Hello All, I am hypothyroid [100mg Levo daily] I am feeling no better than when I started seven months ago, I can't stand feeling this bad all the time, so I went to the doctors and told her how I felt and she suggested I start taking Fluoxetine, it is an antidepressant, has anyone had this or know about it. I'm figuring what have I got to lose, can't make things any worse can it?

40 Replies

  • This seems to be a standard reply - 'we don't know what's going on, so here's an antidepressant'. I have refused them when offered and insisted that I was ill. They can make things worse, so please don't take it.

    You need full thyroid testing. You may be like many of us who don't convert T4 (in levo) to the active form, T3, so you don't feel any better.

    Do you have recent blood test results? Get them and post them on here, including the ranges, for people to comment.

    Read as much as you can about thyroid problems so you can discuss it with your doctor. A good place to start is the ThyroidUK website at thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/index....

    All the best.

  • Fluoxetine is the "official" name for Prozac.



    The side effects of SSRIs may be severe, as you can see from the two links above. Also, if you ever want to come off it it can be an absolute nightmare because it can be very addictive.

    You might want to try a non-prescription alternative. It gets mentioned on here a lot and there are loads of reviews of it on the web and on sites like Amazon. I'm talking about 5-HTP. Don't know if you've ever heard of it. I started on 50mg, once a day (about an hour before bed), and it worked wonders for me. I've never needed to raise my dose. If I try to I get jittery and uncomfortable. But some people take lots more than me, multiple times a day. If it interests you, start low, and don't be in too much of a hurry to raise dose.

    Don't buy a big bottle to begin with. Some people get no effect at all, and if that happens to you I would give up after a month. On the other hand, if it is going to help it usually helps quickly (within a week or two).

  • humanbean, do you have a recommendation for the brand of 5 - HTP please? I tried taking one from Holland and Barrett but I wasn't sure about it as it had B6 in it. Thanks in advance

  • Oh dear... :O

    I take Holland & Barrett 5-HTP and have done so since the start. When I first started I don't think it had all those additives in that is has now, so they must have changed the recipe at some point and I never noticed. :(

    H&B 5-HTP does work for me, which is why I've never changed to a different one.

    By the way, there is nothing wrong with vitamin B6 if you need it. It is a common additive to 5-HTP but I don't know why. If the vitamin B6 is a concern, then you will have to find another brand. I think I might be tempted to experiment as well, now I know it is there.

    So, sorry, no I can't recommend anything because I take what you have already bought.

  • Ooops, sorry humanbean - I'm not sure about B6 as I can't take a B complex, it gives me bad pains in feet (not sure why exactly). I only tried the 5 - HTP for a wee bit, couldn't tell a difference then started over-worrying about the B6 in it. I think I'll try another brand though, to be on the safe side. Glad that Holland and Barrett one works for you though.

  • Anthea55 is right, you may not be converting the t4 in Levo into the active form of t3, due to a number of reasons including low cortisol and/or low/high iron. Have you had iron tested and a saliva cortisol test? Feeling bad or depressed is a typical hypothyroid and low cortisol symptom. If it is too awful to bear using fluoxetine can help in the interim whilst you work on your thyroid issues, however it unfortunately does lower cortisol. Last year was truly awful for my daughter and to keep her safe we had to put her on fluoxetine for 4 months and then she weaned slowly off. We realised that it was in fact really low cortisol causing the issues so once that was addressed she felt much better and could enjoy life again. Based on what your blood tests indicate, it may be worth you using NDT or even t3 only. Although not ideal, sometimes SSRIs are required and it is just something you need to try to live life. :) My thoughts are with as it is really hard feeling like you do. Hugs to you x

  • Hi jenny, You are a wonderful mother. I would be interested if you found good treatment for low cortisol since I know how difficult it is to find proper thyroid treatment.

  • Hi Heloise, thank you but I just see it as my life job to ensure our children live the lives they deserve :) In terms of the cortisol problem, after many years of trying supplements, like adrenal cortex, we finally had to take the step and use hydrocortisone. Boy what a difference it made, it was 1 more missing piece in the puzzle of years of poor health. In fact looking back I think my daughter's adrenals have never functioned correctly. She is only small but needs 32mg dosed throughout the day to match the normal diurnal curve. Given so many poor people suffer both adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism, I always wonder what dysfunction happens first! I will keep researching this one. I must also say that despite the promises, adaptogens should only be used for high cortisol issues, not low, as they in fact lower cortisol making adrenal fatigue even worse. Health and happiness to you :)

  • Glad you said that about adaptogens, I've always thought the same.

    Does your daughter have Addison's disease? If not, she should not be dosing throughout the day. As my doctor explained it to me, you should just take HC in the morning first thing, and then at lunchtime, to give the adrenals a helping hand during their busiest time. But never after 1.0 pm. After that, the adrenals should be left to work for themselves, to stop them shutting down completely. That's what I did, and I was able to come off them successfully after a couple of years.

  • Hi greygoose I suspect she does have Addison's. From a very early age she could not sleep, always craved salt, suffered from many infections etc - all symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. But the actual test is really hard on the adrenals and my daughter could not come off of her HC to test, her life would collapse. Last year was awful and a doctor prescribed mirtazapine for sleep, which blocks cortisol which I didn't realise and I was so frightened she was on the brink of an Addisonian crisis. We know now to stay away from any of these drugs and watch cortisol levels instead. I don't hold out any hope of her adrenals recovering and that she will be on HC therapy for life. Well done on repairing your adrenals it is a tough thing to do!

  • I'm so sorry to hear that, jenny. It's a terrible thing. x

  • This is such important information, jenny. I have always felt that about the adrenals as well. It's like a chicken and egg association. If it all starts in the sensory nerve, the hypothalamus, which may be overloaded and then forces the adrenal glands to cope with the stress, they need to be equipped to handle it. Then the thyroid gland becomes involved as a victim I would say. I'm thinking it could be even due to nutritional gaps if it's not a defect at birth or perhaps an infection. Biofilm seems to be showing up in some research. Leaky gut could be one of initial problems as well. Of course I'm not a medical person but just trying to glean why we have chronic problems even though the medical profession would rather not deal with causes and sometimes not even treatment. Oy!

    May I ask what type of doctor was so knowing to help you with this?

  • Hi Heloise,

    I. like you, did a lot of reading and came across rt3-adrenals.org. With their help I could go to a nutritional/functional doctor who would order the tests they recommended and based on their diagnosis, I asked for certain meds and thankfully the doc would write out the prescriptions. As good as the doctor is with helping, she still does not really understand my daughters need for quite a high dose of t3 (due to some sort of resistance) and physiological doses of HC. When ever ft3 is quite high (pooling) and tsh is always suppressed, as it needs to be on t3 therapy, the doctor wants to ad back in t4! But we keep sending results to the forum and adjust according to recommendations. Most of this is at my personal costs, the medicare system in Australia only recognises t4 therapy! I think you're right on the gut problems too. I just read David Perlmutter's book Brain Maker about dysfunctional gut microbiome and it makes a lot of sense. I would love to get a FMT for my daughter, have to find a place for that one here!

    Keep up your good work researching and one day we may find all of the pieces to the puzzle. :)

  • Wonderful information, jenny. There are still some fuzzy areas perhaps we'll never understand. My son just took a vacation to Australia and loved it. I'm in the U.S. Have you heard of this place:


    Have you heard of Hans Selye? He pioneered some of this work. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_...

    Best wishes and thanks for all your information.

  • Glad to hear he enjoyed himself. I will have a read of the links you provided. Thanks so much :) We will forge on and find answers for everyone I hope!

  • Hello Anthea, thanks for your reply

  • Hi Tom, please try a different thyroid hormone. T4 does not suit everyone. When your thyroid hormone is stable you won't need an antidepressant which will also interfere with it. If you can possibly try a natural desiccated hormone, you may find a difference. You may even end up taking a T3 instead.

    You need good levels of cortisol and ferritin for any thyroid hormone to work so that may be a first step if your doctor will test those. You still have options so don't give up. stopthethyroidmadness.com/m...

  • Hello Heloise, thanks for your reply. My doctor says the Levo [100mg] has brought me "in range" so according to her there is no more treatment needed, when i told her the symptoms of hypothyroid were still affecting me as much now as before I started Levo she told me my problems were not physical but mental. What else can I do but try the antidepressant, it can't be any worse than how I feel already

  • Tom, please, you CAN feel worse believe me and many of the other posters here. For one thing, what makes you feel good? Rhetorical question because you need serotonin and dopamine and they ARE in your head. Your thyroid affects both of those. You haven't learned enough about this condition and I'm sorry to say, neither has your doctor. I've been at this for many years and read thousands of articles and realize doctors probably don't have time for all that so I don't blame them.

    Ask for a print out of your blood tests or at least see them. You should have a TSH around 1.0, a free T4 in the top quarter of the range and a free T3 in the top third. Your neurotransmittors need T3 which many of us take instead of anything else. You can buy it online over the counter if need be.

    Tom, please watch these five minute videos and understand what he's telling you.

  • I know exactly how you feel. I'm at a deep low myself right now. I start iron IV this week though, and potentially hydrocortisone too. My doctor thinks these need to be addressed before thyroid can get what it needs. In the mean time I feel exhausted and drained in every way. It takes time, and different deficiencies need to be addressed. Not just thyroid. Have you had a cortisol/saliva test done? How is your ferritin levels? Vit b12? D3? DHEA? Etc. These are all interlinked and important. Best of luck :)

  • Nooooooo antidepressant = you'll go away & be quiet! Don't take it, get more tests & post on here for advise. As wonderful as your doctor maybe with other illnesses, he/she will not know enough in this case.

  • Any anti-depressant negates your thyroxine. Depression is a SYMPTOM of hypothyroid.

  • After my first reply to you, I happened to be looking up something else in Dr Peatfield's book.

    On the same page I noticed ...

    'fluoride compounds block iodine uptake and are enzyme poisons'


    'Anti-depressants: One particular offender is fluoxetine, which contains fluoride and thus also impairs thyroid metabolism'.

    The book is 'Your Thyroid and how to keep it healthy' by Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield'. Get a copy - it's really helpful.

    So - please no antidepressants and in particular 'no' to fluoxetine.

  • Agree with all above , but wife was on Prozac for years ,the only way she could cope with the pressure of her job.She came off slowly when retired.?.Worked wonders for her but does not suit alot of folk.

  • Hi Treepie, I guess we feel this is a different circumstance. I'm glad it helped your wife but if Tom needs more hormone, it probably is not the right treatment for him for the reasons given.

  • Yes,that is why i said I agreed with the other responses.I vaguely recall a book "Prozac Nation" I think ,which examined the considerable downsides of the drug.

    I was saying that for some it worked well and should not be condemned absolutely.

  • Hi I'm on fluxotine.

    I find no difference either but that doesn't mean it wud work for u

  • Tom, 100 mcg is only really a starting dose. Have you not had a blood test in all those seven months? You should be tested 6 weeks after starting, and the dose increased by 25 mcg.

    Do you have copies of your blood test results? If so, post them here, and let's see what's going on. If not, ask for a print-out. It's your legal right to have one, and it's the first step to getting well. :)

  • Hello Greygoose, thanks for your reply. My doctor says the Levo [100mg] has brought me "in range" so according to her there is no more treatment needed, when i told her the symptoms of hypothyroid were still affecting me as much now as before I started Levo she told me my problems were not physical but mental. What else can I do but try the antidepressant, it can't be any worse than how I feel already

  • Oh yes it can!!! Your doctor is particularly ignorant, isn't she. It's not just being 'in range' that counts, it's where in the range you fall. It really would be helpful - both to us and to you - if you got copies of your results and posted them on here.

    The majority of people who have responded have said 'Don't take the antiDs', and I agree. You doctor isn't helping you at all by giving them to you. Can you not see a different doctor? It's pretty certain that it is your hypo causing your depression, and it needs to be treated correctly. She just has no idea what she's doing and is just going to make you worse. :(

  • I used to work as a psychatric nurse and I have never seen anyone respond well to prozac. It doesnt seem to work very well as an anti d and the side effects are intolerable for most people few GPs prescribe it these days. The problem is probably your thyroid/ Please post blood results which you can get from your GP surgery for people to comment and advise. I would also suggest you see another GP in your practice in future.

  • Hello Mandyjane, thanks for your reply. My doctor says the Levo [100mg] has brought me "in range" so according to her there is no more treatment needed, when i told her the symptoms of hypothyroid were still affecting me as much now as before I started Levo she told me my problems were not physical but mental. What else can I do but try the antidepressant, it can't be any worse than how I feel already

  • Tom, sorry your feeling so dreadful. It is up to you if you want to try them. It would be a good idea to get your blood results and post them here for people to comment. A GPs idea of good blood results is not always optimal and you can feel a lot better even having you meds ajusted while in range. A lot of people on this forum treat themselves. Also ask your GP to check you vitamin D levels as I expect they are low. also B12, folate and ferritin.

    If you are going to go on an antideppresant then citalipram( I think Ive spelt that wrong) is a better choice than prozac. I would see a different GP and ask about these things.

  • Every anti depressant is different for different people. I have been given everyone going on prescription. Personally Sertraline was best for me and I hated Prozac and all the others. Your GP should be looking more in-depth into your thyroid levels and vitamin levels. I came off sertraline last year and take vitamins daily. Lots of depressive symptoms are caused by vitamin deficiencies and hypo people are more inclined to become deficient. I also do take 5-HTP to keep my serotonin levels ok.

  • Stupid shrinks put me on benzos, anti-psychotics, and anti-depressants (including Prozac, otherwise known as fluoxetine) even before I knew I was hypothyroid, and long before I got onto correct thyroid treatment (T3+T4). I cannot recommend Prozac, the side-effects were simply unacceptable. Keep in mind that Kent Holtorf MD often refers to T3 as "the best anti-depressant".

  • Tom210, like you I've been prescribed fluoxetine in the pass, and did take it on a few occasions over this last 20yrs.

    I'd RAI 20 yrs ago and was on 200mg thyroxine and sometimes more daily

    After discovering HU site last yr I went to my doctor and listed all my hypo symptoms, and he said He thought my bloods were

    " within normal range"

    I felt my thyroid was anything but "normal" as I felt so "wrecked"

    He said " maybe we should up the antidepressant" and give you "another wee tablet"

    I stopped all my tabs unless thyroxine, and got info of private endo frm on here who prescribed T3, I rang up the health centre and asked for a referral 👍🏻

    This sane doctor wrote the referral

    I've been on t3 and thyroxine since October , and felt i'd more energy in Feb and March until I had my coil removed,

    So now I need hormones looked at.

    But don't put up with antidepressants being thrown as you, to get rid of you.

    Depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism,

    they need to stop treating the symptoms, and heal the root cause, 💞

  • I think the GP saying you are now in range is a clue! Sounds your numbers have gone up be note bight. Please ask for your readings and post them

  • Hi Tom,

    I have been told I'm normal now but still suffer anxiety. I am on Fluoxetine for 11 weeks now but honestly don't think they do much. Family say I am better than I was so maybe they are making a small difference. Everyone is different though so they might help you.

  • Hello Jaded flower, been taking the Fluoxetine now for four days, I don't feel any change yet but I am going to keep with it, any help it could give outweighs disadvantages. When you are feeling so bad you are prepared to take anything and as you say it may only be a small difference but that is better than nothing. Hope we both feel better soon. Thanks Tom

  • Hi Tom, how are doing on the fluoxetine now.

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