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Alternatives to synthroid
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Questions in the Thyroid forum are answered by Mark Lupo, MD. Topics covered include Goiter, Graves Disease, Hyperthyroid, Parathyroid/Calcium Problems, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroid Nodules/Cysts, Thyroiditis, Thyroid & Pregnancy, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroid Tests, and Thyroid Surgery.

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Alternatives to synthroid

26 yo female.Grandma & dad are hypo.Sis is hyper.Dad has type2 diabetes.
I have always been very thin, had allergies, sinus problems, migraines, & sensitive to cold temps-swelling, redness, itching.Other than that,ok.Most of these problems lessened when I began seeing a chiropractor & stopped zyrtec.
I have had a stressful year.5 weddings, stress at work, my grandpa & 3friends passed away.I have been stressed, tired, forgetful, & feel warmer.
Late April, I started feeling nausea everyday, but my family had the flu.
After a few wks, I made appts with the obgyn (everything ok) & dr.Dr had me get some bloodwork & put me on prevacid assuming there was a tear in my stomach lining from stress.
Results:Glucose, Serum 100, HDL Cholesterol 70, & TSH 8.550.
The omperazole helped a little, but 8-10 wks later, I still feel nausea, reflux, &  stomach pain.
Last wk Dr said that the TSH level was higher.Try levothyroxin (levothyroxine) to see if that helps the stomach, continue omperazole, & schedule scope if no improvement.
I have been feeling depressed, but I got laid off last week, which means no insurance.I notice tingling in my feet when I 1st get up.I gained 2lbs, but was away for 3 weeks-still 5'4" 111lbs?Why didn't dr do any other tests since my symptoms are hypo & hyper?Dr said to TRY levo.I found out that if I start taking levo, I will have to take it for the rest of my life, I'm 26 yo!If I begin taking levo, my thyroid will stop working and eventually be unable to function at all.Neither the dr nor the Rx papers mention this!Any advice or insight would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Taking levothyroxine does not commit you to lifelong treatment and does not cause the thyroid to stop working -- these are MYTHS.  Many patients have thyroid conditions that do require life-long treatment with levothyroxine.  You had one slightly high TSH -- would repeat the test 4-6 weeks after the first test, obtain thyroid antibodies, then decide the thyroid status and figure out if treatment is indicated.  I start with levo alone and in some cases consider adding cytomel in the future.
17 Comments
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Yes, I agree, you point to being clearly hypo, lab work and all.  But your only choice of meds are definitely not only Levothyroxine. There are others out there that may work better for you. One being a natural one, Armour thyroid, which supplies all your thyroid is not giving you. The synthetics do not.

If you have given the Levo time and and it's not bringing your numbers down low enough that you are feeling much better, you might ask your Dr. to change to Armour and try that.

I've taken it 30+ years and tried synthetics and they did not work  for me.

Good luck.  Being hypothyroid with no treatment is one of the worst feelings in the world, very hard to function in a day to day life.
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Thanks for the comments.  Any ideas on the stomach upset and if that is related to the thyroid function?
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Avatar_n_tn
Here are some additional questions.  I've been looking online, not sure which info is reliable.  Any feedback would be helpful.  Thank You.

Is it possible to boost my thyroid with supplements?  Or that I'm lacking certain vitamins or minerals and if they are added, my thyroid will function at a better level?

Just to confirm, if my thyroid is not working properly b/c I am lacking some vitamin or mineral, will it begin working while on the levo and show up in the bloodwork or will it be suppressed b/c the levo is already providing T4?  Will levo eventually suppress my thyroid (like when body builders take steroids and their bodies are eventually unable to produce testosterone)?  Basically, I'm willing to try a natural method 1st, but in order for the natural method to work would I need to stop the levo to experience these results(I understand you can't tell me to stop the levo)?  And, if I don't need the levo, is taking it going to create a need?  

I'm willing to try natural, but I am not opposed to Rx (just cautious of the overwhelming tendency of our medical system to just prescribe ANOTHER pill that's not actually fixing the problem or that I may not even need).  is there a dangerous level, symptom, or sign to watch out for if I'm using natural that should trigger me to say - ok it's time for Rx; it is necessary?
  
I'm just afraid that we're going to see something on the news a year from now that levo may cause... It's not like it hasn't happened with other common drugs.  I always wonder how they miss dangerous side affects and why they don't test for things in advance.

I read online that bromine could intefere with iodine in the thyroid potentially causing hypo.  The bottled water I have been using for the past 2 years was recently recalled.  "Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is voluntarily recalling all sizes of this product.  Recent tests showed the bromate level exceeded allowable limits.  There are no imminent health risks."  Is this something to be concerned about?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, the Levo, or a synthetic COULD work well, give it a chance, but I still say the Armour is the better alternative. One of the best things to do is educate yourself the best you can.  There are several excellent books out there that go into detail about thyroid disease.  One of the best ones in my opinion is:

Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You… that You Need to Know
by Mary J. Shoman

It covers all the bases; Quote:

This is an extensively researched guide to this complex condition. The book covers conventional, alternative, and late-breaking approaches to treatment–such as challenging the gold standard of Synthroid as the thyroid replacement therapy of choice and new research on adding T3 to treatment.) Shoman explains everything from how to choose a thyroid specialist to how calcium, antidepressants, and a high-fiber diet affect thyroid hormone absorption. The book discusses depression, which is a typical misdiagnosis of hypothyroidism and covers infertity, as well as thyroid cancer, one of the less common causes of hypothyroidism.

Mary J. Shoman is a nationally known thyroid patient advocate, health writer and thyroid patient herself. She also manages a thyroid Web site and writes a newsletter on hypothyroidism.

That's just ONE of many books out there.  Just do a Google search, I guarantee, you will turn up many more.  Read as many as you can, educate yourself, and go from there.  At least you will know what questions to ask your Dr.

There are also a couple of forums I visit, where they use both kinds of meds, with valuable information.  If you want the links, I can provide them.

Nutrition is one good way to keep your thyroid functioning as best it can yes, but it will not cure you, no, unfortunately.
As far as the water you've been drinking I don't know, but I really do belive that a lot of things we are exposed to cause, and affect a lot of our bodies' systems.  Some we can overcome, some we always can't. We just have to do the best we can do.
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THANK YOU :)
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Avatar_f_tn
How do you go about getting your hair tested for vitamin defiencies?
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Just wanted to tell you that Armour is NOT inconsistent as Lake Lover indicated. It is regulated by the U.S. government and is also available by prescription only. It has also been used to treat hypothyroidism since the late 1800's. The difference is that it contains all the hormones your own thyroid produces, not just one, like the synthetics. The proportions are slightly different than human thyroid hormone proportions, but it doesn't usually cause a problem. And if it does, it can be corrected by taking a very small amount of the synthetic.

am
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Avatar_n_tn
True.  Armour is the superior drug, and was used exclusively for many years, prescribed by patient symptoms rather than the TSH test.   The TSH test was invented by the makers of synthroid to 'prove' the need for and the supposed superiority of their drug.

It is a marketing ploy, plain and simple.

When I switched to Armour, all of my nagging symptoms disappeared.  For years I continued to gain weight, fall asleep behind the wheel or at work, suffer from memory lapses, and just generally feel like cr*p.  My hair and eyebrows fell out, along with other body hair.  I lost a job because of my exhaustion and confusion.  My periods were so heavy I could scarcely leave the house because I soaked through even post-partum pads. I had constant mirgraines and joint aches, which were supposedly not related to hypo.

After a few months on Armour, I started to lose weight gradually, and my mental capacity started to come back.  My brows grew back, and eventually I stopped being so exhausted.  I eventually felt so good I could not only work my regular hours, I could put in OVERTIME!   I would not have believed it was possible had I not experienced it.  Best of all, my periods became 'normal.'  My joints no longer ache, and my migraines are finally manageable.

Miracle cure?  Nope, just plain old fashioned medicine that worked just fine before Abbott Labs perpetuated this fraud upon doctors and patients alike.  When Abbot came up with a test that made their drug seem to be the superior one, despite evidence to the contrary, and the FDA bought it, they became criminal co-conspirators imo.

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Avatar_n_tn
Spot on hawaiigirl!

I was diagnosed hypo/Hashi's end of 1994. I have struggled on   thyroxine for all that time.....debilitating fatigue, no weight loss, depression, brain fog the list goes on and on. ..on AD's always changing them because they stopped working.

In desperation earlier this year I decided I was going to committ suicide as my life had gone done the toilet. I always had excellent labs, TSH suppressed, Free's well up in the range
I set a date to "do the deed" and finally in desperation decided to give life and Armour a go. This was about 5 months ago.

It's like night and day...depression GONE I am off AD's  weight DOWN I have lost 11 kilos (around 25 pounds), the brain fog is lifting. I have been taking my temps and couldn't believe how low they were.We use metric where 37.00 is normal. Mine barely made 36.00 most of the time. Now they are around the 37.00 mark depending on the time of day of course

I am getting my life back!I am fast approaching the day I had set to die and I can't wait to wake up that morning and greet the world

Armour has been used for over 100 years..if it ain't broke, don't fix it
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Avatar_n_tn
In the US, all prescription drugs are regulated by the FDA.  Why would they allow Armour to be inconsistent?  They wouldn't any more than they would allow it with Synthroid.

The inconsistencies of dessicated thyroid are a myth.

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but who would gain from the propagation of such a myth?  Yup, you guessed it.
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Im 40, and have been on Levo for over 25 years and have gained over 50lbs.  This is the first time I have heard of Armour.  Hopefully my doctor will recommend/prescribe it.  Thanks for the info you all have provided.
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If he won't, find a new doctor.  Research online, make phone calls, whatever it takes.  Docs always stress the dangers of hyper when undertreating you for hypo, but they ignore all the dangers of hypo because they make money from them.  As long as they keep you hypo you will continue to see them for heart problems, high blood pressure, obesity, psychological disorders, you name it.  If your doc tells you natural thyroid comes from cows, or is inferior, or is like crack (yes, I've heard all of these) run for the hills!  There is a lot of misinformation out there, and it is all designed to make doctors push an inferior drug upon unsuspecting patients.  

Do the research and follow the money, it's a real eye opener.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have just swithed to armour thyroid. What should i expect in the first few days or weeks. Does it make you feel different or could it be from stopping the levoxyl?
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I'm right there with you - I also just switched to Armour from Sinthroid, after 30 years. The info on here is really interesting and I'm glad to hear Armour helping others. I'll post again if I notice any changes over the next few weeks.
Current symptoms (with Sinthyroid) are physical fatigue, depression, new hair thinning, and 20 lbs I can't shake despite 4x week vigorous exercise at the gym.

My t4 levels are good, but I noticed my free t3 was on the lowest number possible, so I'm hoping that's the problem.
Praying this change will help!

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Yesterday, Monday, I felt the best I've felt in years - alert, clear, energetic, not a hint of depression. Still feel great today. I can't believe it. Is it possible that the Armour medication could work that fast? After only 5 days?

My only complaint is that every now and then I get a bit "speedy" or restless, which makes me think I may need to adjust down just a bit. But other than that, I'm feeling hopeful about Armour!
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Avatar_f_tn
AFter reading all your comments on Armour, maybe I should try it.  I feel bloated, confused and have weight gain.  DId your regulard MD prescribe it, or holistic doctor.  I went to holistic year back and he prescribed it.  My other internist recommends the Levo.
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A related discussion, Is it really worth the change? was started.
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Mark Lupo, M.D.Blank
Thyroid & Endocrine Center of Florida
Sarasota, FL
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