GP can't test T3

Hi everyone,

Just after a little advice...had total thyroidectomy in August and have been battling with getting the right thyroxine dosage. Settled at 150mcg's (even though GP thinks it's not quite right based on TSH at 0.1, i'm sticking with it), but am still having hypo symptoms.

Went back to GP yesterday and requested additional bloods be taken to check everything else, but she couldn't even request that T3 is tested.

Any idea on what to do now? I'm seeing my cancer specialist at the end of April and she said he can request it, but that still feels a long way off whilst feeling pants.

Thanks in advance

16 Replies

  • Until the GP has actually been in direct contact with the lab and been refused, in writing, the GP has not exhausted all his/her options.

    I understand that the computer system, or the form, or whatever might not seem to allow it, but that is just allowing defeat at the first fence.

    The other obvious option is to contact your cancer specialist and ask them to put in the request/fill in a form for you.

    It is the patient's blood that needs to be tested - precisely who makes that request is, ulitimately, irrelevant. So long as it gets done.

  • If you had thyroid cancer your specialist should be advising how low a TSH you need in order to protect against the small chance of the cancer coming back. They used to fully suppress the TSH but now they can grade the cancer and the degree of TSH suppression needed and for how long. Once this is sorted you can then see whether you need some T3 medication to resolve your symptoms.

  • My GP tested my t3 no problem and my husbands so have no clue why yours can't? He put on the form for the lab very very clear reason why he insisted t3 was tested

  • GP can't or won't ! Even if GP does request lab may refuse .Only way is private tests.

  • I think that's ridiculous. Has your doctor symptoms of a dysfunction of her thyroid gland? Has she made a mistake with the new regulations that patients haven't to be given T3 added to T4 and thought that refers to a blood test also? :)

    Frankly, I don't know how people can get well on levothyroxine alone (I know many do). I have my thyroid gland but levothyroxine caused me far more problems than I had before (TSH 100). I am well now on T3. So I think a combination of T4/T3 should be given to those who have no thyroid gland at all.

    If you can afford a blood test, you could have a Free T3 and Free T4 test and we have recommended labs. This is a link that tells how important FT3 and FT4 are (around the middle of the list).

  • Olivia80,

    Please make sure FT3 is tested. My TSH was 0.01 but my FT3 was below range. I felt very much better when T3 was added to Levothyroxine.

    If you can't wait until your oncologist orders FT3 you can order a private thyroid test via

  • Thanks everyone.

    I can certainly do my own testing, if it comes back that t3 isn't right, how would I go about getting the necessary prescription?

  • Olivia80,

    Your oncologist can recommend to your GP that Liothyronine (T3) is added to your Levothyroxine prescription.

  • I found myself in a similar position so got mine checked privately - simple pin-prick in finger to collect bloods in a small plastic container and then send it off. Got results a couple of days later with comments from a doctor advising on how the results could be interpreted - in this case, I was advised that T4 wasn't activating sufficient T3 and it looks like I have an underlying autoimmune condition - Hashimoto's - and should contact my GP to discuss with her. Am waiting for GP to get back to me.

    In meantime, I went on to NHS website to read up about thyroid treatments and discovered they do not generally encourage the combination of T4 and T3 supplements as can give rise to complications -although they occasionally make an exception where cancer is involved. In the mean time, I have heard about Low Dose Naltrexone being used off-label for many autoimmune conditions, cancer etc -with encouraging results so am doing some research into that.

  • Regarding the statement displayed on the NHS website, they are very wrong about the T4/T3 combinations.

    Several new Research Teams (an Adviser to TUK is in one) have shown that many can benefit with T3 being added to T4. I think more people have 'complications' when on T4 only and symptoms unrelieved. I also doubt that 'proof' can be produced re the 'can give rise to complications'. I for one cannot tolerate levothyroxine - what then - and if it wasn't for TUK I'd probably be a recluse by now - unable to do anything or go anywhere due to no strength and myriad of symptoms.

  • I too was shocked to see this on an NHS web-site at all and that is why I raised it here as it left me wondering whether that is perhaps why many GPS choose not to follow up on T3 results etc

  • It was also why I opted to have additional thyroid testing done after I was told my thyroid was fine when my body was telling me otherwise. Up till then I had just been receiving Thyroxine. The results indicate I have Hashimoto's etc so will need to follow up with GP.

  • GPs have been directed several weeks ago, not to prescribe T3 at all. The authorities do put a tiny phrase that it may be prescribed on a 'clinical' basis but that hasn't prevented many who've taken T3 for a good period of time being told to go back on levo alone. The Professionals seem to not understand that quite a few patients need T3 to feel really well, not just half-and-half and have hardly the energy to breathe properly.

  • If you GP is going on TSH alone RUN AWAY and find a more ssympathetic GP.

  • P S of course he can test T3 any doctor can test anything!

  • My GP sent off the bloods with test T3 in big letters. It was not done. I told them I would phone the lab and make an official complaint and find the person responsible and take them to task. I had an idea where they sent the bloods (nearest hospital). Oddly enough, after I went, the GP phoned and said they were now doing the test!

    The lab technician does not know your health status, so it should not be down to them to decide what to test. It could be dangerous. The same lab refused to test my Vit D on two occasions, but the GP made sure on the third blood draw that they did it. Result was 7, so dangerous. I wrote to my local health board and pointed out how the lab was negligent (they dont like that word, all sorts of legal implications!) and got a fuzzy letter back about costs, pressure on service etc. I wrote back and asked the cost if I had sued them. Did not get a reply...

    We should all pressurise our GPs to make sure the tests are done. How else can we be sure of our health status? We should not have to resort to paying for it.

    Rant over and breath....

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