The thyroid plays an important role in the body. It releases thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you eat is broken down or transformed into energy. All parts of the body require energy to function correctly. Metabolism is like a generator in a real-world situation. It takes in raw energy and uses it to drive a big machine in a factory.
The thyroid produces thyroxine(T4) and triiodothyroxine(T3) hormones that control metabolism. Thyroxine contains four iodide atoms, while triiodothyroxine contains three iodide atoms. These hormones communicate to cells on the amount of energy to use. When the thyroid is properly working, it releases the right number of hormones to keep metabolism optimal.
But, if it’s not functioning well, it may overproduce hormones, a condition known as hyperthyroidism, or underproduce hormones, a condition known as hypothyroidism. These conditions may result in the growth of the thyroid and need serious medication before it gets worse. The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck wrapped around the trachea.
If you or someone you know is under thyroid medication but still not recovering well, read this article to the end to get an overview on thyroid medication.
1. Types Of Medications
While you may think that Synthroid is the only medication for thyroid, other three types of medications can be used to remedy thyroid, especially an underactive thyroid. The first one is T4-containing medications like Levoxyl, Tirosint, and Levothyroxine. The second one is T3-containing medications such as compounded T3 and Cytomel. Finally, there’s a combination of T4/T3 medications such as compounded T4/T3 medications, WP Thyroid, Armour, and Nature-Throid.
In most cases, people with Hashimoto’s might not be able to convert T4 to T3. These people might end up experiencing unresolved thyroid symptoms such as hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, and depression even when under medication. The active component in Synthroid is T4, while T3 is the most metabolically active hormone in the thyroid.
2. Monitoring Medication Is Key
Unlike other medications, thyroid medications have a narrow therapeutic index. The doses are prescribed in micrograms, and a small variation in dosage can lead to either overdose or underdosing. Side effects of overdosing are chest pain, insomnia, weight loss, abnormal heartbeat, excessive sweating, and irritability. Symptoms of underdosing include fatigue and loss of hair. So, monitoring your medication is important to avoid such side effects.
Sometimes, you may not experience any of these symptoms, but you can monitor your response to thyroid medication by performing Free T3, Free T4, and TSH tests. When taking these tests, it’s advisable not to take your thyroid medication a few hours before the test, as taking them may affect the accuracy of the test results.
3. Change Of Thyroid Medications
Although a change of thyroid medication can help, sometimes it doesn’t work out well. This may mean that a patient who was previously stable taking a particular dose may now require either a lower or a higher dose of the new medicine. Be sure to re-test your thyroid six weeks after changing your medication to check whether you’re currently taking the appropriate dosage.
4. Thyroid Medication And Pregnancy
Thyroid medications are considered safe for women during pregnancy. It’s even thought that thyroid medication may increase a woman’s chances to conceive and prevent miscarriage. But, if you get pregnant while under thyroid medication, it would be best to visit your doctor to take your thyroid levels. The doctor will advise you on whether you need to increase your dosage. But, most of the time, the pregnancy may increase the requirement of thyroid hormones.
5. Thyroid Medicine Interactions
In most cases, thyroid medications may not work well with other drugs. This implies that other drugs might alter thyroid hormone levels or may cause side effects. On the other hand, thyroid medication may affect the effectiveness of other drugs. So, it’s advisable to seek a doctor’s advice before taking other drugs or buying over-the-counter drugs when you’re under thyroid medication.
6. External Factors That Affect Medicine Absorption
The absorption of thyroid medicine can be affected by many factors, including other drugs, supplements, and the food you take. But, ideally, thyroid medicines work well when taken on an empty stomach. To ensure that your body well absorbs these medicines, take them about an hour before eating or drinking anything else. During that duration, don’t take even other drugs or supplements. Supplements like calcium and iron supplements might negatively affect the absorption of thyroid medicines and should completely be avoided.
7. Internal Factors That May Affect Medicine Absorption
The hormones released in the thyroid gland are normally absorbed in the small intestine. Un-addressed health problems such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and malabsorption in the small intestine may prevent thyroid hormones from being properly absorbed. So, if you’re not responding well to the normal doses of thyroid hormone replacements, you need to be tested for the mentioned disorders.
8. Beyond Medication
Taking thyroid medicines isn’t enough. There’s a lot more you need to do. In many cases, thyroid disorder is caused by autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease. These conditions occur when the immune system is out of balance, thus attacking the thyroid. In most cases, even after treating the thyroid, the autoimmunity still persists.
If you fail to treat the underlying cause of the immune system imbalance, you might be at a higher risk of developing a new autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is caused by a combination of inadequate nutrients, adrenal dysfunction, infections, toxins, impaired gut function, and food sensitivities.
There are several options for treating thyroid disorders. But, you need to consult your doctor to find out which medication best works for you. Thyroid disorder can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. First, you need to know which medication best works for you. Secondly, you need to monitor your medication. There are many things you can learn from thyroid medication; the above is just a guide.