It’s no secret that patients and doctors have been butting heads for a long time regarding the treatment of thyroid dysfunction. This is why organizations like National Academy of Hypothyroidism and individuals like Hypothyroid Mom and Mary Shomon share so much information on the topic; because we all know the treatment is sub-par at best! Well, according to The Wall Street Journal many voices that were always falling on deaf ears and were trying to be silenced, are now, finally, being heard. Hypothyroid patients that were sick, literally, of the treatment that were receiving are now being acknowledged.
Earlier this week The Wall Street Journal posted an article entitled, “Doctors Hear Patients’ Calls for New Approaches to Hypothyroidism”. It explains that many doctors are finally starting to listen to their patients when they say they still feel the same symptoms even after being treated with Synthroid (synthetic levothroxine) or another similar brand, which is one of the most prescribed medications in the world. One endocrinologist, Jacqueline Jonklaas states, “More doctors are thinking, ‘Have we missed something? Could there be a role for combination therapy in some patients?’”
This movement is coming from many patients and patient advocates standing up to their doctors and saying things like, “This isn’t working,” “I still feel the same,” or even, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
While this is wonderful news, it may still take more time for your doctor to follow this trend. There are too many doctors that “just don’t feel comfortable” giving patients a T4/T3 combination or even a straight T3 because they were not trained in this fashion.
Because of this lack of training and understanding, doctors are becoming determined to treat other conditions first like diabetes, obesity, and congestive heart failure not realizing that there is a good chance that the thyroid is the underlying cause for these other ailments.
Unfortunately, the movement isn’t big enough yet to change the Standard of Care Guidelines put forth by the American Thyroid Association, but the doctors that co-wrote those same guidelines are saying these other treatments can be used on an individual basis.
While it’s not a big step, this is definitely a step in the right direction. We must keep telling our doctors when something isn’t working and should refuse to be told it’s all in our head or we just need an anti-depressant. Once doctors begin realizing the medication they are prescribing is not working, they may begin to question the methods of their testing. This would help tear down the idea that the TSH test is the gold standard test when it comes to thyroid dysfunction.