Cytomel is a brand name version of the hormone replacement drug liothyronine, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1956 and produced by Pfizer, Inc.
Cytomel is a synthetic medication which is primarily prescribed to treat hypothyroidism, the condition of an underactive thyroid gland and chronically low levels of thyroid hormone. A person of any age or gender can suffer from hypothyroidism, though it is most common in middle-aged and older women. Some studies have estimated that 1 in 4 people over the age of 60 likely suffer from hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by disease, damage or injury to the thyroid gland, or by natural processes. It can be congenital, and in the UK all babies are tested for hypothyroidism at 5 days old with a heel prick test. Some medications or surgical procedures may result in hypothyroidism. The symptoms vary by age group and can range from mild to severe. It is likely that many adults go undiagnosed with hypothyroidism because the symptoms appear gradually and are easily mistaken for the natural consequences of aging.
In adults, symptoms of hypothyroidism can include tiredness, low mood, anxiety, mental fog, muscle weakness, trouble sleeping, sensitivity to cold, constipation, weight gain, thin hair, dry skin, shortness of breath, heavy menstruation in women, memory loss, and low sex drive.
In adolescents, symptoms of hypothyroidism can include short stature and stunted growth, slow mental development, delayed physical reactions, weight gain, thin hair, and late puberty.
In infants, symptoms of hypothyroidism can include regular choking, jaundice, constipation, and a puffy or swollen face.
Cytomel works by replenishing the body’s natural levels of T3 hormone. It is less often prescribed than levothyroxine due to its increased side effects and shorter active time span, but it may be the more appropriate medication for some patients. Once prescribed hormone replacement medication, it must usually be taken for life. However, with proper use of medication, people who suffer from hypothyroidism can lead full, active lives.
Cytomel has additional uses beyond the treatment of hypothyroidism. It is sometimes used to test for thyroid function levels and diagnose hyperthyroidism, the condition of an overactive thyroid gland and too much thyroid hormone in the body. It may also be used as a supplementary treatment for thyroid cancer, to treat thyroid issues such as goitres, or as an infertility treatment where infertility is caused by low levels of thyroid hormone. Cytomel may also be prescribed to combat certain kinds of depression.
If you have been diagnosed with low levels of thyroid hormone, or suspect you may suffer from relevant symptoms, consult your doctor about which medication will be best for you. Some lifestyle changes, including tailored diets, exercise, and meditation, may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but cannot replace proper medical treatment.
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