Over-the-Counter-Drug-Induced Thyroid Disorders - Thyroid UK

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Over-the-Counter-Drug-Induced Thyroid Disorders

Please be extremely careful with iodine supplementation.

There have been many mentions, blogs, questions here (use the Search box towards top right of page to find them). This is another paper identifying problems caused by excessive supplementation.

Endocr Pract. 2013 Mar 25:1-18. [Epub ahead of print]

Over-the-Counter-Drug-Induced Thyroid Disorders.

Hoang TD, Mai VQ, Clyde PW, Shakir MK.


Department of Endocrinology, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Maryland.


Objective: Excessive iodine ingestion may cause thyroid dysfunction. In this case series, we report four patients who developed significant thyroid dysfunction after the ingestion of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs containing large quantities of iodine.

Methods: Four patients from a tertiary medical center are reported.Results: Case 1 illustrates an acute exacerbation of thyrotoxicosis induced by taking OTC Tri-iodine™ in a 35 year-old woman while still on methimazole therapy. Case 2 describes a thyroid-extract-induced thyrotoxicosis from taking Thyromine™, confirmed by laboratory studies and radioactive thyroid uptake. Cases 3 and 4 depict severe, symptomatic hypothyroidism induced by taking Iodoral™ in two patients with underlying autoimmune (Hashimotos) thyroiditis. In all cases, thyroid dysfunction resolved with appropriate management and discontinuation of the OTC drugs.

Conclusion: These case reports demonstrate the significant risks associated with OTC preparations containing iodine in patients predisposed to thyroid dysfunction. There is no valid reason for taking high-dose OTC iodine supplements, which have been shown to cause harm and have no known benefit.

PMID: 23529350 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]



Image is the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

[Added 13:10 27/03/2013 - Methimazole is like carbimazole - an anti-thyroid medicine used for treating Graves' disease.]

15 Replies

Thanks Rod.

I was wondering about iodine the other day. You always seem to answer my questions before I get chance to ask them!

Keep up the good work!


Always good to see questions being asked, but there are so many it can't be bad to answer at least some before they get asked. :-)

Thanks on behalf of all



I now only suppliment what I definately know I am low in. I will always have a test done first and then suppliment only if needed. I think its very important to always get tested before and make a point , if asked, of stressing this on this site. Taking suppliments that are not needed can sometimes be just as bad as not supplimenting when needed.

Moggie x


Rod, I had never heard of Thyromine, it is apparently another raw glandular formulation. thyromine.com/ingredients.php

As far as I can tell there is no way of telling how much of anything you are actually ingesting. PR


I have seen it mentioned many times - and have always had bad feelings. What you say is quite right.

It has this snippet:

Thyroid Powder From Bovine

According to Merck Manual, thyroid powder, "(also known as scutiform. 4. [USP]) is a preparation of cleaned, dried, powdered thyroid gland obtained from domesticated food animals and free of connective tissue and fat; it contains levothyroxine and liothyronine and is used..." to support overall thyroid health and function.

It has been found that powdered thyroid from cows is an excellent support ingredient for thyroid health. This glandular formulation is processed by lyophilization of glands derived from free range organically fed animals, raised in New Zealand, without hormones and antibiotics. New Zealand is a country free of Mad Cow Disease.

So - it quotes the Merck manual - but does not say that its ingredient conforms even approximately to the standard for Thyroid USP.

I can never understand why taking thyroid like that should support thyroid health - by which I assume they mean "the health of the thyroid". It might (or might not) keep thyroid hormone levels higher than would otherwise be the case.

And this priceless gem in the context of the paper:

What are the side effects of Thyromine?

There are no side effects known.

One effect was obviously to provide material for a respectable institutional to publish a paper...



I was given a massive dose of Iodine in a contrast medium to highlight a kidney problem, and I reacted very badly to it. It has damaged my thyroid beyond repair. The specialist had never heard of this, so I sent him some research that showed that it is known. Many neonatal units have now banned iodine as the babies were showing hypo signs. I am now highly allergic to iodine. When I cut my hand badly, a nurse was about to swab the wound with iodine and I told her not to, as I was allergic. She said "Nonsense, of course you are not". I asked her to do a very small test patch, and lo and behold, an instant weald. Maybe next time she may listen!

They also do not believe me when I tell them I do not react in any way to local anaesthetic. They gave me a jab, and sewed up the wound, still not believing me as I winced and cried. Why would anyone make such a thing up? My dentist took some convincing too, but as I lept off the chair the second he started, he had to believe me and found an anaesthetic that did work.


It is well-documented that contrast agents and some other medical uses of iodine have the potential for bad effects such as you describe.

Do you have an approximate timeline? What is going through my head is whether,over time, the amount of iodine in your system might reduce, hopefully reducing the impact on you? But if this is already over many years, that would seem less likely.

Do you know which anaesthetic your dentist found did work? So anyone coming along in the future might be able to suggest that one early in the process!


It has been 6 years since the medium was injected. I then had two ops. I never really recovered, and kept going back to the GP, and was diagnosed with, guess what, depression! I did not agree and was told "come back when you know what is wrong with you". I knew once I developed a goitre, but by then the nerve damage in my feet was beyond repair.

I changed GP, and was put in Thyroxine straight away, but did not get better, in fact just got worse. Luckily my blood results showed I was getting worse, but the GP did not know what to do. Thanks to this site, I was able to suggest T3 (a trial, of course!) and have got somewhat better. He has since put someone else on T3 - a convert!


Seeing as T3 is formed from Iodine (the clue is in the NAME... tri-IODOthyronine) then when that's right, it's often all the iodine you need! :-)

Rather than supplement Iodine which seem to be more problematic than most supplements, T3 in the form of NDT or the synthetic version is my preferred way to get iodine "right"


And yet we see/hear people all over the place swallowing vast quantities of sea kelp, Iodoral, or whatever, and simply proclaiming that it is wonderful.

I agree with you.

And if tissues other than the thyroid can make use of iodine, well, iodine is made available as thyroid hormone is metabolised - e.g. T4 to T3 releases one iodine atom.

But each person is entitled to interpret as they see fit.


Hi Rod

I agree with you. People - me included - have taken iodine supplements without due care and proper research. I read what and how much other people were taking and thought it would be ok for me.!

Little did I know the reaction I would experience. And Much to my embarrassment I have to confess, if only to help someone else not make the same mistake as me.

I started taking 3x 15mcg a day.

The first couple of days I was fine. I even felt a huge improvement in my overall health. But by day 4 or 5 I started to feel tingly . A bit like every cell in my body was coming to life. At first this was a nice sensation but over the next few days it was literally getting on my nerves. Every minuet movement aggravated me. Walking would send tiny explosions through out my body. Brushing my hair, blinking and moving my eyes hurt and even thinking or loud noises was becoming unbearable.i felt jet-lagged-spaced out sort of sensation. I reduced the sea kelp to 1x 15mcg a day to see if it made a difference. I also did an iodine patch test on my skin to see how long it would take to disappear. Almost instantly it made my skin itchy and sore. I still took 1 mcg for a couple of days thinking it was ok for me. However over these 2or 3 days the patch test never faded and itchy Weald became extremely sore. I stopped the sea kelp completely and it took about a week for the Weald and the horrible hyper sensitivity to go away.

All I can say is to everyone how reads this :- please please be careful with iodine it is extremely potent and probably dangerous.



Thank you for posting - not always easy to confess our mistakes! :-)

The iodine patch test, while entirely understandable in your situation, has been found to be wanting:


Do you believe you have now recovered from the experience?



Just a point - I did get my test results back from Genova that showed NO anti bodies of any sort. With that confirmed I then began only a tiny 15mg dose of iodine and am doing fine with this.

I certainly wouldn't have started any supplementation if there had been a postivie result of antibodies as I have read so many places that iodine can then cause a real problem.


Glad you seem to be ok on it tulula59. What works for 1 person doesn't always work for some one else. We are all unique and therefore all have unique requirements. :-) it doesn't suit me.


Hi Rod

Not sure I am completely over it yet, as every now and then I have a 'wave' or over sensitivity. A short burst of tingling and woozy feeling, which passes after a short while until the next time. I hope I haven't caused long term damage!


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