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Read This Before You Abruptly Stop Taking Your Thyroid Medication

Most people visiting this website are looking for a natural solution to their hyperthyroid or hypothyroid condition.  And of course my goal as a holistic doctor is to try to help people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions restore their health naturally.  However, I also frequently state how I don’t recommend for people to abruptly stop taking their thyroid medication.  This of course applies to both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions.

Hyperthyroidism & Graves’ Disease: For people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease, it can be very important to continue taking antithyroid drugs and/or beta blockers to manage the symptoms.  Many people I consult with become disappointed when I tell them not to abruptly stop taking their medication.  Some were hoping I would tell them the opposite, and to stop taking their medication immediately.  From a liability standpoint I would never tell any patient to stop taking their medication.  But besides the legalities involved, I do think it’s important for some people to take the antithyroid drugs.

This might make me sound like a hypocrite, as I didn’t take any antithyroid medication when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease.  However, even though I admit it was a risk not doing this, I didn’t consider my cardiac symptoms to be too severe.  My pulse rate averaged between 90 and 100 beat per minute, and occasionally was higher than this, which were definitely higher than my “normal” pulse rate, which was usually in the mid 60s.  But I never considered my condition to be life threatening, which isn’t the case with some other people who have a hyperthyroid condition.

On the other hand, someone with a pulse rate greater than 120 beats per minute is on the higher end.  This doesn’t mean that someone with a pulse rate less than this should stop taking the antithyroid drugs, as this really is only something the person can decide to do on their own.  Besides, someone with an underlying heart condition can be at risk even with a heart rate of 90 beats per minute.  Just keep in mind that it takes time for a natural treatment protocol to kick in.  So what many people choose to do is continue taking the antithyroid drugs while at the same time begin the natural treatment protocol, and then will eventually wean off the prescription drugs (preferably under the supervision of their medical doctor).

Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Most of these people are of course taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone to manage their symptoms.  While it usually isn’t as risky for people taking thyroid hormone to abruptly stop, it still isn’t advised.  This is especially true if you’re hypothyroid because you had a partial thyroidectomy or received RAI, as while there still is a chance of restoring your thyroid health back to normal, it is more challenging in these cases.  So the best approach is to begin the natural treatment protocol, and if this protocol is effective the person can then begin weaning off the thyroid hormone (also under the guidance of their medical doctor of course).

But even if the person hasn’t had surgery performed or received RAI, they still shouldn’t abruptly stop taking their thyroid medication.  Just as is the case with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease, it will take time for the natural treatment methods to take effect.  As I’ve stated numerous times in past posts and articles, many of these hypothyroid conditions are caused by weakened adrenal glands.  And even though the adrenal glands are usually quick to respond once someone begins a natural treatment protocol, it still does take some time to restore their health.

When Can Someone Stop Taking Their Thyroid Medication?

There is no exact answer to this question, as it really depends on the individual.  As I mentioned earlier, not everyone can stop taking their thyroid medication.  Many people are ready to begin weaning off their thyroid medication one or two months after beginning a natural treatment protocol.  For others, it might take a little longer than this.  And as I’ve already brought up, I don’t ever tell a person to begin weaning off their thyroid medication, as people really should consult with their medical doctor, although many doctors won’t be receptive to natural treatment methods.  As a result, many people end up weaning themselves off the thyroid medication once they begin experiencing the benefits of a natural treatment protocol.

Can One Use Supplements Or Herbs To Manage The Symptoms Instead Of The Medication?

There are certain herbs people with these conditions can take to manage the symptoms.  However, it is completely up to the person whether they want to substitute one or more herbs for the medication.  For example, with hyperthyroid conditions the herbs Bugleweed and Motherwort frequently do a good job of managing the symptoms.  But besides these herbs taking some time to kick in, they don’t always manage the symptoms as well as the prescription drugs.  With hypothyroid conditions, a combination of Bladderwrack and Ashwaganda may take the place of synthetic or natural thyroid hormone in some individuals.  But once again, it takes time for this to work, and these herbs aren’t effective substitutes in everyone with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

In summary, people with hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions shouldn’t abruptly stop taking their medication, mainly because there is always some risk involved when doing this.  Although the ultimate goal of a natural treatment protocol is to restore the person’s health back to normal, this typically is a slow process, taking at least a few weeks before the person begins feeling better, and a few months before significant changes take place.  While many people understandably want to stop taking their thyroid medication immediately, the best approach is to begin the protocol and then begin to gradually wean off the thyroid medication under the supervision of a medical doctor.