Q: Your column explaining why standard thyroid treatment doesn’t always work was enlightening. The standard approach sure didn’t work for me.

I asked my doctor to switch me from levothyroxine to natural thyroid (Armour or Nature-Throid, etc.), but she refused. So, I changed doctors, choosing one who would prescribe natural thyroid.

Six months later, all the knots in my back were gone, I had no more muscle pain, and I was back to my lifelong weight (down to 130 pounds from 165 pounds). I felt like my old self. My wit was back, and I no longer felt stupid or foggy. Why is it so hard for doctors to recognize that sometimes people need more than just T4? Not all of us can convert it to T3.

A: In the mid-to-late-20th century, doctors adopted levothyroxine (synthetic T4) as the sole treatment for hypothyroidism. It wasn’t until the 21st century that research showed some people are less efficient in converting T4 to the active form of thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine or T3. There are genetic differences that explain this.

As a result, some doctors are starting to rethink whether it makes sense in some cases to prescribe desiccated thyroid gland (Annals of Internal Medicine, Jan. 5, 2016). Drugs such as Armour Thyroid or Nature-Throid contain T3 as well as T4. Many people report feeling better on such a product.

You can learn lots more about this topic as well as about interpreting thyroid test results in our eGuide to Thyroid Hormones. It is available in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.


Q: After diagnosing my arthritis, my doctor prescribed meloxicam. During the three years I took it, my blood pressure went from 120/80 to 190/144. Unfortunately, he wasn’t monitoring it.

When I found I had such high blood pressure, I got off the meloxicam and was put on lisinopril. Six months later, my BP is stable at 130/86. I do want it lower, so the fight is still on. Please monitor your blood pressure while you are on meloxicam.

A: Great advice to anyone taking an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). That includes OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen as well as prescription arthritis drugs like celecoxib, diclofenac or meloxicam.