Some researchers dismiss thyroid hormone replacement as a possible treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms or CFS. According to Dr. Lowe, however, "replacement" as defined by these researchers typically doesn't work because replacement means the use of only T4 to keep the TSH within normal range, and that is simply not enough to free most hypothyroid patients from their symptoms. The assumption that replacement dosages of T4 are the only acceptable treatment prevents other researchers from seeing the mechanism of most patients' fibromyalgia/CFS -- inadequate thyroid hormone regulation of tissues.
Dr. Lowe believes that the combination of T4 and T3 generally works better than T4 alone with hypothyroid patients, and in some cases T3 alone works best. Dr. Lowe found that when hypothyroid patients were treated with T4 first, gradually increasing the dosage, if it didn't provide much benefit or any at all, patients were switched to T3. Many patients do not benefit from the use of T4, regardless of how high the dosage.
T4 alone is a poor option for many hypothyroid fibromyalgia patients, and it is useless for fibromyalgia patients with cellular resistance to thyroid hormone. Most of these patients, who make up about 44 percent of the fibromyalgia patient population according to our studies, benefit only from very large dosages of T3. Only a minority of hypothyroid fibromyalgia patients satisfactorily improved with the use of T4 alone.
For more in-depth information on the fibromyalgia/thyroid connection, read:
Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesnt Tell You
That You Need to Know
Pain/Fatigue Syndromes Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
from Living Well With Autoimmune Disease