Thyroid Levels & Lithium
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Q:  Thyroid Levels & Lithium

my name is J', im biopolar, ive been on litheum for 18 yrs now, and it has been a wonder drug, now theres something wrong with my thyroid, my nu# in june was .03 and in july 41.6, it is not that high in my blood, or (system), the doctor said, there was a cloud between my brain and ( i think pulmary gland) he thinks the litheum is the cause, but he does not want to take me off litheum as yet, i fear i will go into another espoid if i go off litheum, but of couse i sure dont want a brain tumor,  but i guess ifs its there ,there,s nothing i can do now. every one including my doctor says they have never heard of this, they want me to wait till the end of aug. to have another ths, and something to do with my brain, i must tell you im getting wired over this, patence was never my virture, would you please send me your opioion,  i need to know some advice...

sincerly yours

Dear Ms. J' -- 
Not sure myself what's going on here, but if I've got the story right, you went from normal thyroid to very "hypothyroid" (TSH of 41.6) in a very short period of time.  I wonder if the doc had some suspicions because he did a second test only a month after the first. 

In any case, as you've probably learned, lithium is known to interfere quite often (most studies give a figure of about 1 person in 10, but that number is higher in women and people with a family history of thyroid problems).  As you've probably also learned, usually this is not a huge problem as you can be given thyroid hormone  to replace what you can't make while continuing the lithium.  In the long run I suspect that for some people it's not that simple, but for the majority of patients taking lithium who become hypothyroid, this seems to work out fine.  

For more on the relationship of thyroid and bipolar, try that link.  In the meantime, it definitely makes sense to first repeat the test before launching off on treatment, given how fast that shift took place.  I hope things make more sense soon. 

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2004


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