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How Long Does Medication Take to start Working

I had my thyroid tested 7/20/2015

Lab results:

TSH             My value 0.533   (Standard Range 0.358- 3.74)  
T4 FREE     My value 0.72     (Standard Range 0.76 -1.46)
T3FREE      My value 2.6       (Standard Range 2.3-4.2)

My Symptoms:
Weight loss of 15 lbs in the past year
Fatigue - 18+ years
Always cold - 18+ years
Sleep for 8 hours but feel like I haven’t slept at all - 18+ years
Shortness of breath - 1 yr
Heart palpitations - 1 yr
Depression - don't know how long
Poor memory/concentration - 1yr

First doctor I went to told me my lab results were "normal".  I went to a different doctor and showed him the lab results.  He ordered a few more tests, he had me tested for TPOab which came back negative.  Then he had me go get a scan of my thyroid.  The scan showed that a part of my thyroid is overactive, basically I have a "hot" nodule.

He prescribed me methimazole 10 mg and says to check back with him in four weeks.  He says if the medication does not help then we will need to consider radioactive iodine treatment or surgery to remove the nodule, but he wants to try medication first.

About how long does it take for medication to start working?  Should I notice a difference after four weeks or should I give it a longer time period?

Also, what do you say to people that don't take your condition seriously?  I have a very good friend that noticed how much weight I have been losing.  But when I told him that it's because of my thyroid, he was very dismissive.  He said he thinks thyroid problems are the newest "fad diagnosis".  I told him I think depression is the fad diagnosis, that a lot of people are being told they're depressed when they actually probably have problems with their thyroid.  When I told him I'm tired all the time he said "everyone gets tired".  

My boyfriend said a lot of the same things, that "everyone gets tired" and that "everyone forgets things".  Fortunately he now understands what I'm going through and doesn't make those comments anymore.  

But I don't understand why people are so dismissive of health issues.  Do they think telling me I'm like everyone else makes me feel better?  Or that I shouldn't worry?  Why do they think say things like this?
15 Responses
649848 tn?1534637300
COMMUNITY LEADER
I've read your question several times and I'm still trying to figure out why your doctor is giving you methimazole when you have hypothyroidism...

Your Free T4 is below the reference range and your Free T3 is almost on the floor of the range.  Additionally, all of your symptoms are those of being hypo, with the exception of the weight loss and there are even people who do lose weight when they are hypo...

Even if part of your thyroid is "overactive", it's not overactive enough to warrant an anti-thyroid medication like methimazole.

In answer to your question, I'm sure you will see a difference in the way you feel in a month(probably much sooner), because you're going to feel a whole lot worse than you do now.  Anti-thyroid med(s) prevent your thyroid from producing thyroid hormones; yours is already not producing enough, so it will soon be producing even less.  

The best advice I can give you is to find a different doctor very quickly because this one is going to make you a whole lot more ill than you already are.

As to people not taking your condition seriously; it's hard to come up with a response, because most people don't really understand thyroid conditions.  In most cases, it's a matter of taking a daily pill to get hormone levels where they need to be and people go their merry way.  We don't "look" sick, so we can't really "be" sick, right?  

And it's true - everyone "does" get tired; that's a normal part of life, but when your thyroid levels are where they need to be, you won't be so tired all the time, either.  Sleep will be restorative like it is for "normal" people.

For most people, it's a matter of whether you have something they can "see" or not... If you have a broken leg, you're going to have a cast and probably crutches or, at least, a limp, so everyone will race to open doors for you; if you have cancer, chances are, you will have lost your hair because of chemo, so people will know you've fought a tough fight, but many other illnesses don't leave outside marks... We "are" like everyone else, only we fight a fight that no one can see and if we persevere, we win...
Avatar universal
You leave over an over active thyroid-hyperthyroidism-graves disease UNTREATED and you will have THYROID STORMS...

I had two of them...,NOT fun at all and can be fatal...
649848 tn?1534637300
COMMUNITY LEADER
If one is "really" hyperthyroid, one does run the risk of thyroid storm; however, in this case, with the labs presented above, there is absolutely NO chance of thyroid storm.

I'd have to wonder if there could, however, be a chance of myxedema coma from too little thyroid hormones by giving someone methimazole when they don't need it. Myxedema coma is another life threatening condition that can, also, be fatal...
Avatar universal
Hey Barb, you're not the first person to say I'm hypo, not hyper.  I'm really confused and don't know what to think.  From what I understand, if your TSH, F4 and F3 are low, that means you're hyperthyroid.

I know I have a lot of hypo symptoms, but I also have hyper symptoms, such as anxiety, shaky hands and muscle weakness.
649848 tn?1534637300
COMMUNITY LEADER
No, you're misunderstanding... If FT4 and FT3 are low, you're hypo, not hyper.  If you were hyper, your FT4 and FT3 would be high, not low...

Typically, when you're hypo, TSH is high, but it looks like you might have pituitary involvement that's keeping yours low, which makes a lot of people (even doctors) think you're hyper, but you have to look at FT3 and FT4, not just TSH...  

Your FT4 is below range and your FT3 is in the toilet, making you hypo, not hyper...

You might suggest to your doctor that you could have Secondary Hypothyroidism...
Avatar universal
Typical labs:

                    TSH      FT3      FT4
hypo            high       low       low
hyper           low        high      high
secondary    low        low       low
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649848 tn?1534637300
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1756321 tn?1547098925
Queensland, Australia
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