Questions regarding thyroid medications are extremely common among thyroid patients. If you are happy with the medication you are taking – that is excellent! If you are still not feeling well, despite taking the medication your doctor has prescribed, you are not alone.
Prior to starting thyroid medications, it is also important to address adrenal fatigue, iodine deficiency, and environmental toxicity. If these issues are not addressed prior to taking thyroid medication, the medications may actually worsen symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Thyroid medications need to be taken in increasing amounts. When first starting, it is recommended that patients start on a small dose, which is gradually increased over a period of up to six months before the appropriate level is achieved. It is very important that the patient stay in touch with their doctor during this period and report any unusual symptoms to their doctor immediately, especially rapid heart beat, heart palpitations, chest pain, tremors or shortness of breath.
In general, thyroid medication should be taken at the same time each day, usually first thing in the morning, with a full glass of water. Waiting at least ½ hour before eating is recommended – eating too soon after taking your medication can affect how much hormone is absorbed in your body. If you miss a dose in the morning, it is suggested that you take it as soon as you can, but do not double up on a dose if you don’t remember until the next day. It is also recommended that you wait at least one to two hours after taking thyroid hormones before taking any vitamins or nutritional supplements.
There are three basic protocols doctors use for treating thyroid disorders today. Sadly, some doctors are influenced by the pharmaceutical companies and/or have not taken the time to thoroughly research how and why one medication may be appropriate for one patient, but not for another. If is very frustrating for some patients who know they do not feel well, but their physician will not vary the type or dose of medication he/she prescribes. In this case, it is extremely important for the patient to investigate their options, and even provide information to their physician about additional medication options.
Synthetic T4 – Levothyroxine (aka l-thyroxine)
Natural Desiccated Thyroid
Combination T4-T3 Supplements
Sources: THYROID BALANCE, Glenn S. Rothfeld, M.D., M.Ac. & Deborah S. Romaine; HYPOTHRYOIDISM TYPE 2, Mark Starr, M.D.; OVERCOMING THYROID DISORDERS, David Brownstein, M.D.