From Mayo Clinic – Some medical discoveries truly stand the test of time. The case of a dedicated Mayo Clinic chemist is a prime example. Feeling he was on the verge of a breakthrough that could help countless people, Edward Kendall spent Christmas Eve 1914 locked away in his lab. What he accomplished by Christmas morning was a gift to…
Thyroid hormone is used in two situations:
- to replace the function of the thyroid gland, which is no longer functioning normally (“replacement therapy”) and
- to prevent further growth of thyroid tissue (“suppression therapy”). Suppression therapy is used primarily in patients with thyroid cancer to prevent recurrence or progression of their cancer.
THYROID HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Many people have a thyroid gland that cannot make enough thyroid hormone for the body’s needs. This is called Hypothyroidism and may be caused by a non-functioning thyroid gland (for example Hashimoto’s disease), by destruction of thyroid gland by surgery or radiation treatment or by a non-functioning pituitary gland (see Hypothyroidism Brochure). Hypothyroidism, is the most common reason for needing thyroid hormone replacement.
The goal of thyroid hormone treatment is to closely replicate normal thyroid functioning. Pure, synthetic thyroxine (T4) works in the same way as a patient’s own thyroid hormone would. Thyroid hormone is necessary for the health of all the cells in the body. Therefore, taking thyroid hormone is different from taking other medications, because its job is to replace a hormone that is missing. The only safety concerns about taking thyroid hormone are taking too much or too little. Your thyroid function will be monitored by your physician to make sure this does not happen.