Thyroid diseases are commonly divided into two categories – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. An under active thyroid gland causes hypothyroidism, and when the thyroid gland is over active, hyperthyroidism develops. Hypothyroidism includes autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
In most cases, thyroid diseases respond to conventional treatment. Depending upon the underlying cause of the illness, medications are prescribed for restoring the normal activity of the thyroid gland.
Although, the symptoms of thyroid diseases subside within a few weeks after taking the drugs, your doctor may ask you to continue taking the drugs for a longer time. Periodical medical exams help to ascertain the appropriate doses for maintaining the function of the thyroid gland.
Best Medications To Treat Thyroid Diseases
Anti-thyroid medications help to reduce production and release of the thyroid hormone. Drugs commonly used for treating hyperthyroidism include propylthiouracil and methimazole. These drugs work by obstructing oxidation of iodine in the thyroid gland, preventing synthesis of thyroid hormone.Moreover, the anti-thyroid drugs impair conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Propylthiouracil is considered safer than methimazole. It can be taken by pregnant women. Usually these drugs are taken twice a day. The dosage of the anti-thyroid drugs is decreased with improvement in thyroid function. Overdose increases the risk of hypothyroidism.
When the under active thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone, replacing the thyroid hormone replenishes the depleted thyroid hormone and treats complications associated with deficiency of the thyroid hormone.Levothyroxine is widely used for treating hypothyroidism. The drug comprises of synthetic thyroid hormone. This traditional medication for treating hypothyroidism helps to increase the levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 and the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Levothyroxine is usually taken once daily.
While deciding the dosage of the drug, doctors take into account the severity of the ailment, age, health condition and other drugs taken by the patient.Pregnant women usually need higher than normal doses of the drug for keeping hypothyroidism under control. It most cases the condition of the patient improves in two to six weeks.To maintain the normal thyroid function, levothyroxine should be taken for a longer period. Regular medical tests help to ascertain the appropriate maintenance dose.Levothyroxine should not be taken with fiber and calcium supplements. They may reduce absorption of the drug. It is usually advisable to take levothyroxine, at least half an hour before breakfast.
This drug contains synthetic T3 hormone. It rapidly boosts the thyroid function. However, it is occasionally used in hypothyroidism treatment and is rarely recommended for maintenance therapy.Liothyronine is prescribed when levothyroxine is not properly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract or conversion of T4 to T3 is impaired. Small doses of liothyronine are used in combination with levothyroxine.
This hyperthyroidism drug contains natural thyroid hormone derived from animal thyroid gland. The T3 and T4 hormones are usually present in the ratio 1:4 in the dessicated thyroid drugs. Some health experts claim that natural thyroid hormone is more effective in diminishing the risk of autoimmune thyroid diseases. It is usually not recommended for treating hypothyroidism in people with heart diseases.