Cytomel is a brand-name medicine which is used to treat low levels of thyroid hormone, a condition known as hypothyroidism. It consists of the prescription drug liothyronine, which is a synthetic (man-made) hormone which replenishes the body’s natural levels of thyroid hormone. It is available in generic form.
If you want to get specific, the thyroid gland produces two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Both have the same effect on the body, but T3 is more potent and has a greater impact per mg. Cytomel is a synthetic version of the T3 hormone.
Cytomel, as manufactured by Pfizer, Inc., was granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1956.
Treatment of Hypothyroidism
The primary function of Cytomel is to treat low levels of thyroid hormone in the body as caused by an underactive thyroid gland. This condition is called hypothyroidism and can occur naturally when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, or as a result of damage to the thyroid gland by radiation or some medications. Proper levels of thyroid hormone are essential for the physical and mental wellbeing of adults, as well as the healthy growth and development of children.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following: fatigue, lethargy, weakness, weight gain, aversion to cold, hair loss, dry skin or hair, aching muscles, constipation, low sex drive, disrupted menstrual cycles, memory loss, and mood swings.
The only accurate method of diagnosing hypothyroidism is through a thyroid function test, performed on a blood sample. Anyone can suffer from hypothyroidism, including men, women, and children. In the UK, all babies are tested for congenital hypothyroidism using a blood spot test at 5 days old.
Cytomel treats hypothyroidism by replenishing the body’s levels of T3 hormone. Treatment with hormone replacement tablets like Cytomel is usually life-long. However, with treatment through a drug such as Cytomel, people with hypothyroidism can live healthy, normal lives.
Besides hypothyroidism, Cytomel can also be used to treat related thyroid issues such as goitres or an enlarged thyroid gland, and as a supplementary treatment for thyroid cancer. It can be used as a diagnostic tool when testing for hyperthyroidism, and as a fertility treatment when infertility is specifically linked to low levels of thyroid hormone. Further, it is sometimes prescribed as part of treatment for some kinds of depression.
It is inadvisable to take any medicines without first being diagnosed and prescribed by a doctor. It is also important to check with a doctor before switching brands of a given medicine.
Current advice is that Cytomel may be taken during pregnancy. It is still advisable to consult a doctor if taking Cytomel when pregnant or before considering breastfeeding.
When taking any medication, you should familiarise yourself with possible side effects – for example, Cytomel may result in temporary hair loss, especially in children.
If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism or a related condition, discuss Cytomel with your doctor. If you have already been prescribed, then for Cytomel click here.