Why not transdermal T3? Works with HRT!

I have taken OC and then HRT orally and then had much better results by using a transdermal patch. It was terrific. I never had to worry about my doses. It was always there and purportedly always keeping my levels good.

Why don't they develop patches for Thyroid?

Yes, it's easy to swallow a pill. And it's easy to swallow an HRT or OC too.

We're talking about hormones here, so I figure all hormones could use similar delivery systems. We'd be able to bypass the liver and have thyroid (preferably T3) absorbed into the skin.

A drug company could make a lot of money because men could wear a patch too!

And why stop there, I've also used vagifem (a little pill) and menoring for HRT. Why not Thyroid? (wouldn't work for men <g>)

Has anyone tried this? Is there any history on this? If Big Pharma made this, would you use it?

Just thinking . . .

26 Replies

But would the NHS prescribe? It would probably be more expensive but it is a very good idea.

Lots of reasons.

Thyroid hormone is not known to pass through skin well.

Many medicines that are applied transdermally have very free dosing - a bit more or less doesn't matter that much. That is not true of thyroid hormones. So the absorption would have to be very carefully controlled and, even if it were possible, would probably require unachievably tight adherence to a regime in order to avoid variations.

Maybe this explains some of the difficulty of thyroid hormone passage through membranes:

Species-specific lipophilicity of thyroid hormones and their precursors in view of their membrane transport properties.



Very interesting article and good links. But that's only one study and we don't know who or what drug company middleman paid for it. It's worth reading.

Any links about vaginal administration?

Well there's not a lack of interest in transdermal. Lots of info. out there. E.g.


But not yet shown to be practical in the real world.

In fact, this paper suggests it is unlikely to be viable:

Int J Pharm. 2008 Feb 12;349(1-2):161-5. Epub 2007 Aug 11.

In vitro permeation of levothyroxine across the skin.

Padula C, Pappani A, Santi P.


Dipartimento Farmaceutico, Università degli Studi di Parma, Viale G.P. Usberti 27/A, 43100 Parma, Italy.


The aim of this work was to investigate the in vitro transdermal permeation characteristics of sodium levothyroxine, in view of its topical application. Permeation experiments were performed in vitro, using rabbit ear skin as barrier. At the end of the experiments levothyroxine retained in the skin was extracted and quantified by HPLC. The formulations tested were solutions and a commercial cream. The use of dimethyl beta-cyclodextrin as solubilizing agent increased to a significant extent levothyroxine solubility, but reduced its skin accumulation. Skin stripping before drug application produced a considerable increase in the amount retained and levothyroxine was found also in the receptor compartment. The application of the commercial cream in occlusive conditions increased to a significant extent drug retention in the skin. In conclusion, levothyroxine skin administration is promising in view of a localized effect, because it was retained in the skin. On the contrary, transdermal administration in view of systemic effect does not represent a concrete possibility.


Yeah, I see. Good links, Rod.

Another thought would be something like an insulin pump.

i went to my doctors yesterday to go and get my thyroid tested and he said that they test for T4 but not T3 ??? Should T3 be tested as well. When i asked him why, he said that it,s just something they don't do....... any reasons why ? Really not a happy bunny :(

Hi Becky66: I think you'd get a reply if you made a topic about this. Good luck!

Sorry..what is "OC" please?

Thanks! :-)

OC= Oral Contraceptives. Sometimes, BCP=Birth Control Pills.

This is delicate for me to say publicly and TMI but I think some people could benefit:

For a year, I have successfully administered my T3 vaginally. The T3 I use dissolves easily, and it has worked quite well. I went from hypo to normal quickly and have continued to administer this way. I don't have to worry about what food I eat when, and it is really quite simple. My levels are excellent (low T4 and RT3 and high, slightly out-of-range T3). I feel fine!

Dear Chryso...that is very interesting and very thoughtful of you to share this sensitive information with us. If you felt able to, can you elaborate a little? For example, are you making a gel/paste somehow, or just inserting the tablet whole? Do you do this just at night?

And clever you for experimenting and coming up with such a clever way that gives you more freedom to eat when and what you like. Presumably, a nice steady absorption rate as well, through a mucous membrane. Progesterone can be used vaginally too, along with oestrogen. Also, diazapam can be administered this way as well (during epileptic seizures) so this is obviously a recognised and very viable route to get hormones into bloodstream. Again, thank you for sharing with us. Kindest regards, Katey

Katey, Thanks for writing. It was difficult to work up to revealing. I mean, it just isn't "socially acceptable" but it made total sense to me and I have no reluctance to use this way especially since my results (I feel great) have been so good for a year.

I use tablets, just as with vagifem. I usually break them in half and insert deeply. They seem to be dissolved completely although occasionally there is a slight residue (which means to me that I either didn't administer deeply enough or I didn't break it in half).

It's all an experiment gone right. My thought process was that if it's good to administer other hormones vaginally for direct absorption and to avoid being cleared by the liver, why not Thyroid hormones?

Most T3 does not seem to dissolve very much. I believe if a pill dissolves sublingually, it will probably do the same vaginally, still using mucous membrane. And there might be a brand of NDT that does this too.

Thanks for your curiosity. Let me know (email is fine too) if you ever try it!

Just a word, patches don't work for everyone. I tried them in my efforts to stop smoking and I got an awful reaction to the damn things. I got red bumps and lumps all over me that would itch like insect bites all day, reducing by the evening only to be replaced with an entirely new batch to scratch each morning! It was sheer bloody hell and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy! In the end I had to go on a course of high dosage steroids to get rid of them, which wasn't funny either 'cos they messed with my head. Not an experience I'd recommend to anyone... :-(

You're right, they don't. And even more, those anti-smoking chemicals aren't natural to the body as hormones are.

Sorry for your reaction!

sounds a damn fine idea to me. who would you need to talk to I wonder, would it be viable for them would they make enough money which is what it all comes daown to

I'm a little confused. Did I post in the wrong place? Should I have posted on Thyroid UK?

Should I repost?

Hi ChrysO

This is the right place to post - not sure why you thought it wasn't. :-)

I have never heard of someone taking T3 that way before and it is very interesting. Well done for having the courage to post about it!



What a brilliant idea !

Am I the only one dosing vaginally? Anyone else?

I think that is a great idea !!!

Had never thought of doing it that way but makes great sense - as long as it didn't irritate the membrane? Our continental neighbours think we are mad to dose by mouth as things in general are much better absorbed rectally...

Well, I haven't tried that, but why not? If it works? I have not had irritated tissue and would have stopped immediately if I had. But unlike male hypos, I have two possible locations.

Well, I don't feel so embarassed now! Let me know if you try it.

Hi ChrysO. I am so interested in your method of administration. Good on you girl for trying something different and finding that it works for you. I have had a HELL of a time with Hashimoto's disease over the last few years and have not been able to find the right dosage of medication for me in years. Have suffered very severely with hypothyroid symptoms despite being on a massively high dosage of T3 and T4 compounded medication. I have just recently changed from slow release T3 to fast release as I read that the slow release can be a problem for people with digestive issues (I VERY much do). And there, has been some improvement since then but things still have a long way to go. So, obviously for me the absorption issue is a significant part of my problem. So, I have been researching now different methods of application - looking at the possibility of liquid products, transdermal etc. And then I came across this forum. I am so glad to have read your posts. It makes so much sense to bypass the gut and liver. Also, so cool to not have to worry about what and when you eat due to this application. That would certainly be a massive advantage for me as I actually have to have my thyroid medication 3 times a day, so that means I have to have an empty stomach at 3 different times - tricky sometimes.

I have to say that I am considering trying it myself. I am absolutely DESPERATE after suffering so severely over the last few years and have had so much of my life taken away from me because I have been so sick. So, I am more than willing to try something that others may consider unconventional. I think it is worth a try.

The thyroid medications that I have are compounded in capsules. The capsules are vege caps. Do you think that they would dissolve vaginally or do you think I would need to try to somehow just apply the powder from the capsules? (could be tricky!). Also, I was wondering, if I am using the medication vaginally, does the preparation need to be any different (ie. do I need to talk to my integrative doctor about getting a special preparation to do this?) or is it okay to use the same stuff that you take orally and use it vaginally? I would be so keen to hear your suggestions.

Thanks so much for your inspiration.

I know this is an old listing . But for some if willing to try.. a compounding pharmacy can compounded your meds transdemally. I was using mine this way with much success for 10 yrs but it failed bc I didn't rotate and developed dermal fatigue. So if you try it please by all means rotate . Application sites wrist, behind knees and panty line area. Best of luck to all of us on this thyroid journey

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