British Thyroid Doc Does About Face on Issue of T3 Treatment
Treatment of Hypothyroidism is About to Come Full Circle” Says Anthony Toft
It would appear that the treatment of hypothyroidism is about to come full circle...This is a dramatic departure from Toft’s editorial, in the February 11, 1999 isssue of the New England Journal of Medicine, titled "Thyroid Hormone Replacement — One Hormone or Two?" This editorial accompanied the groundbreaking research published in that same issue of the journal that found that the majority of patients feel best with the addition of T3, findings which were controversial to endocrinologists, but already well-known to patients and holistic thyroid experts. In his editorial, Toft claimed that one of the reasons physicians should not add the T3 hormone to the treatment until study findings are confirmed by additional research, was, as he claimed:
...most, if not all, of the currently available combined preparations of thyroid hormones contain an excess of triiodothyronine as compared with thyroxine.To say that this was a reason not to advocate the use of T3 was highly illogical. It is true that Thyrolar and the natural desiccated T4/T3 products (such as Armour and Naturethroid) have a higher percentage of T3 than that used by the researchers in their study. But Cytomel, a T3-only drug, was and is readily available, and compounding pharmacies almost anywhere can easily prepare time-released T3.
In his editorial, Toft also claimed that the desiccated thyroid extracts were “considered obsolete for some time by all but a few practitioners, who are often thought by their colleagues to be practicing on the fringes of medicine.”
Toft also argued that the majority of patients taking thyroxine "have no complaints about their medication." Here, Toft was actually directly contradicting the findings of iresearch conducted by the Thyroid Foundation of America that showed that the majority of post-Graves' disease hypothyroid patients still suffered a variety of symptoms when on levothyroxine.
Until this seeming reversal of his previous opinions, Dr. Toft has been a quite active proponent of the "normal range constitutes treatment" philosophy of hypothyroid management that has left so many countless millions of patients undiagnosed, undertreated, or maltreated.
It’s encouraging to see that someone who was so clearly not in tune with the needs of thyroid patients has “seen the light” so to speak, and realizes that sometimes, patients do know best, and that some of the best patient care may actually be taking place on the “fringes of medicine!”
Toft, Anthony. “T3/T4 combination therapy,” Endocrine Abstracts , 3 S40, http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0003/ea0003s40.htm
Toft, Anthony, MD. "Thyroid Hormone Replacement — One Hormone or Two?" New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 340:468-470 February 11, 1999 Number 6.
Bunevicius, et. al., "Effects of Thyroxine as Compared with Thyroxine plus Triiodothyronine in Patients with Hypothyroidism" New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 340: February 11, 1999 Number 6. (For more information, read: T3 Triiodothyronine Drugs Improve Quality of Life for Hypothyroidism.