Does anyone know if steroids interact with thyroxine?

A few months ago I was put on steroids for 3 months but when I stopped taking them which I did without tapering my thyroid symptoms seemed to go crazy when I had a TSH blood test it was quite hyper so decided to stop taking thyroxine. Can't seem to get anywhere with docs at a complete loss of what to do, praying that thyroid will go hypo again so can start from scratch with thyroxine again.

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9 Replies

  • Probably....

    Not a real answer I'm afraid, just replying to push the back onto the latest activity screen...



  • Intriguing question. I don't know the answer either but would be interested to know. I had a brief hyper period very suddenly in Feb 2012, which came on not that long after I was on a steroidal nasal spray for a sinus infection.

  • I can see a problem that stopping corticosteroids suddenly will leave you with MUCH lower adrenal output (which is precisely why it is NOT safe to do), and therefore mean you are not able to convert T4 to T3 properly as it is necessary for that mechanism to work correctly. That could well impact on TSH produced (as well as other things) as you body tries to sort everything out and signal for the right hormones to be produced, and for things to be a bit "chaotic" in that time.

    TSH alone is not any sort of way to diagnose anyone being hyper, (or hypo for that matter) it is that in conjunction with very high T3 and to a lesser extent high T4 too, as well as physical symptoms (esp. temperature and heart rate). Even when all is right, TSH can go up or down for various reasons temporarily, one-off tests are not proof of much at all, even more so if you have been ill (presumably the reason for the steroids). It could even produce a condition - the so-called Euthyroid Sick Syndrome ( )

    What you need now are full thyroid blood tests, TSH, yes; but T3 and T4 are more vital to know what is happening. That's the problem when your Doctor knows precious little about these situations - like yours (clearly!), most haven't got the foggiest idea, which is why so many people struggle to get sorted :-(

    Lots of other things relate to proper thyroid function and T4/T3 conversion too that need to be at good levels in your body... iron/ferritin also vit B12, Vit D3 and Folate in particular.

  • Hi Shezaroo123,

    There is a connection. Dr. Rone writes about such things in his book "The Thyroid Paradox" which I have found to be an excellent book. Unfortunately, without reading half the book again, I can't really sum up what he said except that, I think, steroids suppress TSH production, whether that is from taking them, or from an excess produced by your own body because of disease or severe stress. If this is right, it could explain why your TSH shot up when the steroid course stopped.

    I guess that things just need to settle down, and that if you needed thyroxine before going on the steroids, you must still need it. A TSH test at this time probably means nothing, because your chemistry is unstable.

  • I believe you're right, Helenabc. Stress hormones do suppress thyroid activity, so while on steroids the thyroid activity will have been reduced and coming off the steroids suddenly will have caused this reaction.

  • Thank you everyone for replying, I hope it's ok to give a little background. 9 years ago I had a funny do as I call them to the point where I thought I had been drugged the next day I felt really on edge and just not right within a few days I felt ok again. I went to doctors who done some blood tests and my thyroid one came back hypo but they said it was borderline and didn't give me anything. I would have these funny dos periodically and then when I had my youngest child 4 years ago these funny dos were happening all the time and my head never felt right I would either feel like I was on drugs or feel concussed and drunk doctors tested thyroid all was fine except TPO which were high so they put me on 50mcg of thyroxine which helped but they referred me to an endo who said your TSH is normal so stop taking them so I did and all the horrible symptoms returned after a few months one of the doctors who I saw tested thyroid again and it had gone hypo again so they put me back on the thyroxine which I had been on for about 18 months. I got put on the steroids because of joint pain that I have had for 12 years. They didn't tell me to tapper them they just told me to stop taking them and that's when all the horrible symptoms returned with full force. Doctor now will not put me back on thyroxine till it goes hypo but she did send me for a thyroid ultrasound which showed left side of thyroid is completely damaged by Hashis.

  • Cortisol helps you absorb thyroid meds. More info can be found on stop the thyroid madness website.

  • Shezaroo you TSH is normal because you were on thyroxine so why did they stop the meds? It's bound to go hypo! Stopping steroids after 12 years without tapering is downright dangerous you could of had an adrenal crisis! I would check your cortisol levels if I were you. Ask your GP for a 9am cortisol test as a lot of your symptoms could be adrenal related as well a thyroid. Speaking from experience here x

  • My understanding of this is that steroids (as well as a lot of other meds - even aspirin) need the thyroid binding globulin (TBG) to get moved around your body. This uses up the TBG that your T4 and T3 will be "looking" for. So if you want maximum effect from your T4 and T3 - be they self made or synthetic - do not load your system with steroids of any type.

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