Inside: Signs that it’s time to change your Thyroid Medicine. What are the Alternatives to Levothyroxine?
Hypothyroidism is a very common condition and the most common treatment at this point in time is the use of a medicine called levothyroxine.
But are there alternative medications to levothyroxine or which medicine is best for thyroid?
These are the questions that several people suffering from thyroid dysfunction have. So the answer is that yes there are alternatives to levothyroxine and the best medicine for thyroid depends on several parameters.
There can be several reasons for finding an alternative to levothyroxine but one of the major ones being uncontrolled symptoms. Patients on levothyroxine report that their symptoms are not improved completely for sometimes they actually worse.
The other reason to change the medicine is that levothyroxine might not be the right medicine for your thyroid condition.
But how do you know that its time to change your thyroid medicine. Or what are the signs that thyroid medication is too low?
Signs That Mean You Need to Change Your Thyroid Medicine.
- Still feeling fatigued or tired most of the time
- Not able to lose weight or continue to gain weight
- Having brain fog and feel that your mental capacity is not the same as before
- Mood changes. Especially feeling depressed or anxious most of the time.
- Hair loss and hair thinning is continuing or not improving
- Constipation or Bloating in your gut
- Feeling cold all the time
- Your blood work shows the thyroid levels i.e TSH, T3 levels, T4 levels are not in the normal range
- Body pain or joint pain is not improving
- Feeling weak
Also, it depends on when you start the thyroid medicine.
So another important question here is how long does it take to feel better on thyroid medication. So the real answer is that your body starts adjusting to thyroid medications in 2-3 weeks.
And if after taking the thyroid medications for 2-3 weeks and you are still feeling miserable then its time for you to change the thyroid medicine.
What are the Alternatives to Levothyroxine?
So to answer this question, first we need to know what is levothyroxine and also understand different thyroid hormones.
Levothyroxine is a synthetic medicine and is a form of the T4 hormone. Now your questions will be what’s this T4 hormone and are there different kinds of thyroid hormones.
So lets understand some physiology of thyroid hormone production.
Thyroid hormone production is a fairly complex phenomenon. It starts all the way with the Hypothalamus area in your brain, this area of the brain produces a hormone called TRH ( Thyrotropin-releasing hormone ).
This hormone goes to the pituitary and it leads to the release of TSH ( Thyroid Stimulating Hormone ). TSH is the typical hormone level that is being measured in people to determine whether they have a thyroid dysfunction or not.
This TSH goes to the thyroid gland and the gland releases T4 hormone. This T4 needs to be converted to T3 which is the active form of thyroid hormone that works in the cells.
So as you see there are different kinds of thyroid hormones that are being produced by our thyroid gland. One is T4 hormone and other one is T3 hormone.
So just using T4 hormone medication might not work well for some people. And so we now have levothyroxine alternative which has T3 alone or in combination with T4.
Thyroid Medication Names
Below is the chart which gives you the names of various thyroid medications available in the US and what kind of thyroid hormones they have. Worldwide similar medications are available but their names might be different.
Alternative Medicines to Levothyroxine Chart
|Name of the medicine||What kind of Thyroid Hormone||Is it Natural or Synthetic|
|Levothyroxine||T4 hormone alone||Synthetic|
|Armour thyroid||Both T3 and T4 hormone||Natural|
|NP thyroid||Both T3 and T4 hormone||Natural|
|Tirosint||T4 alone||Synthetic but fewer fillers as compared to levothyroxine|
Above are the most common thyroid medications that are available in the market these day.
Which Medicine is Best for Thyroid.
This is an important question that people ask me regularly. So the answer to that question depends on a lot of parameters.
Some of these medications are less expensive and easier available than others. Some of them are in short supply at times and difficult to get. And it also depends on what kind of thyroid disorder you have.
So one answer may not be applicable for everyone. But I will try to explain how to make the choice easier for you.
1. So if your symptoms are under good control with levothyroxine and your thyroid antibodies for Hashimoto’s are not present then I will say you don’t need to make any changes to your thyroid medications and you should continue with levothyroxine.
As levothyroxine is the most studied medicine and most of the physicians know how to manage it. And my philosophy is when something not broken why try to do something different.
2. The second scenario is where you have symptoms that are not controlled. Like I mentioned above a bunch of signs which point towards that the current medication you are is not working for you.
So if you are one of those patients who has any of those signs then you need to change your medicine. In this case, the first thing to try will be to try combination T4 and T3 medication.
I Like desiccated thyroid medicine which has both T3 and T4 and is also natural. In this situation Nature thyroid medicine, I feel does a better job.
3. The third scenario is when your symptoms are very well controlled but you have Hashimoto’s and your current antibodies levels are still high. In this scenario, I tend to move towards a more natural version of thyroid medications.
The reason being that natural thyroid medication sometimes can be helpful in reducing thyroid antibodies. So again choosing desiccated thyroid medicine will be a good choice.
Hope this helps you to make some determination on how to change your medication and what might be the best thyroid medications for you.
Levothyroxine is universally used as the only thyroid medicine to control thyroid disorders. But we have a nice alternative to levothyroxine medications like Armour, Nature thyroid that can be used in certain situations.
What is the best medicine for thyroid depends on your affordability and what kind of thyroid disorder you have. So you should decide based on that.
There are certain signs that point towards that your thyroid medicine is too low or needs to be changed and you should be aware of those so that you can take prepper action.
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