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June 26, 2023 10 min read

Have you been feeling like you're stuck on thyroid medication for a very long time? Are you tired of taking pills every day and want to explore natural alternatives? In this article, we'll talk about how you can get off thyroid medication naturally and keep your thyroid function healthy. We'll cover the causes of hypothyroidism, why some people don't need thyroid medications, and different natural remedies that can be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

What is thyroid hormone replacement medication, and what is it used for?

Thyroid hormone replacement medication is a type of medication used to treat hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid. Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. It produces important hormones that control your metabolism, energy levels, and overall bodily function.

You may have heard that there are two important forms of thyroid hormone: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are like the boss of your body; not only do they control your metabolism, but also your blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and even your brain function. They're basically in charge of ensuring every cell and organ in your body is running smoothly. That's why when your thyroid gland isn't producing enough hormones, it can wreck your body and cause symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, low libido, and depression.

A pharmacist

Thyroid hormone replacement medication works by providing the hormones that the thyroid is not producing naturally, thus restoring levels to normal. It's like giving your thyroid function a little extra boost to help it do its job. It's important to note, however, that thyroid hormone replacement medication is not a cure for hypothyroidism. That's because this condition is often a life-long issue.

Instead, thyroid hormone replacement therapy helps balance your thyroid hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, which in turn ease your thyroid symptoms and increase low thyroid function. But when you stop taking it, your hypothyroid symptoms might come back.

The type of thyroid hormone replacement medication

There are numerous thyroid hormone replacement medications, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Here are the types of thyroid hormone replacement medications:


Levothyroxine is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone T4. It's manmade, meaning it was made in a lab and designed to mimic the effects of the T4 hormone that your thyroid gland normally produces.


Another option is liothyronine, a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. This medication is used for patients who don't respond to levothyroxine well. It's also sometimes used in conjunction with levothyroxine. However, it's not as common as T4-only medications.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT)

Natural desiccated thyroid, more commonly called NDT, is a type of thyroid hormone replacement medication derived from pig thyroid glands. Therefore, it's considered natural. NDT contains both T4 and T3 thyroid hormones, so it's more similar to the hormones naturally produced by your thyroid gland. Many hypothyroid patients claimed that NDT provides better relief from hypothyroidism symptoms compared to T4- or T3-only medications. It's also a great choice for patients who prefer a more natural approach to their treatment.

Is it possible to stop taking thyroid medication?

The possibility of stopping your prescription thyroid medications depends on your specific condition.

Suppose you've been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and have been taking thyroid hormone medication for some time. Working closely with your doctor to ensure the thyroid medication effectively manages your symptoms is important. In most cases, if you stop your thyroid medication abruptly, symptoms of hypothyroidism will likely return.

If your hypothyroidism is left untreated, it can lead to negative symptoms such as mood swings, slowed thoughts, and irritability. Additionally, according to a study, hypothyroidism is one of the causes of serious health problems such as dementia.

Another study also shows that if you don't have enough thyroid hormones in your body for a long time, you could develop a dangerous condition called myxedema coma. This severe condition can be fatal if not treated on time.

The best way to know if you can stop taking the meds is by getting thyroid lab tests, which may include a thyroid-stimulating (TSH) test and a Free T4 test. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland, which is located in your brain. It stimulates the production of thyroid hormones.

If you have too little TSH circulating in your bloodstream, it may indicate hyperthyroidism. On the contrary, if there's too much present, then it may indicate hypothyroidism.

You want to ensure that you have your thyroid levels tested both before and after discontinuing your medication. One study shows that it's possible to stop taking thyroid medication if your thyroid hormone level is just slightly off; this is best — you're hoping for something in the optimal thyroid level range.

Why do some people not actually need thyroid medication?

If you have true hypothyroidism, taking thyroid medication is the right course of action. However, many people who take thyroid medication don't actually have the condition. They only take it because of misinformation circulating online and in certain medical fields. This means that some people may be taking medication unnecessarily. 

Here is the list of patients who might not need thyroid hormone replacement therapy:

1. You have subclinical hypothyroidism

Subclinical hypothyroidism is a condition in which you have normal thyroid hormone production (normal thyroid hormone level), but your thyroid THS levels are elevated. So, it's not as severe as full-blown hypothyroidism, but it can still cause symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.

Now, here's the thing, when it comes to subclinical hypothyroidism, there's a lot of debate about whether or not it needs to be treated with medication. Unfortunately, some practitioners are quick to prescribe thyroid hormone replacement for even the slightest hint of an issue, even when the results of thyroid function tests are good enough.

That's why some people may take thyroid medication even when they don't need it, which may lead to hyperthyroidism. This is what we call overmedication, and it's a real concern regarding subclinical hypothyroidism. Because the truth is, most people with this condition don't need medication. They can manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes like exercise and a healthy diet.

2. You have Hashimoto's thyroiditis without hypothyroidism

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. It's the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. However, not everyone with Hashimoto's thyroiditis has hypothyroidism. In this case, doctors will likely choose to monitor your thyroid health instead of recommending you take thyroid hormone replacement medication.

3. You are taking it for weight loss purposes

Have you ever heard of people taking thyroid medication to lose weight, even when they don't have hypothyroidism? It's not uncommon, but it's not a good idea.

Thyroid hormones play a big role in regulating your metabolism, so it's not surprising that some people think taking medication will help them lose weight. But the truth is taking thyroid medication when you don't have hypothyroidism can be dangerous. It can lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland produces too much hormone and become overactive thyroid. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, and nervousness. It can also lead to serious health problems like osteoporosis and heart disease.

So, if you're thinking about taking thyroid medication to lose weight, it's essential to understand the risks. It's always best to work with a doctor to understand your condition and the underlying causes of weight gain and explore other options like a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes before considering taking medication.

4. You are taking thyroid medication to improve fertility

Sometimes, doctors may prescribe/recommend thyroid medication to help women improve fertility and get pregnant, but there's no evidence that supports this claim.

Fertility can be affected by many different things, and sometimes thyroid disease can play a role. But just because you're having trouble getting pregnant doesn't necessarily mean your thyroid is the problem. Before starting any medication, getting a proper diagnosis and understanding the underlying cause of your fertility issues is important.

Why shouldn't you stop thyroid medication suddenly?

Stopping thyroid medication suddenly is not a good option.

If you have hypothyroidism, taking thyroid medication for the rest of your life is important to keep your symptoms in check and your energy levels up. It may be tempting to stop taking the medication when you start feeling better, but it can lead to serious health problems.

Thyroid hormones are crucial for your body to function properly. When you stop taking your medication suddenly, it can disrupt the balance of hormones in your body, causing your levels to drop too low and bringing back unpleasant symptoms. You may initially feel tired and have a low mood, but the longer you avoid the medication, the worse your symptoms will get. Additionally, low thyroid hormone levels can make any existing health conditions you may have worse, such as depression and sleep apnea.

How can you stop taking thyroid medication safely?

Stopping thyroid medication safely requires close monitoring and guidance from a healthcare professional. To help you, here are some steps you can take:

Gradually lower your doses

Gradual dose reduction is the process of slowly decreasing the thyroid medication dose over time. It typically involves reducing the dose of medication by a small amount every few weeks or months, depending on the individual and the type of medication. This allows the body to adjust slowly to the lower hormone levels, reducing the risk of serious side effects.

Expect to feel some symptoms

When you lower the dose of your thyroid medication, you may experience some side effects. These side effects can vary depending on the individual and the rate of dose reduction. Here are some of the side effects you may experience:

  • Fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Weight gain

  • Constipation

  • Irregular periods

  • Hair loss

  • Anxiety.

  • Heat intolerance

  • Muscle weakness.

Monitor your symptoms

When you lower the dose of your thyroid medication, it's important to monitor your symptoms closely. This will help you and your doctor understands how your body responds to the lower dose and whether or not any adjustments need to be made.

Check your thyroid levels regularly

During the process of gradual dose reduction, you need to monitor your thyroid function regularly to ensure your levels stay within a safe range. Because your doctor may need to adjust your dose or recommend other treatments to manage your symptoms.

Have your doctor on board

When you lower the dose of your thyroid medication, it's important to have your doctor on board. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of stopping the medication and determine if it's safe for you. They can also safely guide you through tapering off the medication and monitor your progress.

Accept that it might not be the time to stop

If you feel worse after stopping the medication, maybe it's time to accept that stopping your medication is not the best idea, despite your desire to do so. Also, don't hesitate to return to thyroid medication if you feel it is necessary; it is all about finding the right balance for your body and overall well-being.

What if you're truly hypothyroid but want to stop taking thyroid medication?

If you're truly hypothyroid and want to stop taking thyroid medication, you need to note that stopping thyroid medication abruptly can lead to serious health risks. It's important to ask yourself why you want to stop taking the medication. Remember, you need it for survival - so there's no compelling reason to avoid the meds if you have an underactive thyroid. Here are some solutions you can consider instead of stopping your meds:

1. You don't feel better - adjust your dose or Switch your meds

Be patient. If you've taken thyroid medication for several weeks and don't feel better, it's important to talk to your doctor. They may recommend adjusting your dosage or switching to a different type of medication. For example, levothyroxine to NDT.

If you're considering switching to NDT, it's important to know that it may not be as easily accessible as other thyroid medications. Finding a doctor who will prescribe NDT can sometimes take time and can be challenging as well. However, there are still options available for you.

One such alternative is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid supplement you can buy online. It contains Thyroid (USP), a commonly prescribed NDT medication like Armor Thyroid. It's also lactose and gluten-free, free of shellfish, fish, and eggs, making it effective in treating hypothyroidism symptoms and safe for those with common food allergies.

2. You feel worse - adjust your dose or switch your meds

If you're taking thyroid hormone medication, your body starts to feel worse instead of feeling better. This is a sign for you to consult with your doctor. They may take blood tests, check your thyroid levels, and recommend adjusting your dosage according to your results. If you continue to feel worse, they may adjust your dosage again until you find the right dose for your body.

3. You keep missing your dose

Missing doses of your thyroid medication can significantly impact your symptoms and overall health. If you're having trouble remembering to take your meds, several strategies may help. 

One strategy is setting reminders on your phone or using a pillbox with compartments for each day of the week. This can help you track when you need to take your medication. Another strategy is to try and take your medication at the same time every day, for example, 60 minutes before breakfast or before bed, at least 3 hours after dinner. This can help make it a part of your daily routine and make it easier to remember.

What is thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW)?

If you have thyroid cancer, your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop your thyroid hormone medication for about 4 to 6 weeks. This is a process known as thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW). The process is used to obtain a high level of TSH, which is required for radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation and/or diagnostic testing to detect remaining, recurring, or metastatic thyroid cancer.

Conclusion: Stopping your thyroid medication suddenly is not recommended

In conclusion, it's important to understand that stopping thyroid medication should not be taken lightly. It's a serious decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. There are many reasons why someone may want to stop taking thyroid medication, but it's important to remember that the consequences can be severe. Remember, without enough thyroid hormone, your body will not function properly. If you have hypothyroidism, taking thyroid medication is necessary for life and to keep your symptoms under control.

If you want to stop taking thyroid hormone replacement medication because your hypothyroidism symptoms persist or because you feel worse, it might be a good idea to switch your medication. Switching medications can be a great way to find the perfect fit for your body and give yourself some much-needed relief. There are a variety of options out there. One option is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online that contains T4 and T3 thyroid hormones.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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