Q. My doctor recently told me that my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is high and that this means I have hypothyroidism. She wants me to have more blood work done to measure my T3 and T4 levels. I have no idea what this means.

My doctor is planning to prescribe Synthroid (levothyroxine) but I am already taking Coumadin, Monopril, flaxseed, vitamins and minerals. Do I really need more medicine? Can you send me information about thyroid tests and interactions with other medicines?

A. TSH goes up when the brain tries to kick the thyroid gland into higher gear. It suggests there is not enough thyroid hormone circulating in your body, which is why your doctor would like you to take levothyroxine.

People with too little thyroid hormone often feel cold, tired and constipated. They may report dry skin, hair loss, depression, a slow pulse and high cholesterol.

We are sending you our Guide to Thyroid Hormones so you can interpret your blood tests and learn about interactions between thyroid hormone and drugs such as Coumadin. Your doctor will need to proceed carefully in your treatment.

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  1. abigail

    Stuttgart and JP – Yes, try going off milk products. It may take a month or two to get your system free of them, so be patient. If I go back to eating or drinking milk or ice cream, I get blemishes on my face a day or three later.

  2. JP

    Try getting off dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, creams, butters) Lots of people continue with acne for many years not realizing this could be it.

  3. marilyn h., NC

    I have two clients on Coumadin (Warfarin) who are also taking dessicated thyroid… will this affect dosage of absorption of Coumadin?

  4. Greg Pharmacy Student

    The antiobiotic Minocycline is often used for acne, as are topical drying agents like benzoyl peroxide (often mixed with clindamycin).
    Milk of Magnesia is simply a suspension magnesium hydroxide in water.

  5. Stuttgart

    I have been diagnosed with low thyroid levels (TSH 4.4). Since about a year I’ve been plagued with adult acne and none of the antibiotical cremes nor probiotic yogurt has helped. Has anyone else with hypothyroid also have acne and have they found a solution for it? Unfortunately, we can’t get the recommended Milk of Magnesia here in Germany.

  6. KH

    I have hypothyroidism and my thyroid has been fluctuating for awhile due to my anxiety issues. I have been on Cipralex now for 8 months for General Anxiety Disorder and now need to go back to test my TSH again soon. My Thyroid quit when I was 26 years old after the birth of my first child. I was also diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 42 due to taking synthroid for so many years. I am now 61 and still am on synthroid.
    You can get lots of info regarding thyroid issues from Mary Shomon. She has a newsletter that can help with all aspects of thyroid issues from testing ranges and what they mean to special ways to keep your weight under control. When the thyroid quits, your metabolism slows way down. You gain weight very quickly and cannot get it off very easily. I have lost most of my hair and now wear a human hair piece.
    Synthroid is a very good synthetic medication… Some try Armour thyroid which is a natural medication. Personally I have never tried that. Please check into Mary Shomon’s website to learn everything there is to know about hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. http://thyroid.about.com/library/links/blthyroid.htm
    She has a newsletter that you can purchase and it is exceptional It is called “Sticking out our Necks”. If you get this information you will be able to understand this condition even better than your doctor. He needs all the help he can get with this disease as it is very misunderstood by the medical profession according to Mary..

  7. Greg Pharmacy Student

    There are natural substances that can increase your T4 and T3 levels, but they are not predictable. I’m not so sure natural is always better. Good news though!!
    Levothyroxine is ACTUALLY NATURAL: Your body naturally has T4 which is chemically identical to Levothyroxine.
    Levothyroxine is NOT produced by a plant, but your body doesn’t know that.
    For the best predictable results have your doctor check your blood levels while you take levothyroxine or if you don’t have serious symptoms then DON’T TAKE ANYTHING.
    Levothyroxine, in any form, will increase your metabolism and you may require more Coumadin. Maybe have your levels checked more frequently when you start or change your Levothyroxine dose.

  8. marci b.

    Ask yr doc to consider prescribing Natural Dessicated Thyroid.

  9. danna

    I’ve been on various brands of thyroid medications for 50 years. I took radioactive iodine (which, of course, killed my thyroid gland) in the 1950s, I was put on Armour Thyroid which did the best job, then Synthroid, then back to Armour, then to Levothroxin…
    Since Armour is hard to come by these days, my doctor now (an endocrinologist) has me back on Levothroxin. Makes me feel a lot better w/no side affects whatsoever…I’d prefer the Armour but since I can’t get it readily, then the Levothroxin works for me.

  10. toni a.

    I have been fighting thyroid problems for years with Armour and to good effect. Now I cannot get the drug… anywhere… they keep talking about the company retrofitting their plant but it has been over 1 1/2 years.
    The doctor had me buying a double dose 3 grams and splitting them I did get enough for 6 months but am out now. There is none available anywhere…. what are other people doing?

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