Hypothyroidism Symptoms and Treatment with ERFA Thyroid

In the center of the lower part of your neck is a butterfly shaped gland called the thyroid. The thyroid gland controls your body metabolism, heart rate, nervous system, weight, body temperature controls, and breathing, as well as other functions within the body, by creating hormones known as T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).  These hormones tell your body to use energy and how much energy for different functions.  The level of thyroid hormones circulating in your body is controlled by the pituitary gland, located just below your brain.  If your thyroid hormone level is low, it will send thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH) to your thyroid gland to tell it increase the production of T3 and/or T4 as needed.

What is Hypothyroidism?

 Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, so your body metabolism is much slower than it should be. As much as 10% of women are thought to have some level of thyroid hormone deficiency, and up to 10 million Americans have some level of hypothyroidism.

According to the American Thyroid Association,  more than 12% of the population in the United States will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. Approximately 20 million Americans currently have thyroid disease and most of these people (approximately 60%) may be unaware they have it.   

ERFA Thyroid is a prescription medication used in the treatment of hypothyroidism.   Learn more about this medication later in this article.

What causes Hypothyroidism?

  • Thyroiditis – inflammation of the thyroid gland which causes a reduction in the hormones produced
  • Postpartum Thyroiditis – approximately 4-9% of women will have this temporary condition after giving birth.
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis –a hereditary disease of the immune system also called autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Iodine deficiency – as many as 100 million individuals around the world have this issue.  The thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones. Iodized salt has prevented iodine deficiency in most of the world.
  • Non-functioning Thyroid – All newborn babies are given a blood test to check their thyroid function, as this condition affects approximately 1 in 4000 newborns.

What are Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may vary from patient to patient, but these are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Intolerance to cold
  • Change in voice (gravelly or hoarse)
  • Dry skin and dry hair
  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight easily
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Frequent and/or heavy menstrual periods
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning of the outer edge of eyebrows
  • Muscle and/or tendon aches

Diagnosing and Treatment of Thyroid Disease

If you or your doctors are concerned about your thyroid function, a simple test called a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) blood test will give you quick answers. In fact, it may even detect a problem with your thyroid levels before you even notice symptoms. 

What to ask your doctor about Hypothyroidism

Your doctor and your pharmacist are there to work together for your ultimate wellness. Going to your doctor with a list of questions puts you in a better position to understand your condition and open a dialogue about the best treatment for your needs.  Here are some questions to ask your doctor:

  • What caused my hypothyroidism?
  • What do my blood test results mean?
  • What is my TSH level and what is my target TSH level?
  • How often should I have my blood tested?
  • How quickly can I expect to feel better?

Prescription ERFA Thyroid for Hypothyroidism

Your doctor will determine how much prescription medication for hypothyroidism you will need based on your blood tests.  ERFA Thyroid is a thyroid medication often prescribed. Made from desiccated thyroid, it is used to replace thyroid hormones in patients who have hypothyroidism, a condition in which the body’s thyroid gland doesn’t make enough.

How do I take ERFA Thyroid?

Most doctors will start patients off with a 60 mg dose daily to treat hypothyroidism.   After 4-6 weeks your doctor will do a blood test to determine how well you are responding to treatment and may increase or decrease the dose depending on symptoms or side effects.  Regular testing of thyroid hormone levels are done every few months.

This medication should be taken at the same time every day before eating unless ordered otherwise by your doctor.   This medication is usually taken lifelong.

Do not double up on doses if you miss a dose.

Do not dispose of this medication down the drain or in the toilet.

What are the side effects of ERFA Thyroid?

Some common side effects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Heat intolerance
  • Weight loss
  • Sweating

Speak to your pharmacist about other side effects you may encounter.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnoses or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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