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Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Afraid to Start Medicine

Hello!  I am hoping someone might be able to help me here.  I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in April of this year and my doctor gave me 25mcg's of Levothyroxine (generic brand); I had been taking it for about one month when I had a severe panic attack.  I'd assumed it was a reaction to the medication because the attack felt different from my usual attacks; however, I'm starting to wonder if that was an over reaction on my part.  I did notice that the medication made me eat a little less and I seemed to suffer from mild sleep apnea as well.  However, I also know that these can be normal symptoms of hypothyroid and I'm wondering if maybe the symptoms got worse because my body was adjusting to the hormone...  Now, after visting an endo I have been prescribed Synthroid at 50mcg's.  I've been told name brand is better because it's lower on the fillers, but I am still afraid.  I haven't started the medication at this time because I have some reserves.  I don't know that I want to go through the same episode as I had before.  I don't know that I want to feel worse just to feel better.  I understand that the decision is ultimately mine, but I was hoping some of you could tell me how you have felt while on Synthroid.  Did anyone else go thru a period of feeling worse, then feeling better?  Did the feeling better make up for the episodes of feeling bad?  Did anyone feel weird and have to go through alternative treatment? If so, what?  Help!  Thank you!
12 Responses
Avatar universal
Please post your thyroid test results and reference ranges shown on the lab report so that members can try to assess the adequacy of your testing and treatment.
1217293 tn?1467357944
I felt worse before I felt better.  It took me about a week to feel better. Are you taking your meds first thing in the morning?  Taking it on an empty stomach to start your day is best.  I started on 25 mg of Synthriod and a year later my tsh went up and now I am taking 50 mg of Synthroid. I could tell I needed more meds as I felt horrible again.   Really pay attention to how you feel and have your tsh tested when you feel the change.  Find the right about of meds will make you feel better.  I would start the meds as your thyroid is so important for the entire body to really feel good.
Risa
Avatar universal
Don't just have TSH tested.  Get the Free T4 and Free T3 tested as well.

TSH is a screening tool at best.  And frankly it is not all that good as a screening tool.  But most Dr's think it is the gold standard.

The fact that you KNOW you have Thyroid condition it makes perfect sense to test you beyond TSH.

If your Dr' wont do that, try to find one who does!
Avatar universal
Could you tell me what the difference is between T3 and T4 cells?  Why should I get both tested?
Avatar universal
T3 and T4 (not T3 and T4 cells) are the two thyroid hormones.  T4 is made by your thyroid, and it's the "storage" form of the thyroid hormones.  It floats around in your bloodstream until your cells need thyroid hormone, then T4 must be converted to T3 before your cells can use it.

A very tiny bit of T3 is also made by your thyroid, but the vast majority of it comes from conversion of T4 to T3.  Conversion happens throughout your body, but a good part of it takes ploace in the liver.  T3 is the "active" form of the hormone...it's the only form your cells can use.

So, it's important to test both 1) to make sure there's adequate T4 available for conversion, and 2) to make sure you are converting well.

Be sure to request FREE T3 and FREE T4.  If you don't specify FREE, you will get total T3 and total T4...not nearly as useful.

There is a period of adjustment to meds, especially if you've been hypo for quite a while before starting them.  I guess it probably comes down to how bad your hypo symptoms are before you start meds.  I was so hypo that I couldn't have even considered not taking meds, even if they did make me feel a bit weird for a while.  The key for many of us is to start low and increase slowly so our bodies have time to adapt to having the hormones available again.  Have you now been off meds entirely for a while?
Avatar universal
hi. I started on 25mg and which was put up to 50 after 2 months. after which I went through a few months of some horrible panic attacks and anxiety. I tried antianxiety medication which made it all worse. but I in the last month or so (i was diagnosed in January) I have felt much better and everything has settled down. just remember your not alone :)
Avatar universal
Hello, Goolarra!
Thank you for the explination.  That gives me a much better perspective.  I have been off the meds since May.  The symptoms of my hypothyroidism have seem to gotten worse.  Perhaps because my body doesn't know whether it's coming or going.  My body temperature cannot regulate itself well at all.  When I'm hot, I'm sooo uncomfortably hot and when I'm cold, it's as if my blood has turned to ice.  Mid-summer, warm days and I can feel like a popsicle.  But then there are days where I don't feel so bad.  Maybe a little dizzy and a little swollen and hoarse in my throat, but otherwise okay.  It confuses me.  I don't know what to do.  The bad days are bad.  The good days are tolerable.  I'm just really afraid to start the medication...and I'm afraid to allow myself to feel this way forever...or get worse.  It's not the biggest problem I could have, but it sure is confusing.  I really appreciate the help and the suggestions.  I am going to see another doctor and try to get a better grasp on what's going on.  Knowledge is power, right?
Thank you again!
Have a wonderful day.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the encouraging note.  I have anxiety as it is, but it felt a little different on the medication.  To be fair, for the most part, I felt okay while taking the meds.  I just hit that bump in the road, tucked tail, and ran.  Now, I'm scared.  I'm scared to start over, I'm scared not to start over, I'm scared to search for answers and I'm scared to be left in the dark.  I simply can't win with this right now.  I just have to buck up and realize that this isn't the biggest problem in the world.  I could have cancer or MS or something MUCH worse.  I can get better, I just have to be grown-up enough to go through the hard stuff.  Sigh.  I wish I were 10 again.  LOL
Thank you again and I hope you are well.
Have a wonderful day.
Avatar universal
i should also have asked if you've been tested for thyroid antibodies to see if you have Hashi's.  Hashi's is an autoimmune disease and the most prevalent cause of hypo in the developed world.  When we have Hashi's, our antibodies are elevated.  Ask for TPOab (thyroid peroxidase antibody) and TGab (thyroroglobulin antibody).  Some of us are positive for TPOab, some TGab and some both.

Hashi's is a degenerative disease.  As the antibodies destroy more and more thyroid function, the symptoms become worse.  Also, in the initial stages, swings in hormone levels are not uncommon.  This might explain a lot of your symptoms.

My best advice to you would be to start off at a low dose and increase slowly as tolerated.  Ask you doctor about starting at 25 mcg (or even 12.5).  If that goes well for a couple of weeks, you can then increase a little.  It's best to keep moving slowly, but to keep moving in one direction.  It gets much more time consuming to get to a therapeutic dose if you go too fast, have to cut back to a lower dose (or stop completely as you've already done)...back and forth, back and forth.  Baby steps, but always increasing...

Knowledge IS power.  Learn all you can because you're probably going to have thyroid issues for the rest of your life...everything you learn will be a great investment of your time.
Avatar universal
Insist on getting Free T3 and Free T4 tests done.

Tell them that you've researched and have found that most people see symptom relief when their FT4 are about mid range and the FT3 are in the upper 1/3 of the range.  Tell them also that TSH when on thyroid meds can be artificially suppressed and fear of going Hyper may be unfounded and result in keeping patients under medicated.  Therefore you really want to ensure that your Dr will treat you by your symptoms at least if not more weighted than TSH especially since it is such an unreliable test to adjust thyroid meds.
Avatar universal
I have an appointment to be tested for Hashi's.  My endo suspects that is the cause of my issues.  I feel as if that should have been investigated first.  Perhaps that would have given them a better idea on where to go?  It's very time consuming, but what do you do when it's your body?  This forum has been such an eye opener.  I hope to be able to find a way to make this work in my favor.  I do feel like I have hormone swings.  That could be why some days I feel happy and others scared and sad?  I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me and help me.  Until now, I've felt so alone.  Thank you.
Avatar universal
A lot of doctors don't even feel it's worthwhile to test for Hashi's since hypthyroidism, no matter its cause, is treated the same way.  As far as treatment is concerned, that's true.  However, I think it's important to know.  Once we have one autoimmune disease, we're more prone to getting another, which is valuable health information for us.  Hashi's runs in families, so it can be important for other family members as well.  

Mood swings are pretty common when hypo...I'm sure you'll see a big difference in those once you get on a stable dose.

Get all your testing done (especially those FREES!).  Find out the cause of your hypo.  Get your FT3 and FT4 tested, and you'll be on your way.  Just go slowly with your meds.  I had tons of problems with my meds exacerbating my heart arrhythmia when I was first put on them...I lived through it...you will, too.  Let us know what you find out...
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