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

Today, Tom Brimeyer is going to explain the 4 categories of thyroid medications and how each of them affect your thyroid function.

Have a great day!

Corri

 

The 4 Types of Thyroid Medications

 

By Tom Brimeyer

 

Yesterday I was working with a client and we got on the topic of thyroid medication.
As we talked about what she was using and how she was using it, it brought up some very important points.
Points that you really need to understand and that would greatly benefit you.
The truth is that you are most likely using the wrong thyroid medication or supplement.
Or, you may be using the right medication or supplement but in the completely wrong way.
How you use thyroid hormone can make a big difference in how you feel.
After a few months on the program, my client said she felt about 90% better.
Considering how bad off she was when she first started, that’s pretty remarkable.
I believe the last 10% she’s missing could be achieved simply by using her thyroid supplement the right way.
Prior to starting the program, she was ready to quit work because she couldn’t function. Of course that’s quite the stressful situation for anyone to face.
And this isn’t exactly the best economy in which to face these types of issues.
But the good news is that things have completely changed for the better and all of her lab tests have improved significantly.
Before I can share with you what I shared with her, we need to discuss the current options for Thyroid hormone or medication…
This is not designed to be a comprehensive list, but rather provide you with the standard options that you might be using or might want to work with your doctor to switch to.
A little bit later, we’ll be diving into more detail on how best to use each.
If you’re unsure of which category your supplement or medication falls under, you should do a little research and look at the manufacturer’s website.
=================================================== 1. T4-Only Medications (Synthroid, Levothyroxine, Levoxyl, etc.) ===================================================
T4-only medications like Synthroid or Levothyroxine are by far the most commonly prescribed thyroid medications used today.
Unfortunately, they are pretty much the worst option too.
T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone that must be converted into the active T3 version of thyroid hormone for your cells to use.
This T4 to T3 conversion takes place in your liver.
Unfortunately, it’s very common for hypothyroidism sufferers to develop liver dysfunction, which impairs your ability to convert your T4 medication efficiently.
Of course this poses a major problem and is a common reason why you may still be experiencing all of the same thyroid symptoms even if taking T4 thyroid medication.
=================================================== 2. Desiccated Thyroid (Armour, ERFA, Naturethroid, Westhroid, etc.) ===================================================
Desiccated thyroid has been used for well over 100 years and was the thyroid medication of choice long before synthetic T4-only medications were designed in a lab.
It is derived directly from the thyroid glands of pigs and/or cattle depending on the brand of the medication or supplement.
One of the biggest benefits of desiccated thyroid is that the thyroid hormone it contains is far better matched to what your thyroid gland naturally produces.
Your thyroid gland produces both T3 and T4, making T4-only medications quite unnatural from a physiological perspective.
However, there are also problems with desiccated thyroid as well as some people don’t respond well to them.
But it’s important to understand that if you don’t respond well to desiccated thyroid, it’s not typically an issue with the medication itself.
It’s typically an underlying issue with you that needs to be addressed.
For any of my clients who come to me using T4-only medications and have not tried desiccated thyroid, I generally recommend that they start here.
That is unless their lab testing and temperature and pulse measurements suggest otherwise.
But unless you are working with someone qualified to understand your lab results and help you in more depth, desiccated thyroid is generally a safe option.
Many doctors are not open to the idea of using desiccated thyroid with their patients. If your doctor is one of them, then it’s likely time to find a new doctor.
One that will listen to you and truly has your best interests at heart.
There is quite a lot of research supporting the use of desiccated thyroid over T4 only medications and it’s something that your doctor should be aware of.
However, most are not.
=================================================== 3. T3 only Medication (Liothyronine, Cytomel, etc.) ===================================================
T3 as mentioned above is the active form of thyroid hormone on which your cells thrive.
T3 itself can be extremely beneficial when used properly.
However, most doctors and patients use it completely the wrong way, which accounts for most of the negative responses.

Many of my clients have benefited greatly from using T3 only medication the right way.
For some it has literally been a life saver.
Because T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone, many doctors are not comfortable using it.
T3, including desiccated thyroid, should be used with caution, especially with certain heart conditions.
It’s important to understand that your heart depends on T3 to function.
But when used improperly, T3 or desiccated thyroid can exacerbate some heart issues.
=================================================== 4. Compounded Thyroid ===================================================
Compounded thyroid is a form of T3 and/or T4 that is specially formulated or customized through what is called a compounding pharmacy.
One of the biggest benefits of using a compounded pharmacy is that they have the ability to adjust the strengths and ratios of T3 and T4 outside of what is commercially available.
They can also formulate the inactive ingredients that you may be reacting negatively to as well.
However, there is a common problem among compounding pharmacies in that they typically do not do a good job producing a standardized product.
In other words, there tends to be variations in dosages from batch to batch.
In my experience in working with clients using compounded thyroid, it’s not a reliable option.
In many cases, my clients have had to switch from a compounded thyroid medication to something more reliable and the results in some cases are remarkable.
With that being said…
Many people notice significant results simply by switching from a T4-only medication to a properly balanced T3/T4 combination.
If you haven’t tried this, then that’s always the first place to start.
However, there are still some problems with T3/T4 medications that you need to know as well.
…Problems that can make a night and day difference in your quality of life.
Now, if you’ve tried a form of desiccated thyroid or a T3/T4 combination and had a negative reaction, there’s a good reason why.
Maybe it wasn’t very effective.
Maybe it made you feel stressed with some anxiety, increased heart rate, or even heart palpitations.
If that’s the case, the problem is not the medication…
The problem is actually you.
Please keep in mind that today we’re just scraping the surface. You may already know a lot of this, but things are about to get a lot more interesting.
Talk soon,
Tom “use the right thyroid hormone” Brimeyer
P.S.
If you’re someone like me who enjoys research, then you should definitely read this study:
http://www.hypothyroidismrevolution.com/research/Is-Thyroxine-the-Only-Valuable-Drug.pdf
In this study they found that about 90% of hypothyroidism sufferers failed to respond to T4-only medication.
Considering that almost all doctors prescribe T4-only medications like Synthroid…
This is a HUGE problem!
But that’s why I’m here.

If you would like to check out Tom’s program just follow this link: Hypothyroidism Revolution