The feature article details how ThyroidChange was born from patient suffering. Bickford, like countless thyroid patients, believed that her lingering hypothyroid symptoms were not related to her "thyroid" because her TSH was normal, thanks to Synthroid, a T4-only thyroid medication that is most commonly prescribed. After 24 years of diagnosed thyroid disease, she discovered treatment options beyond T4-only. Bickford encountered many patients suffering similarly via social media and she wrote the petition in an effort to enumerate the gravity of the situation. Denise Rodriguez, a thyroid patient from TN who Michelle met online in a support forum, edited the petition and helped to guide its overwhelming success. Together, Denise and Michelle founded ThyroidChange knowing that thyroid patients were suffering and strength is in numbers. ThyroidChange, itself, is evidence that TSH-only lab testing and T4-only treatment is insufficient for many people and research supports our claims.
Dr. Ridha Arem tells Levy of thyroid patient suffering and the need for patient access to T4/T3 combination therapy. He endorses compounded, personalized amounts of T4 and T3 for the individual patient. His book published in 1999, Thyroid Solution, details post-thyroid physiology and how increasing numbers of patients need T3 hormone replacement therapy. Personalized combination therapy is an option that most thyroid patients are denied.
Dr. Mark Wiesen, Chief of Endocrinology at Hackensack University Medical Center, explains how the symptoms of hypothyroidism are common. He suggests that a patient displaying symptoms just needs an adjustment of their T4 dose. Dr. Wiesen, sadly, seems to not be aware of the latest research suggesting that patients prefer combination therapy to T4-only treatment.
Dr. Rhoda Cobin, who co-authored the AACE/ATA treatment guidelines for hypothyroidism, calls natural thyroid extract impure which is commonly known as untrue in our community. The American Thyroid Association just posted this article which clearly states that natural thyroid is a viable treatment option and preferred by patients. The official website for Naturethroid, a brand of NTE, states the following: "All prescription thyroid medications, natural or synthetic, must adhere to stringent pharmaceutical standards and processes established by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the FDA. Nature-Throid has never been recalled for inconsistent hormone levels, unlike many of the synthetic thyroid medications on the market today."
We are excited that our message is being heard. We cannot thank Nicole Levy or Elyse Toribio, reporters from The Record, enough for pursuing our story.