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Why do I feel worse when I take the Levothyroxine?
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Why do I feel worse when I take the Levothyroxine?

I'm a 38 year old SAHM to our two children, ages 4 and 2.  Approx. one year after the birth of my two year old, I was FINALLY diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.  Like many of you that I have read about on here, I thought for sure I was going crazy, most certainly feared I had cancer and was dying and the bouts of depression as well as the terrible mood swings were enough to make my husband want to put my in the hospital for a mental break down (just between you and I, I oftened considered letting him do so).  On the day that I was diagnosed, I was given a dosage of Levothyroxine (1.0 MG TAB).  As I began taking this, I can honestly say that I really didn't notice any changes (which I was told would not be noticable for 3-6 months), and was confused as to why 6 weeks later when my levels showed to back down to normal...I still felt NO different.  I did the "no-no" thing, where I would quit taking the meds to see if I actually would feel anything, and other than a headache and a new sypmton - joint pain in hand, I felt nothing...no worse and of course no better.  I did start taking the med again shortly after, as after reading many articles online about the severe realmifications for not doing so, scared me to silly, but I have really never felt any "real changes" and am frustrated!  My doctor will reiterate to me that my levels at the times in question were "normal" so there was no need to adjust the dosage, so I just stopped again about a month ago and feel the "same" again....tired, sad, alone, sore and am angry.  i catch myself being short with my girls and afterwards, think I must be CRAZY - they are 4 and 2, they have no clue as to why I am so angry for the little things that have just done to set me off.  I sit and stew in my own little world and wonder if I have just turned into this LAZY, CRAZY women and don't deserve this wonderful life that I have, but am just too tired to deal with!  On my last visit to my doc, he did give me another prescription for depression - Celexa (sp?), but it made me feel nervous and panic attacky...so again I refused it.  I sound terrible I know, I just am so TIRED of feeling this way day after day....meds or no meds....no change in my actual "mental health" as well as my classic symptoms is frightening me to all heck and I just am at a loss.  Please, any suggestions you may have would be much appreciated.  Thank you and god bless!
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Avatar_f_tn
All of my symptoms are "classic" Hypothyroidism according to my doc.  however like I mentioned above, none of these seemed to go away it's been over a year now.  My hair still continues to fall out by the handful while washing, the depression, the gut troubles (which I was also diagnosed "Celiac" back in 2005 through blood tests - but the scope came back negative) and if you have this, you know exactly what I'm talking about...about the only thing I can honestly say that has been corrected, is my menstrual cycles, they now come monthly and are somewhat "normally' compared to prior to the meds, they ceased all together.  I know this is lengthy, and I am so apologize for the short 'book", but I just thought perhaps, someone out there may have gone through something similar in their intial diagnosis and just may know what I should do next.  Thanks again - take care and god bless!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Please post your thyroid test results and reference ranges shown on the lab report and members will be glad to help assess the adequacy of your testing and treatment.  Just because test results are in the so-called "normal" range does not mean that they are adequate for YOU.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Again as posted MANY times. Each person is different.  And the majority seem to see symptom relief only when the FREE T4 is about mid range or higher and the FREE T3 are in the upper 1/3 of the range.

NOT just merely somewhere within the wide range.

Each person is different.  Also be aware that when on a T4 thyroid med it will often suppress TSH meaning that it may go to near zero. and that will immediately freak out most Dr's and they will instantly tell you to stop taking the meds or reduce the dosage regardless of whether you show improvements or show any signs of being Hyper. They believe the blood test numbers more than what they see with their own eyes.  I agree that blood test should not be totally discounted.  But neither should the patients symptoms!  Both need to be considered and evaluated as to what step to take next.

Thyroid drugs usually take up to 6 weeks if not more to have an effect. At least T4 drugs.  T3 is fast acting.  So going on and off in anything shorter than those time frames is just going to mess you up big time.  Levo is a straight T4 medication.

Please get the blood tests and post them here and folks will  give you their thoughts fo ryou to consider.

Also understand that depression symptoms are common with low Thyroid as are menstrual problems. As are most all the other symptoms you discuss in your post.

I personally would start with Thyroid meds before I started taking any psychiatric drugs.  But if you truly have depression you may need them.  But I would first start with balancing out your Thyroid.

Just my thoughts
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel for you. I'm going through something similar and do what you do. I take my med and then stop and then start again. I think that I am going crazy as well and this will never be resolved. I have heart palpitations, I don't know what causes them so I blame them on the Synthroid. I'm starting to think I would have them regardless of taking the med. I don't know what to do at this point and am slowly starting to give up. I have a son who is 10 months old and all of this started after he was born. I feel so guilty because I feel like he has been cheated out of having the real me. It's awful, I cry everyday and have panic attacks almost daily. I have palps and at the same time am completely exhausted. I dont really have any advice except to tell you that you are not alone. Hopefully thus will get better soon.
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1139187_tn?1355710247
Ditto.   Sorry to be a negative Nancy but there are numerous posts about people having the issue with taking the meds and getting the same symptoms as you.   I am currently on nothing after another failed 4 month attempt at thyroid.  It seems to effect people differently. Not sure what the answer is at this point, I'm still searching myself.

I can tell you in the 2 years I've been on here my symptoms have changed to the better.  Maybe with time so will yours.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your comments, so very much appreciated.  

If this is as common as they say, you would think that Doctor's (at least mine) around the country would be a bit more sensitive to working with me on this obsatcle in my life.  I'm curious as to if "my levels may not be normal for me" how do I get them to listen to me regarding this and take action for assisting me in correcting this issue.  I am convinced that any "emotional" issues I'm having our stemmed from my Hypothyroidism as I really have no reason to be so down...I have a great family, two beautiful children, a nice home...what is there to be so sad about other than I wake up everyday feeling to tired and ill to deal with any of it.  I have seen another doctor about this and she came to the same conclusion as my other doc.  Take the meds (same dosage) and it will all work out.  She did inform me that throughout my lifetime that the dosage could fluctuate, but did not deem it nessessary as of that appointment.

For those of you who are dealing with the same problem as me, I am so sorry...as you have read you are not alone as well and I can only hold hope and have faith that perhaps this won't continue to be a struggle for the rest of our lives....for those of you who have been able to saty above the symptoms and have been able to control it with your meds, you are so blessed and we could really learn a lot from you....even if it's just your comments or reminders that it's working for you....that's pure motivation to keep pushing until we can be right there with you - feeling good! :)

Thanks again, I so appreciate each of you replying to my post - more than you know!

My Initial diagnosis results.....T4, FREE 0.6 (0.8 - 2.2) ng/dl
Performed at HealthPartners Central Laboratory

TSH, WITH REFLEX 14.300 (0.465 - 4.68) uIU/ml
Performed at HealthPartners Central Laboratory

THYROPEROXIDASE AB 281 0 - 8 IU/ml
Performed at HealthPartners Central Laboratory


This was my last result as of 5/2011.....

T4, FREE 2.1 (0.8 - 2.2) ng/dl
Performed at HealthPartners Central Laboratory

TSH, SENSITIVE 0.838 (0.465 - 4.68) uIU/ml
Performed at HealthPartners Central Laboratory
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Avatar_f_tn
Ps. I have refused all depression medications that have been offered.  I thought the same thing - get the thyroid issue under control first and for most and if I seemed to have any depression etc. after that, I would be more willing to accept that prescription at that time.  I'm not one to take pills...I even do my best to stay away from Advil, Tylenol and the likes unless I absolutely NEED to take it, so to push two major things on me at once, was a bit overwhelming.  Like I said, I was fine "emotionally" up until the birth of my daughter which my doctor claims by my intitial results - "14", that this is when my thyroid most likely started to have an issue.  Also, upon our first "well baby" visit, I took the baby blues questionaire...I was completely honest as I knew something was off, and they told me that I was not suffering from post-partum depression nor did they feel I was clinically depressed as well and was sent on my way.  
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Avatar_m_tn
If you have not been tested for Free T3, then your testing is inadequate.  Free T3 is the most important thyroid hormone test because it largely regulates metabolism and many other body functions.  Scientific studies have shown that FT3 correlated best with hypo symptoms, while FT4 and TSH correlated very poorly.  So you really need to know your Free T3 and also consider your symptoms, in order to know if our meds are appropriate and adequate.

Another reason that you need to be tested for Free T3 is that patients taking significant doses of T4 meds frequently find that they are not converting the T4 to T3 adequately, and their Free T3 is too low.

A good thyroid doctor will treat a hypo patient clinically by testing and adjusting Free T3 and Free T4 as necessary to relieve symptoms, without being constrained by resultant TSH levels.  Symptom relief should be all important, not just test results.   If you want to understand more about clinical treatment, this is a good link.  The letter is written by a good thyroid doctor for patients that he is consulting with from a distance.  The letter is sent to the PCP of the patient to help guide treatment.

http://hormonerestoration.com/files/ThyroidPMD.pdf

I suggest that you give a copy of this letter to your doctor and try to discuss it with the doc when you go back for the Free T3 test.  If the doctor is unwilling to treat you clinically as described, then you will need to find a good thyroid doctor that will do so.

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1139187_tn?1355710247
I completely agree with your stand on the antidepressants.  This is my own opinion and others will say that perhaps you should be on some just to help you along.  I personally refuse to give in to the depression and can tell you it has been the single hardest thing to overcome during this battle.  I get so moody sometimes.  The littlest thing can set me off and put me in a bad mood for hours.  Yet, it is not a mental depression, it is almost a physical depression (i think to myself "why do i feel this way, come on dude, snap out of it"

I can also tell you that I know tons of people that take the meds and dont even know they are taking anything and feel great.  I too agree that they are blessed.  I have to ask them over and over "and you feel okay?   what if you miss a dose?  you dont get buzzing in your head or weakness in your hands and feet?".    

bruce
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Avatar_f_tn
I was hyper they have given me a treat ment to kill my thyroid I am now hypo! I take SYNTHROID! Next time you go to the doctor please ask for synthroid! You are taking the generic brand of what you actually need! Many doctors will just give you the generic but there are so many horrible things in the generic. Please.. Look into the synthroid instead of the generic you are taking! Thank you!!
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