Warning for women who take Synthroid (Levothyroxine)

Cicerogirl, The PhD
Version

on 9/26/15 12:27 am - OH

My last 2 DEXA scans both showed some bone loss in one hip.  I also already have some arthritis in my lower back.  After the first scan showed bone loss, I increased my calcium from 1500 to 2000mg of calcium citrate per day. The second scan, however, still showed a small increase in the bone loss.

I am 53 and firmly menopausal based on lab work my GYN did about 8 months ago.  I have been on Synthroid since 1989.

I have seen a couple of different doctors trying to figure out what is going on with the bone loss. The endocrinologist told me something last week that I have since verified on the Synthroid manufacturer's website

  • In women, long-term treatment with SYNTHROID has been associated with increased bone loss, especially in women who are on high doses or those who are on high doses after menopause.

Obviously, I must have the thyoid supplementation for the rest of my life, but crumbling bones isn't a good option, either! Apparently, however, this is NOT an issue with Armour thyroid.  There seems to be an ongoing battle about which is "better", the natural thyroid or the synthetic Levothyroxine.  I have no idea which side to believe, so I need to go in to see if my PCP will prescribe the Armour (and see what he knows about it) and confirm whether or not my insurance will cover it.

I had no idea that this was a known issue (it was MUCH harder to get info on drug interactions and side effects back in the 1980s, even if you had a copy of the PDR (which I did), and wanted to pass it along since I know that a number of people here take Synthroid.

Has anyone here taken both and switched from one type to the other?  I'm a little concerned about having to go through figuring out the appropriate dose (although I have seen two dosage conversion charts).  I am also wondering if you found one much better than the other in terms of dose stability and how you felt.

Lora

10 years out; 190 pounds lost, 165 pound loss maintained

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

(deactivated member)
on 9/26/15 6:40 am - Canada

I've been taking Levothyroxine for 21 years. My dose has been pretty much the same for all those years. Since RNY I've had a couple variations in my bloodwork but nothing that the doctors have been overly concerned with. Do you know what dose is considered a high dose? I don't have any experience with the other med but am interested in seeing if you get many responses. Thank you for bringing this to everyones attention. Chris

Cicerogirl, The PhD
Version

on 9/26/15 10:32 am - OH

Based on what my PCP said and what little I have read online the past few days, an "average" dose seems to be 100 - 125 mcg daily.  I have no idea how accurate that is, though, or what would be considered "high".  I take 175mcg daily and a second pill once a week.

10 years out; 190 pounds lost, 165 pound loss maintained

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

Karen R.
on 9/27/15 10:34 pm, edited 9/27/15 10:34 pm - Amelia, OH
Revision on 09/10/15

I take 0.250 milligrams of Levothyroxine every day, WOW, something for me to think about! 

Karen

Ht: 5'3"/Pre-Band Weight:256/Revision to RNY 9/10/15-Weight: 219--GW: 115--CW 105

NadiaO
on 9/26/15 8:19 am

Thank you for sharing this information.  I have been on synthroid and I will have to look into this further as well..

Sharon SW-267
GW-165 CW-167 S.

on 9/26/15 8:40 am - PA
RNY on 12/22/14

Bone loss associated with long term thyroid use has been known for a long time - it is worsened with high salt intake, so get the salt out of your diet!  My mother, a retired nurse (now 86) saw a presentation when she was still working.  I have been on Synth since 1992 and am now 58.  I am careful to take the calcium and alternate the calcium/D/mag chewables with patches from patchmd.com.

I have no plans to switch to natural thr which I think is made from dessicated horse parts (let me know if you find this has changed).

Thanks for posting the info.

Sharon

Cicerogirl, The PhD
Version

on 9/26/15 10:30 am - OH

The natural thyroid is from pigs.

10 years out; 190 pounds lost, 165 pound loss maintained

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

Sharon SW-267
GW-165 CW-167 S.

on 9/27/15 6:30 pm - PA
RNY on 12/22/14

Thanks for the truth, but I think I liked the horses story better.

Sharon

Lorrainecma
on 9/26/15 10:13 am

I am very curious to learn what you find out. I am on this drug as well. Thank you for posting.

    
zann50
on 9/26/15 11:06 am

I was diagnosed in 1998 with hypo.  Started with the usual 50mg and stayed there for a couple years.  As menopause came about and my weight gain really escalated rapidly my dose always increased.  It became as high as 200mcg/ day.  

I never sought care through an endocrinologist.  Maybe my bad.  I did however, change from the generic levothyroxine to brand Synthroid....per my PCP whose opinion I valued.  Since WLS, my dose has been reduced with each three-month check 'bubblegum,of lab work. I am currently on 125mcg daily.  And due for labs soon.

As far as a bone density exam...my thoughts are, yes, I know I am losing.  I have had two knee replacements.  My cervical and lumbar spine are bone to bone thus "degenerative disc disease" verified by MRI.  I am not interested in the current meds touted for treatment.  Yes, chronic pain is part of daily life for me.  I do not care for adding all the possible side effects that "may occur" should I add those drugs.  Let me add, weight loss has not improved my daily pain experience in the least.  Other benefits far outweigh my pain with activities of daily living.  

I too have asked about Armour...never received a clear response one way or another.  My calcium levels are always good.  So, I guess I am just living with MY situation.  

Best wishes on finding your solution.😊

 

 

 

 

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