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Conditions - Endocrine - Alternative thyroid medications


Patrick Massey MD, PhD  ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, Elk Grove Village Il and serving the Chicago area
 
Alternative Thyroid Medications
 
There are a number of thyroid medications that are available to patients. 
 
T4 (thyroid hormone with 4 iodine atoms attached):  Synthroid, generic – levothyroxine.  T4 is the most commonly used thyroid medication.  It has a long half life because it is biochemically inactive until the body converts it into the active form of thyroid hormone T3…like a sustained-release form of T3.
 
T3  (thyroid hormone with 3 iodine atoms attached): Cytomel, generic –liothyronine.  T3 is the active  form of thyroid hormone.  Physicians rarely prescribe it because of its short half life…needs to be dosed several times per day.
 
Combined T3/T4 :  Most common medication is Armour thyroid, FDA approved, standardized amounts of T3 and T4 and first introduced in the late 1800's for the treatment of hypothyroidism.  There are a number of other T3/T4 combination medications available…not just Armour…and may have a different ratios of T3 and T4.  Compounding pharmacies can make T3/T4 medications individualized to the patient.


***I strongly do not recommend thyroid gland - based supplements.  The levels of thyroid hormone are not standardized and results are quite variable.  High dose iodine has no role in treating hypothyroidism.  It can be toxic***
 

Most traditional physicians only prescribe T4 and, truth be told, it is beneficial for most patients.  However, in my experience, about 20% of patients who need thyroid medication do not do well on just T4.  For a variety of reasons, they may not convert T4 into T3 very well or they simply need extra T3.  The majority of these patients will do well on a T3/T4 combination medication.
 
For all common medical conditions, traditional physicians prescribe a number of medications because we know that patients are individuals and respond differently to medications.  For hypothyroidism, only one medication (T4) is recommended and this is wrong.  People are different and good options are available.
 

Let us help you…call (847) 923-0046 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Massey

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Thursday April 22, 2021