What If I Have Other Medical Conditions
Hypothyroidism can have profound effects on the rest of your body, so many people with low thyroid levels might have other conditions.
Low levels of thyroid hormone can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Thats because thyroid hormone helps your body manage its insulin and blood sugar levels. By getting your thyroid hormone levels back to normal, you can improve the way your body processes insulin and blood sugar.
How Does Armour Thyroid Work
Armour Thyroid is a tablet that contains both T3 and T4, which are the two main thyroid hormones that are naturally produced in the body.
T3 has more than four times the level of activity in the body as T4, and the body uses T4 to make T3. Although the body produces about 15 times as much T4 as it does T3, some people have a difficult time converting T4 into T3. While many treatments for hypothyroidism work by replacing T4 and increasing the amount found in the body, this type of treatment doesnt work for people who cannot properly convert T4 into T3.
The Role Of Normal Vs Optimal Thyroid
Normal is a dangerous word. It sounds positive: youre just like everyone else, hooray! In reality, normal indicates that you merely fall within the standard margin of the average unhealthy adult. If the average adult is overweight and borderline diabetic, do you really want to stay in the same lane as them?
No, definitely not. Thats why theres such a dramatic difference between normal thyroid function and optimal thyroid function.
Normal thyroid function is imperfect. It keeps you chronically operating at 70% of your best self. Sure, you can survive like that, but its not how you want to live your life.
Theres no single perfect thyroid level. Everybody is different, which is the beauty of what we do as we individualize treatments. With that said, most women usually feel better with natural thyroid-free T3 levels between 4 and 4.4 pg/mL.
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Financial And Insurance Assistance
If you need financial support to pay for Synthroid, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
AbbVie, Inc., the manufacturer of Synthroid, offers ways to help lower the cost of this drug. For example, the company offers both a copay card and coupons. For more information about these offers and to find out if youre eligible for support, visit the program website.
Another Whammy: Insurance Companies And Medicare
Not only do hypothyroid or Hashimotos patients have to deal with a now MUCH higher price for Armour , we have many insurance companies as well as Medicare refusing to cover this life-saving and safe medication.
For Medicare, they wrongly believe its dangerous if you are over the age of 65. Yet, there are MANY, MANY hypothyroid patients over 65 who report changed lives on desiccated thyroid, especially once they and their doctors understand how to use itand especially understand how important it is to have the right amount of cortisol and iron before raising natural desiccated thyroid.
Can Synthroid Help Relieve Depression Thats Related To Hypothyroidism
For some people, depression may be caused by hypothyroidism. Synthroid treats hypothyroidism by increasing your thyroid hormone levels to a normal range. So if you have depression thats related to low thyroid hormones, Synthroid may help treat your depression.
Be sure and talk with your doctor if you feel depressed. They can discuss with you treatment options that may help improve your moods.
Not All Levothyroxine Is Equal
The amount of levothyroxine in a tablet can differ. For example, a 100 mcg tablet may contain between 95 mcg and 105 mcg of hormone.
Since the amount of levothyroxine is relatively stable within a brand name drug or generic manufacturer, this is primarily an issue for those who switch between different generic tablets.
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Take Action To Optimize Your Thyroid
You have two choices: allow your normal thyroid function to diminish your quality of life, or take action to optimize your natural thyroid right now.
Its easy to take control of your thyroid and improve your health. The answer can be found in bioidentical hormone therapy.
Bioidentical hormones like Armour Thyroid and Nature Thyroid are exactly the same as the thyroid hormones your body produces. Theyre compounded in compound pharmacies using the exact molecules and ratios found in the body.
As soon as this natural thyroid replacement works its way into your system, it helps to optimize your active thyroid and rapidly eliminate unwanted symptoms.
Here at Brentwood MD, we have hundreds of women who have successfully optimized their thyroid activity using Armour Thyroid or Nature Thyroid. If you want to experience the same revitalization, empower yourself with these action steps.
First, find a provider whos willing to listen! You need and deserve a doctor who does more than strictly check your TSH levels and send you home. Choose a doctor who will check all of the right lab levels and consider how you feel when creating your treatment plan! Youll know you have found the right doctor when he encourages ongoing conversation about your progress, symptoms, and feedback.
The thyroid is such a complex topic that the conventional model of physician care doesnt provide enough time to tackle its depths.
Plus How To Get The Absolute Most Out Of Your Thyroid Meds
The time of day you take your thyroid meds, and how you store them, can make or break your thyroid disease management.
Levothyroxine is the name of all synthetic forms of the thyroid hormone T4. This manufactured hormone mimics the natural hormone produced by your thyroid and is prescribed as the primary treatment for hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid.
Levothyroxine dosage is highly individualized, and your dosage may change as you and your doctor work to find what works best for you. See our levothyroxine dosage chart below to get an idea of where your treatment might begin and when to expect your doctor to check for adjustments. Starting dosages are often calculated based on your weight, but because in some cases your thyroid still makes its own T4, some doctors will start you with a lower dosage to avoid over-treatment symptoms that mimic hyperthyroidism . They also may start you on a lower dose if your body might need extra time to adjust to the effects of hormone replacement. Your doctor will then check your thyroid stimulating hormone levels over the first few months to see if your dosage needs any adjustment. Hormone replacement therapy is usually a lifelong treatment, so you should get your TSH levels checked every year to ensure youre still taking the right dose.
Infographic by Lauren Hunter
You can find more information about levothyroxine, including dosage, here.
- Increased sweating
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A Controversy Continues: Combination Treatment For Hypothyroidism
Guidelines are skeptical about adding liothyronine to levothyroxine as a treatment for hypothyroidism, but some patients are convinced that the combination works better for them.
Your hypothyroid patient complains that she still does not feel well despite taking levothyroxine . She has been researching on the Internet, and has read many accounts from patients in her situation who say that they feel much better when their doctors add another thyroid hormone called T3 or something
So, you face a dilemma. You have based her treatment on the American Thyroid Association guideline that says that levothyroxine is the standard treatment. And clinical trials have not found a benefit in adding liothyronine .
LT4 became the treatment of choice following the discovery that the thyroid primarily makes the prohormone thyroxine , which tissues around the body convert into the active hormone, triiodothyronine . T4 has a half-life of a week or so, while T3s half-life is less than a day. It has worked for most patients to take T4 and let the body do the conversionexcept for some 5% to 10% of patients who say it doesnt work for them. Is there a problem in giving them LT3 as well?
Four thyroid experts interviewed by Endocrine News all called this combination therapy controversial but not one of them would refuse to give it a try in an appropriate patient who requested it.
Synthroid For Other Conditions
In addition to the uses listed above, Synthroid may be used off-label for other purposes. Off-label drug use is when a drug thats approved for one use is used for a different one thats not approved. And you may wonder if Synthroid is used for certain other conditions. Below is information on a use for Synthroid thats not appropriate.
Synthroid for hyperthyroidism
You shouldnt use Synthroid to treat hyperthyroidism. With this condition, you have increased levels of thyroid hormones in your body.
Instead, Synthroid is FDA-approved to treat hypothyroidism, which is the opposite of hyperthyroidism. With hypothyroidism, you have low levels of thyroid hormone.
Synthroid is a man-made form of T4. It replaces or adds to your natural thyroid hormones, which helps your body to have the right amount of T4.
Taking Synthroid for hyperthyroidism will increase the amount of thyroid hormone in your body even more than its already increased. This raises your risk of serious side effects, such as tremors, anxiety, and irregular heart rate.
If you have hyperthyroidism, talk with your doctor about appropriate treatment options for your condition.
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Synthroid And Other Medications
Below are lists of medications that can interact with Synthroid. These lists dont contain all the drugs that may interact with Synthroid.
Before taking Synthroid, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Synthroid and diabetes drugs
If you have diabetes and youre using certain diabetes drugs, taking Synthroid may increase your blood sugar level. This is because if taken with Synthroid, your diabetes drugs may not work as well as usual to manage your blood sugar level.
Examples of diabetes medications that may not work as well as usual if theyre taken with Synthroid include:
If youre using certain diabetes drugs and youre taking Synthroid, your doctor will recommend that you monitor your blood sugar levels more often than usual. Doing this will help to ensure that your diabetes medications are working properly, and your blood sugar level isnt getting too high.
In some cases, your doctor may increase the dosage of your diabetes drugs. Or they may recommend that you take additional diabetes medications.
Synthroid and certain heartburn drugs
Taking certain heartburn medications with Synthroid may affect how well Synthroid works.
- magnesium hydroxide
Armour Thyroid Vs Other Brands Of Ndt
Armour thyroid falls into a class of drugs known as NDT.
NDT stands for natural desiccated thyroid and drugs in this class are all similar but differ in their inactive ingredients.
Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Because of this, it’s important that you are at least aware of these other brands of medications.
Because it’s possible that while you may not necessarily tolerate one formulation of NDT it doesn’t mean you won’t tolerate them all.
I’ve seen many patients who don’t tolerate Armour thyroid but do tolerate Nature-throid and vice versa.
Don’t give up on NDT medications if you experience a small reaction during your transition to Armour or when you first start it.
Instead, take note of your symptoms, try to determine what is causing them, and make changes as appropriate.
You may find that your problems are dose-related, medication-specific, or related to your sensitivities.
All of these issues can be overcome with careful consideration.
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Types Of Thyroid Hormone Replacement Treatments
There are two types of thyroid replacement medicines. These medicines are available by prescription only.
The first type of therapy is synthetic medicine containing only levothyroxine. FDA-approved levothyroxine is available from several manufacturers.
The second type of therapy is made from dried ground thyroid glands from pigs. This is called desiccated thyroid extract , which is sold in the United States as Armour Thyroid, NP Thyroid, Nature-Throid, and Natural Thyroid, among other names.
Tips For Taking Your Thyroid Medication Optimally
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Signs Of Overtreatment To Look Out For
Its important to be familiar with the signs of overtreatment for hypothyroidism. Symptoms of mild overtreatment include:
- Inability to sleep and/or focus.
- Abnormally increased heart rate, even at rest.
Two groups of people with hypothyroidism are at high risk of complications from overtreatment: those with heart rhythm disturbances and elderly people with weak bones. One study reports that hypothyroidism is more common in older women due to Hashimotos disease.
Whether youre young, old or in between, dont adjust the dose yourself if you think youre being overtreated, says Dr. Skugor. Call your doctor and explain your symptoms. They will check your blood levels of thyroid hormone. The correct dose adjustment will soon have you feeling a whole lot better.
Armour Thyroid & Weight Loss
Individuals diagnosed with hypothyroidism tend to feel groggy, lethargic, and have all-around low energy. Untreated hypothyroidism tends to facilitate some degree of weight gain not only from excessive fatigue , but also via a reduced basal metabolic rate. The extent to which you are deficient in thyroid hormone is usually predictive of your metabolism the more extreme the deficiency, the less calories youre likely to burn at rest.
When initiating treatment with Armour Thyroid, a medical professional will prescribe a dosage in attempt to normalize FT4, FT3, and TSH concentrations. Upon upregulation of T4 and T3 hormones and reduction of TSH, basal metabolic rate increases and weight loss ensues. During treatment, most Armour Thyroid users are usually able to lose all of the weight that they packed on as a result of underlying hypothyroidism.
In some cases, weight loss may be more substantial than expected. This could be due to the fact that Armour Thyroid users: regain the energy necessary to remain physically active, basal metabolic rate has increased, and possibly a result of supratherapeutic levels of T3 . There is some evidence that Armour Thyroid may increase T3 significantly more than necessary, which may lead to complications, but also potentiate weight loss and fat loss.
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If My Tsh Level Is High Should My Synthroid Dose Be Increased Or Decreased
Usually, if your TSH level is high, your Synthroid dose needs to be increased. TSH, which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone, is made when your body needs more thyroid hormones.
When you have an elevated TSH level, your dose of Synthroid may need to be increased. On the other hand, if your TSH level is low, your dose of Synthroid may need to be decreased.
During Synthroid treatment, your doctor will order blood tests to check your TSH level. And for some people, their doctor will also check the levels of their thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. Based on the results of your blood tests, your doctor will adjust your dosage of Synthroid if needed.
If you have questions about whether your dosage needs adjusted, talk with your doctor.
When To Take Thyroid Medications To Get Accurate Lab Results
- TSH This is a pituitary hormone that responds to low/high amounts of circulating thyroid hormone. In advanced cases of Hashimotos and primary hypothyroidism, this lab test will be elevated. In the case of Graves disease the TSH will be low. People with Hashimotos and central hypothyroidism may have a normal reading on this test.
- Free T3 & Free T4-These tests measure the levels of active thyroid hormone circulating in the body. When these levels are low, but your TSH tests in the normal range, this may lead your physician to suspect a rare type of hypothyroidism, known as central hypothyroidism.
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