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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jen

Understanding Thyroid Medications: Choices, Ingredients, and Strategies

Thyroid disorders require careful management. Medications can be needed, but not all are created equal. Let’s talk about various types of thyroid medications, their components, and treatment strategies.




Different Types of Thyroid Medications:


-Cytomel (Liothyronine):This is a synthetic form of the T3 hormone. It's often prescribed for individuals who don't convert T4 to T3 effectively.


-NP Thyroid: A natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) medication derived from porcine (pig) thyroid glands. It contains both T4 and T3 hormones.


-Synthroid (Levothyroxine): This is a synthetic T4 thyroid hormone. It's one of the most commonly prescribed thyroid medications. Often contains foods dyes. The 50 mcg is the only strength that doesn’t. Generics usually contain gluten.


- Tirosint: Another form of synthetic T4, but what sets Tirosint apart is its hypoallergenic formulation. It's often chosen for patients with allergies or sensitivities to fillers. This should be standard of care in my opinion. It comes in a capsule or a liquid.


Ingredients to Watch For:


- Food Dye in Synthroid: Different doses of Synthroid come in varying colors, which are achieved using food dyes. Those with sensitivities or allergies to dyes should be cautious. For instance, the 112 mcg tablet contains FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, which might not be suitable for everyone.


- Gluten: While Synthroid does not contain gluten, other generic formulations might. Always check with the manufacturer. On the brighter side, both Tirosint and NP Thyroid are gluten-free.




Tirosint and NP Thyroid used together


Using Tirosint and NP Thyroid together can be a strategy for holistic thyroid management. While Tirosint provides a consistent dose of T4, NP Thyroid offers a mix of T4 and T3. This combination ensures optimal thyroid function and symptomatic relief for many of my patients.


Mono-therapy vs. Dual Therapy:


-Mono-therapy: This involves taking one medication, usually T4-only preparations like Synthroid or Tirosint. It banks on the body's ability to convert T4 to T3 naturally which a lot of people don’t do well!


- Dual Therapy: This involves taking both T4 and T3 medications (like Synthroid with Cytomel, or using NP Thyroid alone since it contains both). Some studies suggest that adding T3 can alleviate persistent symptoms in certain patients. This mimics the body more and supports those that don’t convert well.


Compounded Thyroid Medications:


Compounding pharmacies can create customized thyroid medication dosages without fillers, dyes, or other allergens. It allows for personalized treatment, especially for patients with specific sensitivities or those requiring unique dosage strengths.


Thyroid medication is not one-size-fits-all. It's crucial to understand the differences, potential allergens, and treatment strategies.




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