Should Thyroid Patients Self-Medicate?An Editorial from Mary Shomon

One of the most controversial issues facing thyroid patients in the US and worldwide is whether patients should medicate themselves to treat thyroid problems, and in particular, an underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism. When I say "self-medicate," I mean buying prescription thyroid hormone replacement medication without a doctor's prescription, and then taking that medication without a doctor's oversight.

(I am not referring to those patients whose doctors prescribe thyroid medication but then allow the patients to go up or down in dosage between visits.)

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10 Replies

  • Top article Clutter - thanks for posting. A reminder of the pernicious effect of 'groupthink'. Whatever MDs are doing, the majority of GPs and, sadly, endos are also guilty of aping. At least in the US ranges for TSH have been revised. Many here will attest to being told than until their gold standard TSH is >10, there's no treatment. Beyond awful and the reason why so many of us self treat :(

    I found this a fairly tame article from Ms Shomon, who I expect to champion we thyroidies a little better. Has she been 'got at' ??

  • Rapunzel,

    I think she's right to advise caution but as "it's not your thyroid" often leads to antidepressants rather than further investigation I can't see how self medicating leads to a missed diagnosis of something else.

  • Thank you. A comprehensive summary of the current position, I think.

  • I found the article disturbing. I worry about being denied the right to self-medicate as it is, without one of the famous advocates for thyroid patients saying how much she disagrees with it.

    I'm in my mid 50s. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I'm going to live another 25 years. I do not believe in that time scale that thyroid treatment will become what we would want it to be, I think it will get worse, particularly when democracy vanishes and corporate government takes over. So, anyone, particularly someone who should be on our side, disapproving of patients self-medicating makes me extremely angry.

  • HB,

    Not advocating self medication is not the same as disapproving of it. I read it that Shoman sees self medicating as an undesirable necessity for many.

    I found what she said about FDA regulation of NDT disturbing if it's true.

  • Yes the FDA stuff was very disturbing. Medicine has really lost its way. It isn't about getting people well any more (was it ever, I wonder?) it is about making money.

  • Perhaps we all need to revise our fundamental view of medicine?

    I really don't know what the answer is, but sure as anything, our current systems (worldwide, not just the UK, Europe, USA) are not working.

    It is a matter of luck whether what we as individuals need as medicine is cheap or expensive, a controlled drug or available in a supermarket. It certainly isn't logical, fair or anything else positive.

    The issues go far further than medicines themselves, as the link below highlights.

    I want to applaud Graham Smith for doing what he knew he needed to.

  • Sometimes its imperative.

  • Hi I have managed to get a private prescription for Armour Thyroid can you suggest companies I can buy it from. Thanks Pam P's not sure if this is correct procedure for asking questions. Thanks

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