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Thyroid Hormone Replacement Drugs

The Medications, How to Take Them, T4/T3 Drugs, and Armour Thyroid

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Updated June 03, 2014

When you have an underactive thyroid -- hypothyroidism -- a surgically removed thyroid, or a thyroid that has been disabled by radioactive iodine, you need thyroid hormone replacement. Drugs include the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid, Levoxyl), as well as synthetic forms of the T3 hormone. Natural, animal-derived desiccated thyroid drugs, such as Naturethroid and Armour Thyroid, are also used for thyroid hormone replacement. Take a look at the medications, how to take them, troubleshooting problems with these drugs, the T4/T3 drug controversy, and the Armour Thyroid/natural drug controversy.

Hypothyroidism Medications/Treatments

Pill bottles on prescription slip
Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images
A look at the various thyroid hormone replacement drugs, including levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid, Levoxyl, Tirosint), natural desiccated thyroid (i.e., Armour), Cytomel (T3) and other prescription thyroid hormone replacement medications used to treat hypothyroidism.

How To Take Your Thyroid Hormone Replacement Medication

Whether you take a levothyroxine drug like Synthroid, or a natural thyroid medication like Armour Thyroid, it's important that you know how to take your thyroid medication properly. Helpful information including the timing of your medication, interactions with foods, drugs and supplements are covered, as well as creative ways to remember to take your thyroid medication.

Troubleshooting Your Thyroid Hormone Replacement

When thyroid hormone replacement doesn't seem to be working as well as it should, there are some factors to consider, including the possibility of overmedication, undertreatment, problems with generics drugs, or potency problems due to heat. Here are some issues to troubleshoot in your thyroid hormone replacement regimen.

The T4/T3 Thyroid Drug Controversy

The use of T4 and T3 together as a thyroid hormone replacement treatment for hypothyroidism -- an underactive thyroid -- is controversial, given that the standard treatment is levothyroxine (T4) alone. The addition of T3 to the levothyroxine/T4-only treatment is, however, a topic of ongoing research and discussion. Learn more about the ongoing controversy over use of T4/T3 treatments, including research both pro and con, and expert opinions from practitioners.

The Armour Thyroid / Desiccated Thyroid Controversy

Desiccated thyroid drugs, including Armour Thyroid, have been in use for more than 100 years, and remain popular with holistic, alternative and integrative physicians as a thyroid treatment and for thyroid hormone replacement in hypothyroid patients. These drugs are controversial, however; it can be a challenge to find doctors who will prescribe them. Meanwhile, the drugs regularly come under (often undeserved) attack. Learn more about natural thyroid, the criticisms against, it, and how to get your doctor to prescribe it.

Thyroid Patients: Problems With Synthroid? It Could Be Hay Fever or Lactose Into

We don't always think about the possibility that the medications we take may actually make us feel worse, but it's actually quite common for people who have allergies. For thyroid patients who are taking Synthroid, two ingredients in the pills are common allergy triggers that may be making your symptoms worse. Find out whether the acacia and lactose in your Synthroid are causing symptoms.

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