Hypothyroidism and Lithium

I love my lithium, I really do. It's made the world a much better place to be and it's stopped me crying all the time. So, yes, big fat yay for lithium.

However, I'm now wondering whether my long-standing hypothyroidism / Hashimoto's (diagnosed 20 years ago) has been affected by the lithium. I'd always thought that it was the running that tipped it over the edge and made my fT4 levels unstable but I started taking the lithium about three months before I started running (just over a year ago).

Six years after first diagnosis I had an ultrasound of my neck (my GP said it was protocol in France to do extensive thyroid tests prior to diagnosing bipolar disorder) and it was discovered that one whole lobe was gone. And I mean, nothing there to see AT ALL. Weird. So I didn't have much gland left when I started on the lithium.

Is it possible? Most of the medical literature on t'interwebs deals with lithium CAUSING hypothyroidism in non-symptomatic / undiagnosed patients. There's not much on there that deals with its effect on us old timers. Does anyone know / have any direct and measurable experience?

5 Replies

  • Hose, as Lithium can affect thyroid function and cause hypothyroidism I imagine, but don't know, that it can affect thyroid function in hypothyroid patients and thyroid dose adjustment might be necessary.

    Hypothyroidism caused by Lithium can reverse when Lithium is stopped so that's something to bear in mind should you decide to stop taking Lithium.

  • Probably not for me since my thyroid function went breasts up long before I started taking the lithium. I'll ask in Endocrine Clinic. Thanks.

  • Hose, I phrased that badly. I meant that if taking Lithium means thyroid dose requires adjustment after stopping Lithium further dose adjustment may also be required.

    I did well on Lithium many years ago and long before I had thyroid issues.

  • I stopped lithium in May still on levo doctor not said it can be reversed, I'm feeling awful lots of symptoms which endo insists not related , even blamed my mental health, not gettin anywhere, askin for diff treatment but no joy so fed up any tips !

  • Mollymaid, if hypothyroidism was Lithium induced stopping Lithium may reverse the hypothyroidism, but sometimes it will be permanent. It's typical for endos to say symptoms are non-thyroidal when bloods are in range but tweaking dose to optimise thyroid levels can be very beneficial.

    If you Write a post of your own including recent thyroid results with ranges (figures in brackets after results) members will advise whether you are optimally medicated on Levothyroxine. Include results and ranges for ferritin, vitamin D, B12 and folate if they've been tested.


    I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

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