Thyroid Medication Options

Although most doctors will not tell you, there are more options for treating your thyroid than just T4-only medicine such as Levothyroxine or Synthroid.

A healthy thyroid would be giving you five hormones and these are: T1, T2, T3, T4 and Calcitonin. 

I would always suggest working with a doctor to make any change to your health regime.

T4-only meds
Most conventional doctors believe that we only need to put T4 in to our body, as we only require tiny amounts of T1, T2 and Calcitonin anyway, so we don’t need to put that in, and our body will convert some of the T4 to T3. Bingo! That seems simple enough, right?

Wrong.

While some people do well on T4-only meds, such as Levothyroxine and Synthroid, many other thyroid patients fail to convert the T4 in to T3, so when they take T4-only meds, they still feel rubbish

It still baffles me why doctors think that someone with an already rubbish thyroid, that isn’t working properly, will be able to convert T4 to T3 without a problem. Where is the logic in that?!

So, if you don’t feel better on T4-only meds, you may benefit from taking T3 too. This is available as T3-only, T3 and T4 as a combination, and NDT.

If you do well on T4-only medication, then great! Just look out for signs that you’re not doing so good on it as time goes on, as some patients start to notice it becoming less successful at treating their symptoms.

T3 medication.
Instead of being on T4-only, could choose to be on T3 -only medication, but remember that you’ll have no T4 (the storage hormone), to convert to T3 for you, so you’ll have to dose it more often, such as 3 or 4 times a day. More info here.

T3 and T4 combination.
As well as a T4-only medicine like Levothyroxine, you would also take a T3-only medicine like Cytomel. Thyroid patients who have tried this report much better results than using T4-only on its own, as it gives you direct T3 and doesn’t rely on your body converting it.

NDT.
Natural Desiccated Thyroid is made from porcine  thyroid gland and gives you exactly what your own thyroid would be giving you,  which is: T1, T2, T3, T4 and Calcitonin.  A lot of patients who’ve tried T4-only medicine, T4 and T3 together, or even just T3 on its own, have reported even better results with NDT. Most people dose NDT twice a day, taking half their dose in the morning and the other half mid-afternoon.

If you’re vegetarian, read this article. It covers bovine (cow) NDT options.


The hardest part is getting your doctor to prescribe anything other than T4-only medicine, so you may need to go private or self-source, like I have done with NDT. However, this can be risky, so I would always suggest working with a doctor to make any change to your health regime, where possible.

Stop The Thyroid Madness cover all the different brands and ingredients of NDT, here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that NDT is the only way forward, and some thyroid patients do do well on T4-only meds, but the problem is that doctors need to be treating patients based on their own individual needs, symptoms and reaction to medication. The best thyroid medicine is the one that works best for that particular person. This should include T3 and NDT medicine.

Instead of just considering T4-only medication, doctors should find what’s best for each person, to alleviate their symptoms. Not assume we’re all the same and T4-only will work for all of us.

If you are not feeling well despite being on thyroid medication, it could be because your test results are in the “normal” range but not at the “optimal” level for you. 

If you found this article informative, useful, helpful or in other words are grateful you stumbled across it, please consider helping me keep The Invisible Hypothyroidism running, so that we can carry on building a strong community, spreading awareness and helping each other. Running the site comes at the expense of my personal time and money from my own pocket. You can make a one-off or monthly donation to support me keeping this website going, by clicking the button below.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information give. Also see these links:

http://hypothyroidmom.com/study-reveals-superiority-of-natural-desiccated-thyroid-over-levothyroxine-in-hypothyroidism-treatment/

https://www.verywell.com/hypothyroidism-often-unrelieved-by-levothyroxine-4114322

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/options-for-thyroid-treatment/

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/armour-vs-other-brands/

https://www.verywell.com/study-finds-patients-prefer-combination-t4t3-treatment-3233275

https://www.verywell.com/t3-superior-t4-levothyroxine-hypothyroidism-thyroid-3976277

https://www.verywell.com/thyroid-patients-do-you-need-t3-to-feel-well-3882944

To get notified of all my posts, blogs and articles, like my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheInvisibleHypothyroidism/ 

And follow me on Instagram.

I run a Facebook group, called Thyroid Family: Hypothyroidism Advice & Support Group. This group is for underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism patients only, and not medical professionals or anyone else. If you have any questions on living with hypothyroidism, or want some support, help or advice, please join us. 

I also run a group for the spouses, partners and other halves of hypothyroid patients, called Hypothyroid Patients Other Halves – Support & Advice Group. This is for the other halves only and not patients. 

-Rachel

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