Synthroid Sucks! The Rallying Cry of Thyroid Patients vs. Clueless Doctors
by Janie A. Bowthorpe
The advent of the Internet plopped into the laps of hapless hypothyroid patients like gold by the turn of this century-the seed of a now-fervent global movement against a 50-year medical scandal.
In 1955, Knoll Pharmaceuticals of Germany developed the ever well-known Synthroid, a synthetic T4-only thyroid storage hormone pill. It was not the first time T4 was used. T4 was first isolated in 1914, then produced and used intravenously in 1926-27. But it lost favor due to its light and air instability, besides due to the fact that another treatment, desiccated thyroid, was working anyway.
When Knoll reintroduced it years later, they used strategic marketing, promoting it as a "new and modern" treatment and convincing doctors to switch nearly all hypothyroid patients to Synthroid by the 1960's. Later, other pharmaceuticals followed suit, promoting their brands of synthetic T4. Newly diagnosed hypothyroid patients followed suit.
In 2001, Synthroid was acquired by Abbott Labs through their acquisition of Knoll. By the next year, Wall Street Journal reported that Abbott was going to aggressively pitch the immensely popular Synthroid, "the fifth-most prescribed medication in the U.S." with roughly 44 million prescriptions each year. And that figure did not include those prescriptions for other synthetic T4 medications, which include brand names like Levoyxl, Unithroid, Eltroxin, Norton, and generic Levothyroxine.
Doctors all around the world fell into line with the treatment of synthetic T4 for hypothyroidism like good little soldiers.
A successful treatment??
Only in the minds of pharmaceutical-patsy doctors, say a growing body of hypothyroid patients who, thanks to internet contact, discovered they weren't alone in having lingering hypothyroid symptoms which doctors dismissed or bandaided with other pills.
I am one of those patients.
And like the reported experience of a growing body of thyroid patients around the world, T4-only treatment left me with lingering hypothyroid symptoms for nearly two decades, even though a slew of doctors kept telling me "It's not your thyroid. You are adequately treated."
The lingering symptoms reported by T4-only treated patients all across the internet? Chronic low-grade depression, easy weight gain, dry skin and hair, less stamina than others, rising cholesterol, higher blood pressure, feeling cold, constipation, brain fog, low sex drive, poor exercise tolerance, heart problems, a need to nap, prenancy issues, anxiety, poor stress tolerance and a slew of other hypothyroid symptoms.
Adding insult to injury, patients report doctors being as clueless as they are rigid, denying continuing symptoms as being related to T4 treatment, and persistently prescribing it come hell or high water.
Equally as maddening is the ignorance that abounds in the medical community about a treatment that has removed those lingering hypothyroid symptoms: a grassroots return to prescription desiccated natural thyroid aka Armour, Naturethroid, etc.-- the very hypothyroid treatment that was successful for decades before it was replaced.
Natural desiccated thyroid contains exactly what your thyroid would be making: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin.
Patients are flocking to Armour and other desiccated thyroid as fast as they can find a doctor to prescribe it, which for many, is as difficult as finding a Republican to wrap his arms around Obama's stimulus package. But a small but growing body of doctors are embracing desiccated thyroid, even though the majority still have a long way to go.