According to a presentation made by Thanh D. Hoang, DO, staff endocrinologist of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., natural desiccated thyroid drugs (for example Nature-throid, Westhroid, Armour Thyroid, and the generic natural thyroid drug manufactured in the U.S. by Acella) are potential alternatives to what is considered the standard thyroid hormone replacement treatment, levothyroxine. (Some brands of levothyroxine include Synthroid, Tirosint, Unithroid, Levothroid, and Levoxyl).
Dr. Hoang conducted a randomized, double blind, crossover study to compare the efficacy of natural desiccated thyroid, versus levothyroxine. The study included 70 patients (ages 18 to 65) who had primary hypothyroidism. Patients were randomly assigned to either natural desiccated thyroid or levothyroxine for 16 weeks. The studies were blind, meaning that patients did not know which medication they were receiving.
At the end of the study, patients were asked which regimen they preferred, and almost 49% preferred the natural desiccated thyroid, versus almost 19% who preferred levothyroxine, and about 33% didn't specify a preference. Dr. Hoang also reported that the patients taking natural desiccated thyroid lost approximately three pounds, compared to the patients taking levothyroxine, who did not lose weight.
Dr. Hoang told Endocrine Today, "We didn't find any differences in the neurocognitive measurements between the two therapies...We now know that once-daily desiccated thyroid extract is a safe alternative treatment for patients with hypothyroidism who are not satisfied with levothyroxine treatment. It's an option for them to try, and also desiccated can cause modest weight loss in these patients as well.
Want to learn more about natural desiccated thyroid? Read Thyroid Patients: Do You Need T3 or Natural Desiccated Thyroid?.
Source: Endocrine Today.