Originally published on 20th May 2016 Last updated on 2nd July 2019
I have a thyroid joke that I and a friend (who also has hypothyroidism), created. I think it’s genius.
“How did they treat hypothyroidism in the old days?
Better than they do now!
If you don’t understand why it’s funny, it’s because the thyroid medication mostly prescribed now, T4-only ones such as Levothyroxine and Synthroid, do not help every thyroid patient to return back to good health. In Thyroid UK’s survey in 2015, they found that it only provided complete relief of hypothyroid symptoms to just 7% of people. 
A study from 2018 also showed that Levothyroxine was associated with a lower quality of life in those with Hypothyroidism. 
Yet it’s the only medication routinely prescribed here in the UK and as a result, many people have to go private for another type of medication or even buy their own thyroid medication, to get their lives back.
Back in the ‘old days’, as in over a hundred years ago, the standard hypothyroidism medication was actually Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT). The success rate was very high, and as such, people these days often make the switch from their T4-only meds to an NDT medication and do much better on it. The problem is that most doctors either don’t know about it or do, but don’t want to prescribe it for one of many reasons.
You can read more on the history of NDT medication here.
So Is NDT the Best Thyroid Medication?
The best thyroid medicine is the one that works best for you. We’re all different.
Some thyroid patients feel good on T4-only medication, but others need a different type.
If you are not feeling well despite being on thyroid medication, it could be because your test results are in the “normal” range but not at the “optimal” level for you.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
Do you feel best on NDT medications? Or do you take something else?
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.