Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks Synthroid Cytomel

A few months ago I saw a Doc for a running related injury that was bothering me.  As I was new to his care, he did a full physical with blood test.
I came back a TSH of around 16.  He explained how common (man, do I know now) hypo is in society.  He put me on 50mcg of synthroid.  Great I thought, at least I know why I'm unusually tired all time.
Within a few days of starting it, I was raving mad.  I felt like I couldn't communicate correctly, was terrified of god knows what (anything), felt like my motor skills were impaired to the point where I shouldn't drive, had ringing in my ears.  These anxiety/panic attacks are not like classic 5mn horrible ordeals.  Thay can and do go on for hours.  I feel like I've taken some kind of street drug.  I'm not talking about a little inconvience here, this is full insanity.
It has totally altered my thinking.  I can look at an lifeless object (street light, moon rise. . anything really) and feel like crying.
I made an emergency appt and told him what was going on.  Well, there really are no side effects to this stuff, but lets knock you down to 25s cut in half so your only getting 12.5mcg.  He also had me go and get a blood test at the same time, same day.  My number had dropped to about 9.  This is a good sign, he said, you body is taking it.  We might just need to work up.  I did it, went great.  After 10 days, with his consent I upped to the full 25, knowing I'd have to anyway for the TSH to come down.
[I should point out here, that I had few if any recognizable symptoms of hypo prior.  It only turned up because of this blood test in a physical.]

So, the saga continues, I go up to 25mcg.  Have some good days, where I feel fine.  And I have bad days where I feel atrocious and mad.  I always feel like there is someplace I'm supposed to be or something I'm supposed to doing and I don't know what it is.
After all this, and not quitting the 25, my first 6week blood check comes around.  I decide to skip the pill on the morning of my meeting with the Doc a few days later, just to see if I can feel "normal" again.  He says, that my 9.? has stayed the same, not moved a bit.  Is it possible that a TSH, over a six week period of time and measured as finely as it is, has not moved a decimal point?  Could the lab have merely sent the second test results, on the day of the emergency appt where we first saw 9.?
Could these be the symptoms of having hit some sort of hyper status?  And instead of the 9.? I'm really lower in TSH?
The doc sent me to an Endo.  He's great, seemed to listen to my feelings about insanity.  Put me on 5mcg of Cytomel.    I will give the endo credit, he said he'd never heard of this happening but I shouldn't take the synthroid any more. I took one dose and the whole damn thing happened again.  I had four hours of hell, and what felt like the hangover of an emotional breakdown!
I write this today as a cry for help.  I'm what I thought was a healthy 40 year old father.  I love my wife and kids, but now they just irritate me.
I know people who 225mcg of synthroid a day and don't feel a thing.
Is or has any of this happened to anyone else?  Am I alone in this? What if I had a standing blood test/appt with a endo every three months and didn't treat it with hormones?  From what I understand, the main concern is high chloesterol and I cut mine in half through lifestyle changes (quit smoking, don't drink, low fat high fiber diet, lost 60lbs while supposedly hypo) in the year prior to diagnosis.  Plus, I'd rather take Lipitor than this ****.
I'm sorry for the longwinded nature of this.  It stands testement to how wired and panickey these drugs are making me and my own desperation.  I wish they never would have found this.
Any help would be appreciated.
25 Responses
173351 tn?1201217657

Hi there,

Read the following excerpt (sorry - I can't remember where I found this info; I had put it in a post to someone else awhile ago)

"A small number of people are sensitive to the inital thyroxine dose and to changes in the dose. They tend to experience some or all of the hyperthyroid symptoms even at small doses of thyroxine. The standard approach for these people is to slow the process down. Take smaller dose steps and take longer to move to the higher doses."

You were and still are definately hypo by your TSH - I fully acknowledge you have been experiencing hyper symptoms since beginning Synthroid though.  Part of the reason for this is that may be that our bodies compensate and make adjustments when things are off kilter for long periods of time.  

It is likely that your hypothyroidism began very slowly and progressed very slowly over quite a period of time - so much that you didn't even register that something could be wrong and causing the tiredness you were experiencing.  Your everyday metabolic function adjusted to this high TSH (indicating low thyroid hormone levels).  Everything that relies on thyroid hormone would have adjusted to this lower level of stimulation.

The only other example I can think to give you (although very different to thyroid) is with hypertension (high blood pressure) and kidney function.  The kidneys are VERY sensitive filters and one of the things they don't like is extremely high blood pressure (BP) - in fact over long periods of time high BP causes kidney damage.  The point I'm making is that before the kidneys have failed because of the extensive damage occuring due to high BP - they have adjusted to the increased pressure they are receiving.  If the high BP is detected and brought down by medications for example, only time will tell if the kidneys will re-adjust and continue functioning at an acceptable level.  I have met people who's kidneys just gave up after medication was started too - the BP had been high for so long that the damage was just too extensive.  

Irreversible damage from prolonged levels of hypothyroidism is very real.  High cholesterol is one concern - the other big one is cardiovascular (which can occur independently of high cholesterol too).  Enlarged (ineffective) hearts, mitral valve prolapse - are just a couple of the devastating problems that people here have reported as being directly related to their thyroid conditions.

Your comment;
"I know people who 225mcg of synthroid a day and don't feel a thing."

It is all relative... We all adjust at different rates; some people quicker than others.  You'd think maybe that this means your hypothyroidism was undetected for a long time - but who knows?  Maybe there are other factors that are contributing here that we don't know about of or don't understand.  Besides these friends of yours may have been taking med's for years and their bodies have adjusted.  

Do you take a lot of caffiene; coffee or cola?  These factors will contribute further to the symptoms you are experiencing - you don't have to cut them out totally, moderation is the key.  1 or 2 cups/glasses of caffiene containing substances per day is well enough.  

Another important consideration; -
Do you take any other medications?  There are some types of med's such as some types of antidepressants (for one example) that accelerate the action of Synthroid.  You should print off the prescribing info for Synthroid.  


I'm sorry if this response is little solace to you.  It is my opinion that you are probably sensitive to thyroid hormone (for whatever reason) and that you will just have to be patient and adjust your doses very slowly and expect periods with hyperthyroid symptoms for periods after adjustments.  

Maybe someone else will have a different opinion?

Lastly, I just want to say congratulations at reducing your cholesterol by half by diet and exercise.  That's fantastic!  Just as this feat took time - so will your battle to get your thyroid levels in order - it can take anywhere from 12 weeks to 12 months (or even longer in some cases).  This takes a lot of patience, if you don't have it now, you'll likely find it along the way.

Best wishes and wellness to you!
209384 tn?1231171906
Am right there with you.  I also went through all of this and it turned out that my dosage was being changed to fast and that the thyroid med wasn't always the same thing, one time synthroid next time levothyroxine, maybe something different the next time.  Finally got mine taken care of when new endo pointed this out and started all over again.  Now I feel pretty good.  Have worked up gradually to 125mcg of Levothyroxine and have TSH of .93.  It just takes time and a whole lot of patience.

Also, some people react to differnet types of thyroid replacement hormone differently.  You made need another kind.  Make sure your endo always knows any side affects the meds are giving you.

Am sorry that you are having so much trouble with it but just remember you are not alone in this.  

Avatar universal
U switched to cytomel and the whole damn thing came back.
every time u switch it just makes it worse. Your body will get used to a certain brand or type of thyroid and u should stick to the same brand.Your problems will eventually go away as u get used to the thyroid.I can't believe your doctor hasn't heard of this before.
198187 tn?1190637930
So you are saying that the cytomel brought your cancer back.
Avatar universal
Thank you all.
You are of course right.
I took my first and last dose of Cytomel Friday morning.  And when I experienced a 4 hour terror ride again, I stopped everything cold turkey.
Now I'm going through what I believe to be accute withdrawl.
The only thing worse than the drugs, after less than two months, is being without them.  I thought of weening, but at such a low dose it wasn't really possible.  I was experience anxiety when cutting Synthroids 25mcg in half.
Guess I'll have to muscle through this, but god, I can imagine what herion users go through.
Avatar universal
I thought you folks might enjoy this, or it might re-enforce your already deeply held beliefs about the docs treat hypo/hyper TH.
Saw my endo today, and told him of these massive bone-crushing anxiety attacks.
His response was that there is no evidence that any hormone drugs have any side effects and TH disorder is "easily diagnosed and easily treated".  
Well, I'll choose to go this alone.
I'm going to be responsible and check in every 6 weeks and do blood work and if worse comes to worse, I'll go back on hormone.  However, from talking to cardiologists I know, I'm coming to believe that Thyroid disorder, if you a symptom free, is one of the biggest rackets going.  
I felt fine until these folks told me about my high TSH, and I know it will most likely go higher, but jesus, the drugs are ten times worse.
They are over prescribing these drugs!!!!!
There is a boat load of money to made, and there is boat load of money going to endo programs and docs.
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