What Happens if I Take Thyroxine with Adrenal Problems?
Even if the adrenal insufficiency is slight, it will adversely affect thyroid conversion, tissue uptake, and thyroid response.
If the T4–T3 conversion doesn’t happen as it should, the body can become toxic through unused T4. If it is converted, but the T3 cannot enter the cell walls due to adrenal insufficiency, the T3 cannot be used, and may reach toxic levels. In either case, T4 and TSH blood tests will appear normal, but the patient may feel really unwell. (6) If a physician raises the thyroxine dose in this scenario, the situation worsens still further.
The reaction varies with degrees of adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms may include: a sudden feeling of exhaustion, nausea, headache, inability to concentrate, trembling, muscle weakness, loss of peripheral circulation leading to numbness, lack of muscle control, giddiness, slurred speech, and cognitive impairment.
And as the literature included with this drug points out, the result can be extremely serious in anyone suffering from severe adrenal insufficiency:
“Levothyroxine is contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency since thyroid hormones may precipitate an acute adrenal crisis by increasing the metabolic clearance of glucocorticoids [a too-rapid withdrawal of cortisol]. Patients known to suffer from adrenal insufficiency should therefore be treated with replacement glucocorticoids before starting any Levothyroxine sodium treatment. Failure to do so may precipitate an acute adrenal crisis when thyroid hormone therapy is initiated.(2)
Adrenal insufficiency must always be addressed before starting any thyroxine treatment.