What else can gp's prescribe?

I end up getting myself tied up in knots when I search the net for information on hypothyroidism as more often that not it relates to American patients, who it seems are looked after better than us Brits, anyway, I end up getting confused about what if anything I could ask my doc about. I am on Levothyroxine 125mcg daily, and from what I can gather this is only T4. Is there anything available in the form of T3 in the UK? And is it harder to get on prescriptions?

12 Replies

  • Think you can find most of the answers on the main Thyroid UK site here:


    I would not assume that American patients are, overall, better treated than us. There are differences. Some are better treated. Others cannot get anything other than levothyroxine, and sometimes have difficulty paying for that.

  • Yes, I have one friend in the US who can't get anything other than T4 and who's doctor is a slave to the TSH test. She is struggling too.

    Partly, it depends on the insurance company and partly on the doctor. Those who can afford to pay to see a "functional doctor" or similar are more likely to be prescribed alternatives to T4 and be dosed according to symptoms. These doctors also look at what else is lacking, such a vitamins and minerals, and endeavour to correct those issues. It's about looking at the person as a whole, not just treating one isolated condition or symptom.

  • I may not have got this 100% correct, but that is what I understand from what she explained to me :)

  • At my earliest involvement with things to do with thyroid, UK resources were thin on the ground. So I was on several US-based forums/newsgroups. What you have said sounds about right.

    If you have the money and the understanding, it can probably be quite good.

    All too often we see patients struggling to convince not only stuck-in-the-mud doctors, but also their insurance company, "vets association", Medicare, etc. Even a simple change seems to sometimes take a long time - or get refused somewhere along the line.

    And if your doctor insists on prescribing top-dollar Synthroid, well, you somehow have to pay for that brand and not one of the many generics they have. Maybe that involves a "co-pay" which is actually more than the full cost would be in the UK?

    Out in the boondocks, it can be very difficult to get even a second opinion because of the sparseness of the population.

  • Unfortunately finding a GP who will prescribe T3 is a mission all by itself. Some areas of the UK seem to be worse than others - post code lottery syndrome - but saying that lots of people on here have T3 presribed by their GP's, myself included, its a case of finding a GP or endo that will oblige.

    Have you still go symptoms, is this why you are wanting to try T3?

    Moggie x

  • hi, yes, my thyroid levels took a nose dive around 8 months ago, and my dose was increased from 50mcg, to 125mch (it was increased 25 mcg at a time to my results were normal) however since then I suffer aches and pains all over, from my ankles to my back or chest, cant tell which it is. I have been for another blood test just 10 days ago as I thought maybe I was being over medicated, but the results came back normal.They also took blood to test liver and kidney function, a full blood count and inflammation, but they all came back normal,

  • You say your blood results are "normal", I think the first thing you have to realise is that nothing is normal about thyroid illness. What your doc says is normal may not be normal for you. Your doc is reading your levels against a range that is, for some, to high hence symptoms are still present.

    The first thing you need to do is to start getting print out of ALL your blood results. My doc did a full blood count two weeks ago which she said was "Normal" and when I got the print out it showed my RBC was to high and another two reading marked as low but according to her it was normal. I then looked back at previous results and found that my RCB (red blood count) was again high but not as high as my present one so I will be asking a few questions when I next see her.

    Ask for a print out of your thyroid test results (as well as all the others) and post the thyroid ones on here with their ranges for people to comment. I'm not saying dont trust your doctor but please be mindful that their normal could be anything but.

    Moggie x

  • If you get a copy of your latest blood test results from the surgery, complete with ranges, post here for someone to comment. If you haven't had a recent thyroid hormone blood test ask for an up-to-date one as well as Vit D and Vit B12, ferritin and folate as a deficiency in these can cause problems.

    If you are still not feeling well on levothyroxine, Dr Toft, ex President of the British Thyroid Association says an addition of T3 to a reduced T4 may be tried.

  • Thanks, I had a blood test 10 days ago, results were normal, I know I should but I dont ask for figures, I will go back to docs within the next week and ask for a print off of the results, I will also enquire about the deficiency test you mentioned, thanks :)

  • Before the TSH became the way to diagnose thyroid problems, people were dosed until their symptoms disappeared. The average dose then was between 200 and 400mcg daily.

    In order to get better we have to be knowledgeable. Before I became hypo I had no idea where the thyroid gland was.

  • Yes I've read that in several places, but how would I convince the go to increase my dose for a trial and ignore the blood results? Perhaps just arming myself with knowledge and assuring him that I know what signs to look for to suggest the dose is too high :)

  • If you adjust doses very gradually you are aware of taking too much by either high temp or very fast pulse (I had both but it was the medication - I was not on a very high dose) all you do is miss the next day's dose.

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