How I Feel About Thyroid Patients Self-Sourcing Medication

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All around the world, there are people with hypothyroidism who source their own medication. 

And I know that many other thyroid advocates state they don’t agree with patients self-sourcing medication, in order to protect themselves, but I’m an advocate who has to self source my own thyroid medication. Unlike many other thyroid advocates who live in a country where Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication is more openly prescribed (such as the US), I live in the UK where it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to have any doctor be willing to prescribe it and even know how to use it. Just to clarify, it can be prescribed on the NHS but most doctors refuse due to its complicated history and not being trained in how to use it.

Like many of the thyroid patients who follow my blog and thyroid journey, I am not lucky enough to have a private doctor who will prescribe it for me. And again, this is where so many other thyroid advocates are incredibly lucky. Because they do have that option. But they miss that this just isn’t an option for so many regular folk.

And so of course I don’t blame any patient who has to self-source their thyroid medication because I know it’s not a choice for many of us who just need to keep our jobs, a roof over our heads and address the mental health effects poor treatment has on us. Because for me, without the medication the need to feel well, I wouldn’t be able to work or function like any other human being and I know this from before I had NDT medication.

Yes, we accept the ‘dangers’ associated with self-sourcing medication, but we often have no choice. For me, it was either act on my suicidal thoughts and feelings or self-source the medication I needed to get better, that doctors were refusing me. It’s a last resort when the medical system has hugely failed us and for many it’s not something they’re even comfortable doing, but do it just to keep themselves alive.

Oh how I wish a doctor would prescribe it for me and know how to manage me on it!

How is it OK that so many thyroid patients are denied the medication they need to function properly, so they take to self-sourcing it, in order to get better?

How is it OK that just as many thyroid patients aren’t comfortable self-sourcing the thyroid medication they need (which is completely understandable), so they remain very unwell without it?

We require adequate thyroid hormone for every cell and every function in the body, yet many of us are denied adequate hormone replacement when we present with low thyroid levels and standard T4 medication doesn’t help.

We’re either left without medication because doctors are going by wide, outdated ranges, or  on medication that doesn’t make us feel better and leaves levels below optimal (free t3 and free t4 in particular).

Put simply: there is no ‘one size fits all’ medicine for hypothyroidism and the wide reference ranges on tests are inadequate at properly treating people. If they weren’t, so many people wouldn’t be self-sourcing medication, would they?

It’s appalling that all over the world, incredibly unwell people get to the point where they feel that their only option to getting better and being able to function like other members of society, is to source the medication doctors refuse them. Lives are shattered and devastated, jobs affected, divorces served and relationships damaged from the strains of this chronic illness and people left very mentally and physically unwell from the lack of proper Hypothyroidism treatment and management. How is this OK?


It’s also crucial that I express here just how important it is to always try and obtain thyroid medication, even NDT, via prescription from a doctor. Self-sourcing and especially self-medicating brings with it a lot of risks and dangers. Having an open and trusting relationship with your doctor who monitors you closely is the most ideal way to go about using any medication you may have sourced yourself and self-sourcing medication should be a last resort.

My GP has supported me in self-sourcing my NDT for the past three years and monitors me closely.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

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Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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Rachel Hill, Thyroid Patient Expert and Advocate, blogger and author, has Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, with relevant qualifications and certificates in Diet and Nutrition, whilst also currently studying  Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.

One thought on “How I Feel About Thyroid Patients Self-Sourcing Medication

  1. Totally agree, patients often have no choice. The problems with diagnosis in the UK are a huge hurdle, and then treatment is the next ridiculous obstacle; as a last resort, too many are sadly having to go elsewhere and purchase online, but that’s better than the alternative of struggling along mentally and physically without help from those who should be helping their patients. Great post that’s incredibly on-point as always, Rachel.x

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