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Old 09-03-2004, 05:33 AM   #1
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itsMiriam HB User
Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

After reading many, many posts here and being truly impressed by the combination of intelligence and compassion exhibited, I thought I might ask for your advice first -- before switching from Synthroid to Armour, and figuring out an appropriate dose.

So here's the situation: had a total ********ctomy on May 25 which went brilliantly (the scar's nearly faded already!) More importantly, I was put on 88 mcg of Synthroid and whether it was the synthroid or not, I started feeling like hell -- the shakes, anxiety, more headaches than usual, exhaustion, an inability to sleep more than a few hours at a time, severe sensitivity to hot and cold -- a lack of appetite and stomach cramps. Possibly lost a little more hair in the shower than usual, but the skin's the same. Saw my internist, who was so muddled (stress, overwork, who cares?) that he said I should stop taking the synthroid because the numbers were normal. I asked if he was out of his mind because there we all know there's no way I could do without a drug now that I didn't have a thyroid. Ah, but he blamed me for not telling him that i'd had the total ********ctomy (I told him, he didn't write it down!) We even chatted about the pathology report (huge nodule with oncological features, said the pathology report, but benign). And then he noticed that I'd put on weight (first lost 12 pounds, then put on fifteen, then took off a few . . . right now, it's the least of my problems. Anyway, it became clear that I need a new internist and an endo. So I tried an endo -- an arrogant, obnoxious type who listened to the symptoms, but based his advice to stick with the same dosage on the test results. (and he was incredibly ticked off with me when I told him the truth, that two days in a row I'd taken two pills instead of one. it's not better to tell the truth? anyway...) Haven't heard of a doctor I can trust, so it's become a case of patient, heal thyself (at least get the right dosages).

So what i'd like to do (with your blessing) is to switch over to Armour thyroid, and try 1.5 grains. What do you think?

Thanks for any advice,
Miriam

 
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Old 09-03-2004, 07:15 AM   #2
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Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Before you do that, talk to your pharmacist and see if he can give you the names of doctors locally who prescribe Armour. Seems like DOs are more likely than MDs to prescribe it. I found a terrific DO GP who prefers Armour to anything else, this after a lousy internist and an equally bad Endo.

 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:18 AM   #3
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Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redford Phyl
Before you do that, talk to your pharmacist and see if he can give you the names of doctors locally who prescribe Armour.
Wow, what fantastic advice! Thank you for sharing, Redford Phyl! I live in Canada and it's really hard to find a doctor who will prescribe the natural stuff.

Nat
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Old 09-03-2004, 09:00 AM   #4
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Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Quote:
Haven't heard of a doctor I can trust, so it's become a case of patient, heal thyself
I hear ya'! I have said the exact thing myself, many times.
But I still never advocate self-dosing, no matter how frustrated you are.
I don't want to criticize, because I understand what you're going through... [I too had a stupid internist and a clueless endo.] ... but the fact you have to ask how much Armour to take in place of Synthroid tells me you don't have nearly enough information to take a DIY approach to this. (FWIW, 1 grain is closer in equivalence to .88 than 1 1/2 grains is.)
Do you intend to keep track of your thyroid hormones with regular blood tests? If not, you definitely shouldn't attempt this. The consequences can be devastating. My mom had a stroke and has been confined to a nursing home for 10 years because of a miscalculated dosage error by her stupid internist.
Can you spell "m-i-s-t-r-u-s-t" ?

 
Old 09-04-2004, 06:36 AM   #5
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Question Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwest1
Do you intend to keep track of your thyroid hormones with regular blood tests? If not, you definitely shouldn't attempt this. The consequences can be devastating. My mom had a stroke and has been confined to a nursing home for 10 years because of a miscalculated dosage error by her stupid internist.
Can you spell "m-i-s-t-r-u-s-t" ?
Indeed, I fully intend to have regular blood tests -- years ago, I was taking the prescribed dose of an anti-convulsant -- but because I didn't have the drug level monitored by regular blood tests, I ended up in the emergency room, with a high toxicity level. It's a lesson you only need to learn once.

By the way, I got the results of the bloodwork that the endo took last week (he doesn't think I need to have another bloodtest for another six months, and that doesn't sound right -- but what do I know?) Anyway, he e-mailed me with a couple of figures, so if someone could interpret them I'd be grateful.
The free T4 was 1.6 and TSH 0.24.

And now i'm going to try and track down a local endo who prescribes Armour, which seems to be the wisest route to take. Thank you all!

 
Old 09-04-2004, 09:45 AM   #6
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Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Quote:
if someone could interpret them I'd be grateful.
The free T4 was 1.6 and TSH 0.24.
We need the normal lab range for the FT4. Typically, the upper end is about 1.8, but each lab varies; and what matters is where your result lies within the range.

It would also have been extremely useful to have had FT3 run as well. If FT3 is too low or too high, you still could have symptoms even if FT4 is perfect.
TSH doesn't matter at all once you've begun treatment. Some experts have found some people cannot have their symptoms resolved until their TSH is completely suppressed.

It will be quite difficult to find an endo who'll prescribe Armour. Most have been educated in the school of Synthroid and won't even consider Armour. An osteopathic doctor is much more likely to prescribe it and to dose according to the free Ts and symptoms.
Wishing you luck...

Edited to add, because my worry for you is still nagging me.... I again urge you not to attempt self-treatment until you gain more knowledge about what you're doing. You seem to know just enough to get you into deep trouble. The thing is, I'm explaining basic information to you that you didn't know before you made the decision to DYI... I know this stuff but still wouldn't do it for myself, because I'll never know enough of all there is to know.
Most of the most knowledgeable members here, some of whom actually have educated their doctors about what their needs are, still use the guidance of those MDs. They work together as partners in health. True, those kinds of docs are rare as pearls, but they're out there. Just gotta look hard to find one.

Last edited by midwest1; 09-04-2004 at 09:55 AM.

 
Old 09-04-2004, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Shhwhew!! ... Can you hear my sigh of relief all the way where you are?
So glad you came to your senses!
Though... duh... don't know why I didn't think to mention the Armour site's physician finder. Indirectly, that's how I found my own doctor.

I'm glad you have more possibilities open to you now... Please stay in touch and let us know how it works out for you.

 
Old 09-04-2004, 01:45 PM   #8
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Re: Advice re: switching drugs (and self-dosing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwest1
Shhwhew!! ... Can you hear my sigh of relief all the way where you are?
So glad you came to your senses!
Though... duh... don't know why I didn't think to mention the Armour site's physician finder. Indirectly, that's how I found my own doctor.

I'm glad you have more possibilities open to you now... Please stay in touch and let us know how it works out for you.
Yes, I CAN hear your sigh of relief! (and my husband's sigh of relief as well!) Will definitely be in touch -- and I thank you again!

M.

 
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