A popular drug to help seniors with their thyroid may be putting their health at greater risk. Doctors said elderly patients maybe taking a drug that’s not actually needed.
Thyroid medication is the most commonly prescribed drug in the U.S. also may be one of the most overprescribed for older individuals. Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist Dr. Robert Smallridge told us about 40% of patients on thyroid medication in the United States are not taking the right dose. He says roughly 25 million individuals are taking one form or another of thyroid medication.
“The thyroid controls almost every system in our body,” said Smallridge.
Doctors explained its important patient’s alert their physician if there are no changes after taking this medication. This way there is a plan to try and figure out the root of the reoccurring symptoms.
“I look at the average patient list and they are on 10 different medications and you look at the side effects of those medications,” said Smallridge.
Most medications side effects are weight gain, sleepiness, and lack of energy, which all coincides as symptoms of not having a working thyroid gland to regulate the body’s energy and metabolism.
Smallridge told us those who are getting too much thyroid medication and particularly older individuals can be potentially harmful.
“We are concerned about too much thyroid medication, and in the right amount there should be no side effects at all,” said Smallridge.
Using models, Smallridge showed us that a healthy thyroid is shaped like butterfly wings. He said its vital elderly patients have follow ups with their doctor to review their thyroid medication.
He also told us the best way to learn if you have a hormone imbalance is to get a lab test.
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