New Information About Hypothyroid Treatment

T4 Supplements Compared to Combination Supplements
Most individuals with hypothyroidism do quite well on a T4 supplement. However, there is some controversy about whether this is the very best way to treat hypothyroidism. Since the normal thyroid gland also makes and releases a small amount of the more potent hormone T3, doctors wonder if they should also give patients some of this hormone.

In fact, some thyroid preparations contain both T4 and T3. A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 340, pages 424-429, 1999) suggests that the addition of T3 may be beneficial.

These investigators noted that when a small amount of T3 was substituted for some of the T4, patients appeared to have some improvement in mood and other psychological tests.

However, it seems to be too early to recommend that all hypothyroid patients take a combination hormone supplement. First, most patients do fine on T4 supplements alone when the dosage is adjusted properly. Second, the results of this small experiment need to be verified in larger studies. Medical literature is full of instances in which the result of larger studies dampened the enthusiasm surrounding initial reports.


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