Thyroid replacement therapy has been around since 1891, when patients were served sheep thyroid tartar. Now, patients have the convenience of a taking a simple pill — this and other changes in treating hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer.
Dr. Leonard Wartofsky
is Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Medicine, MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He trained in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University and in endocrinology with Dr. Sidney Ingbar, Harvard University Service, Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Boston. Dr. Wartofsky is past President of both the American Thyroid Association and The Endocrine Society. He is the editor of books on thyroid cancer for both physicians and for patients, and thyroid cancer is his primary clinical focus. He is the author or coauthor of over 350 articles and book chapters in the medical literature, is recent past Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and is the current Editor-in-Chief of Endocrine Reviews.
In this episode, Dr. Wartofsky discusses the following:
- Bioavailability versus content of a thyroid replacement tablet, and how it is absorbed.
- Hypothyroidism causes
- When is replacement thyroid replacement hormone necessary?
- The history of replacement thyroid hormone going back to 1891
- The early treatment included a chopped up sheep thyroid and served as a ‘tartar’, often resulting in vomiting
- Myxedema coma
- The danger of taking generic T4; are cheaper, larger profit margin, but the content varies.
- Synthroid versus generic
- Manufacturing plants in Italy, India, Puerto Rico are known to produce generics
- Content versus absorption when taking generic T4
- An explanation of TSH
- 1.39 is a healthy TSH level for women in the U.S.
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as a slow mind, poor memory, dry skin, brittle hair, slow heart rate, problems with pregnancy, miscarriage, and hypertension.
- Screening TSH levels if contemplating pregnancy T4 is the most prescribed drug in the U.S.
- Hypothyroidism is common when there is a family history
- Auto-immune disease is often associated with hypothyroidism
- An explanation of T3
- An explanation of desiccated thyroid
- The T3 ‘buzz’
- Muhammed Ali’s overdose of T3
- Dangers of too much T3
- When to take T4 medication, and caution toward taking mediations that interfere with absorption
- Coffee and thyroid hormone absorption
- Losing muscle and bone by taking too much thyroid hormone
- Taking ownership of your disease