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Old 02-22-2010, 01:25 PM   #1
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Cytomel anyone?

My dr just started me on cytomel today. Can anyone tell me their experience with it?

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:37 PM   #2
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Are you taking it alone or with T4? Many do it either way. I'm on T3 only right now and am slowly getting my level up. Currently at 75mcg. My results have been mixed and I suspect I have problems with my adrenals still and am retesting them with another saliva cortisol test.

You will need to make sure your ferritin, B12 and adrenals are in good shape before it is going to work well for you.

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:51 PM   #3
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

My dr also put me on Synthroid. Yeah I know...not what a lot of people take but at this point in time I will try anything just to feel better. I've been without meds for 2 yrs so I am jumping for joy that I can at least get some kind of treatment to see if it makes a difference. Only thing is my dr doesn't really believe in the adrenal relation and didn't check anything other than my tsh and t4. I know it sucks. He is a tsh'er...lol. But until I can find a dr that will treat me based on my symptoms I'll take this...at least to see if it will work.

I can always test my adrenals and ferritin myself and self treat if need be.

 
Old 02-22-2010, 02:57 PM   #4
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Synthroid and Cytomel are better than Synthroid alone anyway. Most folks don't even get an option of adding T3 from their doctors so you're ahead of the game there. Hopefully you can push to at least get your free T3 tested and an RT3 would be good at some point too to make sure you're converting correctly. If you don't see any improvement in a reasonable amount of time look to ferritin, adrenals and any other vitamin or mineral deficiencies that might be present (B12, D, magnesium). With any luck this will be enough to do the trick for you though.

 
Old 02-23-2010, 08:36 AM   #5
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by javelina View Post
Synthroid and Cytomel are better than Synthroid alone anyway. Most folks don't even get an option of adding T3 from their doctors so you're ahead of the game there. Hopefully you can push to at least get your free T3 tested and an RT3 would be good at some point too to make sure you're converting correctly. If you don't see any improvement in a reasonable amount of time look to ferritin, adrenals and any other vitamin or mineral deficiencies that might be present (B12, D, magnesium). With any luck this will be enough to do the trick for you though.
I have to say that I think your statement of "Synthroid and Cytomel are better than Synthroid alone" is not really an accurate one. That may be your opinion, but there are many, many people who do well on T4 drugs alone. Adding T3 isn't always the answer. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting optimized on T4 meds. It's about using what meds are best for that particular person.

Last edited by one2wonder; 02-23-2010 at 08:37 AM.

 
Old 02-23-2010, 09:21 AM   #6
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Javelina, What kind of "mixed results" are you having with Cytomel? I'm trying to push my doc to prescribe Cytomel, so I'd be interested in knowing the downsides. Thanks!

 
Old 02-23-2010, 09:59 AM   #7
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

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Originally Posted by one2wonder View Post
I have to say that I think your statement of "Synthroid and Cytomel are better than Synthroid alone" is not really an accurate one. That may be your opinion, but there are many, many people who do well on T4 drugs alone. Adding T3 isn't always the answer. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting optimized on T4 meds. It's about using what meds are best for that particular person.
What you say may be true but not all studies back this up. As reported in the February 11, 1999 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine: "In patients with hypothyroidism, partial substitution of triiodothyronine for thyroxine may improve mood and neuropsychological function; this finding suggests a specific effect of the triiodothyronine normally secreted by the thyroid gland."

Many people do not convert T4 efficiently, hence why our own thyroids put out both T3 and T4, as well as other trace hormones that a T4-only regimen does not replace. And the majority of people who frequent this forum are just such people and they are not finding their current hormone replacement is working for them (in addition to people who are trying to get diagnosed in the first place). Replacing their hormones with a mix that most closely resembles what a healthy thryoid produces (like desiccated thryoid and synthetic T3/T4 combos) makes a lot of sense to me.

It would be great if everyone had a choice about how they get treated for their hypothyroidism. But we don't for the most part. We're told to take T4 and that's it, except in the few cases where medical practitioners dare to buck the trend and offer T3 alternatives. Some folks do just fine on T4 but I suspect they are not necessarily in the majority. How many of them are still having signs of symptoms of hypothryoidism that are manifesting as other conditions like high cholesterol, depression, fatigue, chronic pain, obesity, infertility or heart disease?

We all express our opinions here and mine is, given a choice between a hormone replacement that most closely resembles what my own thyroid would produce or a more convenient mono-prohormone that requires my body to convert all the T3 I need for metabolic function, I will definitely choose the former. I also encourage others learn all about about their options, whether or not they are presented by their physician. It's by becoming well-infomed patients that we will receive the best possible care (IMHO).

I had an interesting back-and-forth with an endo on another forum not too long ago. He was a T4-only advocate who followed the current clinical guidelines of keeping his patient in range with TSH. He insisted that all his hypothyroid patients were doing fine under his care. We discussed it for a while and then I asked him how many of his patients were also on antidepressants, statins, sleep medications, anti-arrhythmics, laxatives and pain medications. Funny, he never got back to me on that one...

 
Old 02-23-2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whoopeecat View Post
Javelina, What kind of "mixed results" are you having with Cytomel? I'm trying to push my doc to prescribe Cytomel, so I'd be interested in knowing the downsides. Thanks!
I'm having a recurrance of my old tachycardia issues (POTS) that I had experienced in the past before I was ever treated for hypothyroidism and I've always suspected this was an adrenal problem. It's likely my adrenals are not responding well to the T3 (I'm on T3-only to clear out my high RT3 levels). I am retesting them to see if fatigue is the problem (my earlier saliva tests didn't show low levels but the T3 may have stressed them). I also need to have my aldosterone tested to see if this is the issue because HC didn't seem to help. Unfortunately I'm not a simple case ...most do fine with cytomel.

 
Old 02-23-2010, 12:18 PM   #9
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Yes, I am familiar with that study. What I am saying is while a t3 only or t4/t3 combo may work for you, and/or others there are those who do fine on just t4 and by fine I mean they have hypo symptoms (no depression, fatigue etc). Not everyone has conversion issues. What I am trying to be clear about is to use what works for you whether it is just a t4 (as long as you're totally optimized), a t4/t3, or a t3 med. Not one type of regimine works for everyone. Everyone is different and what works for one may not work for all.

Last edited by one2wonder; 02-23-2010 at 12:25 PM.

 
Old 02-23-2010, 02:11 PM   #10
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

There are many reasons for high cholesterol, depression, fatigue, chronic pain, obesity, infertility and heart disease besides an inoptimal amount of T3. It's important to understand the difference between the possibility of a symptom being caused by low thyroid, and the reality that it can be caused entirely by something else. There are a lot of people out there who don't get that difference.

I'm acquainted with at least six Synthroid users. They are fine - really fine - without any signs of high cholesterol, depression, fatigue, chronic pain, obesity, infertility or heart disease. I believe it's important to let that be known so that the newly-diagnosed have hope that the treatment their MD is giving them has a strong chance of working. Forums by nature attract sick people, so it must be explicitly stated that there are literally millions of T4 users who don't visit forums, because they are fine - really fine.

I take natural thyroid - could not use Synthroid at all. I'm fine too, except that I'm pretty "fluffy", as the euphemism goes. If T3 prevents obesity, what happened to me? My muscle pain is pretty bad some days, too. But realistically, I know it's most likely that my obesity is due to a sweet tooth and sitting at this computer too much. My muscle pain is likely caused by the inactivity as well. Again... The possibility that a symptom is caused by low thyroid doesn't negate the reality that it can be caused by something else entirely. There are probably a lot of Synthroid users who are fat and sore, just the same as me. But IMO, it would be just as wrong to conclude they must have T3 as to conclude that they could never need it.

I thank heaven to have the choice available - (even though I wish it were more widely available) - and fervently hope it will always be there. But I would never be so bold as to say that this way is better or that "most" people need to do it this way if they ever want to sustain hope of ever feeling good. That just isn't true. While I would welcome wholeheartedly any study that concludes T3 is beneficial for many people, I would not give any credence whatsoever to one that would attempt to conclude that all people - or even most people - must have it.

So to answer your original question, Valkatie, my experience with T3 has been good. In the time I've been a member here, I've seen people whose experience has been the same. But... I've also seen a large number for whom it wasn't so good. The bottom line is, it will either work for you or it won't, and you can't predict how it will work for you based on whether it worked for anyone else. We are all individuals with individual needs in thyroid replacement.

Wishing you the best,
mw1

Last edited by midwest1; 02-23-2010 at 02:12 PM.

 
Old 02-23-2010, 03:15 PM   #11
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

I started out on Synthroid. Eventually went to Synthroid and Cytomel. WOW! I had problems with that from the get-go! Could not get optimized....felt LOUSY! My GP has been working diligently with me. I have a lot of the other symptoms, bone and joint pain being major, but I am also still dealing with hypercalcemia which is a major issue right now and bone pain is a known symptom of that! That being said, I am so glad I went back to straight Synthroid. The Cytomel was SO short acting that even though I was splitting the dosage, I was UP and DOWN all day every day! I was on 37.5 Synthroid and 15 Cytomel and now taking 112mcg Synthroid and feeling tons better in the thyroid area!! I, for one, am so glad I didn't take everything I read as gospel and try to stick it out with the Cytomel. Now I truly believe it is not for everyone. Hoppy

Javelina, Are you really up to Cytomel 75mcg daily?? That is equivalent to 300mcg Synthroid. Wow! That is a lot!

 
Old 02-23-2010, 04:21 PM   #12
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

The equivelency charts for T3 and T4 are simply not accurate in real life. The charts claim that one gain of desiccated equals 100mcg of T4. Since there are many people on 2,3,4 or even 5 grains of desiccated and doing just fine it's hardly possible that they're taking the equivalent of up to 500mcgs of Synthroid. The same goes for T3. Many are on over 100 mcg of T3 and even 150-200mcg and doing just fine. This just happens to be the dose that works for them. Trying to pigeonhole thyroid hormones is not as easy as some may try to make out.

I started at just 12.5 mcg and very gradually increased and split my dose of T3 four times a day because of the possibility of symptoms you were describing Hoppy. And not everyone can tolerate T3 but it's more often because it wasn't administered correctly or there were underlying problems such as low ferritin or adrenals. But if you're doing fine on T4 then that's just great.

Yes life would be much simpler if I could just take a T4 pill every morning and do well but it's not meant to be for me. I simply convert it to RT3 because of other underlying endocrine problems, mainly my adrenal dysfunction.

I did say that some do well on T4 and in the beginning of this thread (entitled Cytomel anyone?) I was simply agreeing with the original poster's decision to go on Cytomel. The fact that I believe that T3 is a good option for most is simply my opinion, and yes, everyone certainly is different and we're all free to agree or disagree.

My beef is that we are not given a choice in our medications and there are many, many out there who are doing very poorly on T4 yet have no options available to them. If they don't do well they are offered antidepressants or a whole host of other pharmacological solutions rather than working on correcting the ongoing thyroid dysfunction. This is a very costly problem in both dollars and human suffering and I do feel there is ample evidence out there that many health problems can be traced right back to endocrine dysfunction (once all the other usual suspects have been ruled out) but mainstream medicine simply isn't up to the task of figuring this out.

 
Old 02-23-2010, 10:31 PM   #13
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

The equivalency charts comparing dessicated thyroid to synthetic are inaccurate, due to differences in absorption and degrees of cellular resistence... I agree. But the equivalence of T4 to T3 is an altogether different comparison and is far less debatable. One microgram of T3 has the potency equivalence of 4 mcgs of T4. So Hoppy is correct on that point.

 
Old 02-24-2010, 06:48 AM   #14
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Thank you everyone for responding. I really appreciate it. I know that everyone is different and some can take it and and some can't. I started it yesterday and within 30 minutes of taking it my heart started beating really fast and I felt a little funny. I did split the dose in half because I wanted to start out at 25 instead of 50. But within 5 minutes of that happening I felt better and didn't have anymore problems. Is this normal? I am feeling some chest pressure but I am really stressed out right now due to a death in the family as well as family drama going on. When I get stressed I get chest pressure and short of breath. Adrenals?

 
Old 02-24-2010, 07:07 AM   #15
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Re: Cytomel anyone?

Valketie, you definitely need to check your adrenal function to see how they are holding up. High stress will stress the adrenals and if they are fatigued they won't be up to the task. T3 will also initially stress adrenals so they have to be well supported if fatigued when you start on it. If your symptoms don't relieve then cut back further on the dose and take it slowly. Get a saliva test if you can't seem to get right with your hormone replacement and you may have good luck with Isocort as a support if your fatigue is minor.

Sorry Midwest but the real life experiences of the many who are on T3-only does not back up the conversion charts. Even Dr John Lowe takes over 100 mcg of T3 daily and he's one of the biggest researchers on T3 and metabolic causes of fibromyalgia out there. I believe the conversion charts for T3 are more geared towards when T3 is mixed with T4, not T3 alone.

 
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