Thyroid disease is a broad term which encompasses a wide variety of ailments. Different problems with your thyroid require different medications, but what types of thyroid medication are available to patients? And what do you need to know about the different kinds? Thyroid medications vary based on their composition – that is, their chemical make-up
Thyroid disease is a broad term which encompasses a wide variety of ailments. Different problems with your thyroid require different medications, but what types of thyroid medication are available to patients? And what do you need to know about the different kinds?
Thyroid medications vary based on their composition – that is, their chemical make-up – and their intended results. For example, levothyroxine is a hormone replacement drug and is used to treat hypothyroidism. It supplements and replaces the body’s natural levels of thyroid hormone. For the opposite impact, anti-thyroid drugs like methimazole help to limit an overactive thyroid gland’s production of thyroid hormone. For some thyroid diseases, like thyroid cancer, a more aggressive treatment plan may be necessary, with procedures such as chemotherapy.
Medications for Hypothyroidism
When working properly, the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones known as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones are essential for proper growth and development in children and healthy bodily functions such as temperature regulation in adults. Hypothyroidism is a chronic thyroid hormone deficiency and can be caused by disease, damage, or natural processes. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be mild or severe and can include fatigue, trouble breathing, weight gain, and irritability.
Levothyroxine is the most common drug used to treat hypothyroidism. It is a synthetic form of T4 and is made by brands such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Tirosint.
Liothyronine is less commonly prescribed. It is the synthetic form of T3 and is made by brands like Cytomel and Triostat.
NDT stands for Natural Desiccated Thyroid and is a non-synthetic drug derived from pigs’ thyroid glands. NDT includes both T3 and T4 hormones and is made by brands like Armour Thyroid and Nature-throid. Generic NDT can also be purchased.
Your doctor is best placed to match you with thyroid medication.
Medications for Hyperthyroidism
People with hyperthyroidism have overactive thyroid glands. This means that too much thyroid hormone is produced in the body. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Grave’s disease, inflammation, or problems in the pituitary gland.
Treatment is complicated and can involve a blend of medications and surgery. The only drugs used to treat hyperthyroidism are anti-thyroid medications.
Methimazole is the most commonly prescribed drug. It inhibits thyroid hormone production.
Propylthiouracil or PTU also inhibits hormone production but can have more side effects and must be taken more often.
Beta-Blockers do not treat hyperthyroidism but can ease physical and mental symptoms
People who need to take thyroid medications often do so for life. However, with proper use of thyroid medication, people with thyroid disease can live healthy, normal lives. If you suffer from thyroid disease or think you may show symptoms, consult your doctor about which treatment plan is best for you.
Once you have been prescribed a medication by a professional, consider shopping online to get the best value for your thyroid medication.