Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy and Health
Having an unhealthy thyroid can cause a number of unpleasant and sometimes serious symptoms, so thyroid hormone replacement therapy is often necessary. Depending on the type and severity of a person’s thyroid issue, several types of thyroid hormone replacement therapies are available. Understanding the different types of therapies and their individual pros and cons can help a person make an informed decision about which path to pursue.
Levothyroxine (“Synthetic T4”)
The synthetic hormone levothyroxine, which is also known as “Synthetic T4,” is the most commonly used thyroid hormone replacement. It is taken as a daily pill to replace the body’s inadequate production of thyroxine (T4), a hormone produced naturally by the thyroid. Levothyroxine is relatively inexpensive, easy to take, and is considered by most doctors to be the safest and most reliable thyroid hormone replacement.
Liothyronine (“Synthetic T3”)
Liothyronine is a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3). It is much more potent than levothyroxine and is typically used in combination with levothyroxine to provide more complete thyroid hormone replacement. Liothyronine can also be prescribed alone for people with severe thyroid issues. It is more expensive and may cause rapid heartbeat in some people, so it must be taken in carefully monitored doses.
Armour® Thyroid is a prescription medication that contains various combinations of thyroid hormones. It is made from desiccated (dried) pig thyroid glands and is sometimes used for individuals with hypothyroidism. Armour Thyroid is thought to mimic more closely the types and ratios of hormones typically released from a healthy human thyroid, as it contains both T3 and T4. However, it is generally not the first choice of treatment due to the cost and potential risk of some of its side effects.
When it comes to thyroid hormone replacement therapy, there are several types to consider. Levothyroxine (Synthetic T4) is the most commonly prescribed therapy, as it is relatively inexpensive, easy to take, and considered by most doctors to be safe and effective. Liothyronine (Synthetic T3) is another option, but it is more expensive and must be monitored carefully due to the risk of rapid heartbeat. Armour Thyroid is made from pig thyroid glands and may have a more natural effect, but it is also more expensive and carries potential side effects. No matter which therapy is chosen, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for proper dosage and frequency.
Keywords:thyroid hormone replacement therapy, levothyroxine, liothyronine, Armour Thyroid, Synthetic T4, Synthetic T3, hypothyroidism