Thyroid replacement for hypothyroidism
Since your thyroid gland is important for regulating metabolism, temperature, heart function, and many other things, when your body does not have enough thyroid hormone it needs to be replaced with medication.
- T4 (Levothyroxine, synthroid, levoxyl, Tirosint): Synthetic thyroid hormone replicant that comes in either brand or generic form. It is an exact copy of the hormone your body produces naturally, just that it is made in the lab (like insulin for diabetics that don’t make insulin anymore). T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone that gets converted to the active T3 by an enzyme in the body. It is long-lasting, taken once a day, and the more stable form of thyroid hormone and therefore is most common form of replacement. There are no side effects from the medication (since nothing foreign is being put in your body). However, your dose may need to be adjusted and therefore you could have symptoms of too little or too much hormone.
- T3 (Cytomel): active form of thyroid hormone. It is short acting, needs to be taken twice a day, and therefore the effects of missing a dose can be felt in short amount of time. There are also no real side effects since like T4, it is an exact copy of the hormone your body produces naturally, just that it is made in the lab (like insulin for diabetics that don’t make insulin anymore).
- T4/T3 pig thyroid hormone (Armour, Nature-thyroid). Although it may work for many people, not every batch has the same amount of thyroid hormone in it, so especially for cancer patients, this is not a good option. Additionally, since you are putting something foreign into your body, there can be allergic reactions and side effects.