Changing to T3 medication

I have been on levothyroxine for 8 years and felt awful whatever dose I was one. I have just started to take a combination of liothyronine and levothyroxine yesterday after much begging and pleading with my GP. My question is, how long does it usually take to see if it is making a difference in your fatigue etc? I wasn't sure whether T3 on its own without Levo might make me feel even better- what's other people's experience of this? My GP wants my body to adjust gradually so said to do the combination of the two drugs first for a month or two then we can look at the possibility of just taking T3. Any advice would be much appreciated! X

21 Replies

  • Your Doc is right to take things gradually . It could be that the combo will work for you if previously your tests revealed a LOW FT3 and the T4 you were taking was not converting well.

    Do you have all the basics in place - good levels of B12 - Ferritin - Folate - VitD ? If these are low in range then thyroid hormones do not work efficiently.

    I didn't do well on T4 and could not get my dose high enough - then added T3 - now T3 only. It can be a bumpy ride and requires patience. It is not a quick fix. I found addressing my B12 - VitD made a huge improvement to my overall health....

    I see in your earlier thread someone asked about your FT3 levels - and about the testing for the things I mentioned above....did it happen ?

  • Hi Marz, thanks for your message. I have requested the above previously with a different doctor, but was denied this because she said "they don't do it and there wasn't any point" (what a fob-off eh??!). But when I have my appointment in 4 weeks time with this other doctor, I am going to request it again just to rule this out, because like you say so many things affect the thyroid and they aren't always looked at. Also have my first encorinologist appointment in January, so hoping he may also be able to shed some light and potentially do these type of tests. In the meantime, I am taking vitamin tablets to supplement the above (with the exception of ferritin), but don't know whether this would be enough. It was only recently that I found out how complex the thyroid issues can be. It's exhausting! :)

  • about Private Testing through Thyroid UK = then report back here and self treat. So many are on that journey ....

    Sometimes we have to take control of our own health in order to be well - sadly :-(

  • I've looked into this via the thyroid uk website and it would cost around £500 for all the tests I wanted doing, so leaving this as a last resort and going to give my GP/endocrinologist a try first (I've paid taxes all my life so feel that they should pay for it not me!! But yes may end up having to go private) x

  • Sayhitocaz, Blue Horizon's Comprehensive 10 panel costs £89 using the TUK10 discount and includes TSH, FT4, FT3, antibodies, and some vitamin options.

  • Great, thanks that's good to know :)

  • I'm also worried about self-treating/diagnosing as I would prefer one medical professional to monitor the whole process. I find some of the information out there is confusing and contradicting x

  • Take it a step at a time. Have the tests done. Post the results here. Assimilate the comments. Then act accordingly. I live in Crete and mostly take care of myself - dipping into this forum for advice. It has helped me greatly.

    You have already taken a big step adding T3 to your T4 without knowing your FT3 result :-) Some of us here would call that reckless - what if your FT3 result was over range and then you were prescribed more :-(

  • My GP has agreed to let me change my meds so I trust his opinion, and he said he will be monitoring it closely. I previously took liothyronine for a couple of months before there was a supply issue and I felt better for it. I wouldn't call it reckless, I would call it desperate after contemplating suicide through spending my entire adult life with chronic exhaustion.

  • ...I wasn't meaning you were reckless - I was referring to your GP. You mentioned he wouldn't test the FT3 and yet he prescribed it. That is something I have not read about before.

  • Sorry it's been a long week!! :-/ my GP knows I'm a needle phobe so doesn't like to keep stabbing me with needles unnecessarily. He is also a believer in looking at how I am feeling overall to judge how my thyroid is doing. But yes we have decided to wait four weeks for these tablets to kick in and give my body time to adjust and then I will be requesting a throrough set of thryroid tests

  • It all depends on why you have not improved on levothyroxine





    vit d3

    been tested

    what results do you have for


    free t4

    free t3

    levo /t4 if your body cannot utilise it due to low ferritin etc will pool in the body and make you feel ill

    or some people simply cannot tolerate synthetic/chemical meds and thus neither levo ot t3 will help and they need natural dessicated thyroid

  • Thanks. No not been tested for the above and they messed up the results from my last blood test so don't know what they are (which leaves me in the dark). Did you find you had to see an endocrinologist to be tested for the above? Was refused majority of these tests recently when I requested them

  • Its crazy for your gp to refuse the very tests that would shed light on why your not well on levo and then bung you on t3

    thats total madness

    many endos are quite useless sadly and many many thyroid patients have to rely on this forum and self treat

    you need to go back to the gp and again request the above tests and all previous test results because otherwise both she and us are working blind which is crazy

  • It is probably not crazy, rfu. He probably hopes it won't work so he can 'prove a point'.

  • You can order a dyer prick test drab lie Horizons. £89 for their wonderful Thyrod 10. It comes with instructions and everything you need t do it yourself at home. Y simply poke your finger with the lancet they supply, let the blood drip into the tiny test tube they also supply, pop I'd all int the envelope they supply, post it and two days later your results with comments, arrive by email. I also get my vitamin D tested by City Assays - look under ' Testing' the actual Thyroid UK website - same sort of idea only you put a dab of blood into windows on a card and then return it to them, a few days later you get the results and comments. It s SO easy - doesn't hurt either. I used it because I could never get my T3 teamster and I just got fed up begging - same with my vitamin D. it was money well spent believe me.

  • Initially when adding T3 to a reduced T4, they drop 25mcg of levo and add 10mcg (1/2 tablet) T3 or drop 50mcg T4 and add 20mcg of T3.

    Go to page 80 on the following link and the results of the studies are on the top left-hand side where they state that the T3 has usually been too low.

    Reading through this whole article has been informative to me and this is an excerpt that the researchers found:-

    10. "There is no evidence to support using desiccated

    thyroid hormone in preference toT4 monotherapy

    in the treatment of hypothyroidism and therefore

    desiccated thyroid hormone should not be used for

    the treatment of hypothyroidism."

    12. This stunning assertion contradicts a study of treating

    endocrinology’s failures and decades of successful prescription of desiccated thyroid.[22]Evidence has been suppressed again.

    Run off the whole article and present to your GP and/or Endo.

  • Thanks I will give this a read!! :)

  • Sayhitocaz,

    Low & slow is good but did your GP prescribe the T3? This doesn't usually happen in the UK.

    Have you had your T3 level blood tested yet?

    It is likely to be low considering you felt so bad on T4 alone but I don't think it a good idea to medicate on T3 if you don't know your T3 levels.

    Many members have felt better with the addition of T3 to their T4 and some medicate in T3 alone. I added T3 to my T4 about four months ago and felt immediate improvements in many symptoms. However, I have since been unable to raise thyroid hormones further so am having further comprehensive testing organised by endo.

    There are many considerations regarding thyroid hormones working properly. Too much or unutilised thyroid hormone in the body can be extremely dangerous.

    All thyroid meds require optimal nutrient levels to work properly.

    I hope it goes well for you.


    This following link explains the importance of vitamins and where they may be obtained. This forum is supported by the charity ThyroidUK. You do not have to join the charity to benefit from this forum but by doing so you will be supporting the charity and also entitled to various discounts when buying supplements, as detailed in the link below.


    Disclaimer: 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.


  • Yes my GP did prescribe T3. He is going to let it run its course for the next month then test bloods to see what's happening. I took it a few years ago and felt better but then couldn't get hold of it so had to go back into Levo. Hoping it will work again for me!

  • Everybody is giving you great advice, and I'm no expert (and quite new here) - but in answer to your question about how long does it take to see an improvement: my experience with T3 was that when it was added to thyroxine I knew in about two hours that it was going to help - I felt as though a switch had been thrown!

    However, my T3 was under range even with a large dose of thyroxine, and I now know that I have a genetic conversion problem, so your experience my be quite different.

    Good luck.

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