The Problem With Synthroid

Inadequate treatment of hypothyroidism with drugs like Synthroid might leave you dealing with many problems, such as:

  • Less stamina than others
  • Less energy than others
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to hold children for very long
  • Arms feeling like dead weights after activity
  • Chronic Low Grade Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Often feeling cold
  • Cold hands and feet
  • High or rising cholesterol
  • Bizarre and Debilitating reaction to exercise
  • Hard stools
  • Constipation
  • No eyebrows or thinning outer eyebrows
  • Dry Hair
  • Hair loss
  • White hairs growing in
  • No hair growth, breaks faster than it grows
  • Dry cracking skin
  • Nodding off easily
  • Requires naps in the afternoon
  • Sleep Apnea (which can also be associated with low cortisol)
  • Air Hunger (feeling like you can’t get enough air)
  • Inability to concentrate or read long periods of time
  • Forgetfulness
  • Foggy thinking
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Always gaining weight
  • Inability to function in a relationship with anyone
  • NO sex drive
  • Moody periods
  • PMS
  • Inability to get pregnant; miscarriages
  • Excruciating pain during period
  • Nausea
  • Swelling/edema/puffiness
  • Aching bones/muscles
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bumps on legs
  • Acne on face and in hair
  • Breakout on chest and arms
  • Hives
  • Exhaustion in every dimension–physical, mental, spiritual, emotional
  • Inability to work full-time
  • Inability to stand on feet for long periods
  • Complete lack of motivation
  • Slowing to a snail’s pace when walking up slight grade
  • Extremely crabby, irritable, intolerant of others
  • Handwriting nearly illegible
  • Internal itching of ears
  • Broken/peeling fingernails
  • Dry skin or snake skin
  • Major anxiety/worry
  • Ringing in ears
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Inability to eat in the mornings
  • Joint pain
  • Carpal tunnel symptoms
  • No Appetite
  • Fluid retention to the point of Congestive Heart Failure
  • Swollen legs that prevented walking
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Varicose Veins
  • Dizziness from fluid on the inner ear
  • Low body temperature
  • Raised temperature
  • Tightness in throat; sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Allergies (which can also be a result of low cortisol–common with hypothyroid patients)
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Sore feet (plantar fascitis); painful soles of feet

47 responses to “The Problem With Synthroid

  1. Marge

    Over 6 yrs ago I was told I had hypothyroidism and have suffered from too many of the side effects listed here for synthroid esp the swollen legs that prevent me from walking. Cant take it anymore told dr to kill me or cure me and take all blood test possible to find cause. Still waiting for all results, he said it is a rheumatology problem and cant understand why the 2 rheu dr that I have gone to didnt see this -he suggested plaquenil and the side effects scare me. Any info would help.

    • Faye

      I am having so much pain and swelling in my legs that it is hard to function. Pain in my hip started in September – bursitis – very painful. Now, my hip is better – not completely – but better – but now I have the pain and swelling in my calves that makes it hard to walk. Trying to find out if the Synthroid is causing all these problems.

      • Marge

        I just got this post and was wondering if you ever got any answers for you swelling. I dont want to walk anymore.

  2. Cynthia H.

    Okay, it is NOT just ME. It is not my imagination. I am not crazy. As I read this list, part of my is crying, and part of myself is relieved to SEE it in writing – that I am not alone, that I have some sort of hope out of the mess of my health. And after being on Synthroid since 1993, I began having most of these symptoms this past year. I wanted to let others who read this know that this list is NOT an exaggeration. I have been using blue ice to get swollen glands down, and 3 doctors think that I AM NUTS. No, I am in pain, and finding NO ANSWERS so far, and NO HELP from medical community to end my pain, sleep loss, and deteriorating health.

    • lisa

      I agree with everything on this list. I have the majority of these complaints with the exception of constipation. I have constant diehrea. I finally talked my Dr. into starting me on Armour thyroid medication. I will start it this week. I hope and pray it works good for me. Synthroid just doesn’t agree with me but the doctors think it is the only drug thyroid patients can take. WRONG!!!!!!!!……..not every medicine agrees with every patient. We need OPTIONS!!!!!!!!

    • achoti

      I have all symptoms, even heart issues. I am 34 andd was in great shape. Took synthroid and cannot function. Sick of. This sh*t

  3. Jo

    I have almost all these symptoms, I have been on this medicine for 3 years, and I feel so bad but no one will help me. Doctor does not believe me. There has to be something better. Untill it kills me, I will just have to live like this I guess.

  4. Sherri

    I took Synthroid for several months, and I will never take it again. I felt so horrible on it that I wanted to die. I found a new doctor, one who actually listens to me and cares about her patients. She has put me on Armour Thyroid, and now I feel so much better.

    • Lori

      Sherri, if you are still on this forum, how did you end up doing on the Armour Thyroid? I am having pretty much every symptom listed from the Synthroid – especially the extreme fatigue, depression, suicidal thoughts because I don’t want to live on the couch forever, and now my hair is breaking off in sections after I had it highlighted, which I use to do every year. It was totally healthy prior to that, but now it’s horrifying me. I noticed immediately after starting Synthroid that my hair started falling out more, not in handfuls, but a lot left in the brush. I see my dr tomorrow Iendocrinologist) and he has got to do something for me! I was on the generic thyroid medication for the first 6 weeks and my tsh went up to a 1.9 (from a 0.005 prior to my TT) but my head went off the charts with the pain I experienced. I’m already on disability for debilitating migraines, but those things were not migraines, they did not respond to the migraine medication at all – just felt like an axe slamming my head over and over – I just sat with an ice pack and screamed, and I’m on morphine 2 x a day and it didn’t phase those headache issues. So I got on the Synthroid, and I still have head issues, not as severe, but daily migraines with a little extra pain that I can’t relieve. at times gets so severe they have to give me a shot to knock me out! So between the extreme fatigue, depression, hair issues, weight issues, and my headaches, I would love to know if there is any chance that the Armour Thyroid helped you! Please reply if you are stilll on this forum. Thank you, Lori

  5. Niki

    Synthroid for 5 yrs. due to iatrogenic hypothyroidism. Never felt good. Labs never right, ever! So many of the listed symptoms. 2012, stopped seeing endo, searched and found m.d. who prescribed, and takes, Nature-Throid. I’m getting back my life. Horror story with endo and synthyroid. CHECK ALL HORMONES BEFORE EVER CONSIDERING RADIATION FOR HYPERTHYROID, USING SALIVA TEST!!! If you’ve been suffering long, bet your adrenals are exhausted, RESEARCH. I did.

  6. Niki

    P.S. I read Dr. John R. Lees book regarding peri and post menopause, EXACTLY following his info, I put myself on natural progesterone cream (ProGest), minimal amount…bingo! reduction in symptoms. Went “natural’ after years of suffering. Besides, isn’t synthetic T4 a reverse T4, sorta like RT3? If thyroid doesn’t work at all GIVE THEM NATURAL T3, please.

  7. i have every problem on this list, i had thyroid cancer in 2010 they removed the total thyroid and 10 lympnodes. i feel worse now then i did with the thyroid and the cancer i know it seems strange to say that, but this problem is very debilitating i am so tired all the time and hurt all the time.

  8. Davinci

    32, male,
    Recently at work we had a heath exam with 12 hour fast. Numbers came back and my T4 was a 7.3 and my TSH was at 5.04. They told me to see a doctor as this is called subclinical hypothyroidism. So I went to the doctor and he put me on Synthroid. Before we go any further I never had bad allergies, scratchy eyes, or mild insomnia. Anyway after about one month of being on synthroid my eyes starting itching like crazy and I had a hard time sleeping, plus I gained five pounds. Went from 170 to 175. This ever happen to any of you guys?

    I called the doctor and he said take a couple weeks off synthroid to see if your symptoms clear up. I’m still waiting, it’s been 2 days. I think I should take one month off. After all that is how long it took to kick in with problems.

  9. Heidi

    My Mom, Grandpa and Aunt were all on Synthroid and have had many of these symptoms… even to the point where my Grandpa could hardly get out of bed. Now they are on Armour Thyroid and are doing excellent. Please research this for yourself but Armour is a natural thyroid medication and I have heard that it has been around for quite a long time. Hope this helps 🙂

  10. has anyone switched to dessicated thyroid, and did this change relieve any or all of the symptoms experienced, while on synthroid…?

  11. cat

    I’ve been taking synthroid for about 3 years now…almost immediately my nails started splitting and now I cannot grow them much past my fingertips before they split. Interestingly …the doctor does not seem to think it has anything to do with the synthroid…but in general, gives me a clean bill of health every year..

  12. lucy

    Been on synthroid for about two months. The nausea is overwhelming. I recently found out that one of the main ingredients is lactose. Being lactose intolerant its no wonder I feel so awful. Are these doctors idiots ? Do I have to be my own health care provider since none of them have a clue ? Disgusted.

  13. Right now at this very moment my ears are ringing so loud I can’t hear. The joint pain is so bad I can’t hardly walk. I asked the doctor if I could be allergic to synthroid and his reaction was to out me on pure synthroid. He turned his back and said he could do nothing else! I feel like screaming at this moment.

  14. snuggy1

    Just went for a blood test today. They pulled Levoxyl and they put me on Synthroid 3 months ago and I have almost every single symptom listed above now.They say the 2 medications are the same, I beg to differ. I have been on levoxyl for 13 years and had none of those symptoms. I hope my doctors can help me?

  15. Synthroid has nothing to do with rheumatoid. I need to know are you suffering from hypothyroid problems while taking synthroid and levethyroxine? You must complaine to FDA or no changes will be done. They are tweeking the medicine. Making it harder to obsorb. FDA!

  16. People! Complaine to FDA then they get enough people suffering and they will audit The entire thyroid companies! They are putting less thyroid hormone and more fillers and things probably for cost! Complaine to fda. I know! Please help support me so we can make a difference. Thanks kimi A

  17. abbvie and mylan are the companies> Mylan for levethyroxine. Abbvie for synthroid. They really are tweeking the medicine. You think you just fat because you have a thyroid problem. IT IS THE PILL BEING TWEEKED! every one complaining of thyroid fatness,tired anything that is related to thyroid

  18. As I was saying… sorry, any symptoms you are having is not YOU, it is the pill being ineffective. I promise you. Please no one is doing anything about it. But if everyone pays attention to your symptoms and complains, They will be audited and will have to prove their pill is potent. Call or look up FDA

  19. Camille Eppstein

    There is hope… there is an answer… go to learn why synthroid may not help some people. The solution is often that you cannot convert T4 (synthroid aka levothyroxine) which is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone to T3 which is the active form that your cells need in order to function properly. T3 is available by prescription but most doctors have been so brainwashed by big pharma that they believe that only T4 is the answer. There is hope… please do the research into T3 therapy… it saved my life.

  20. Are u serious ??? I have so many of these symptoms n problems ,,,wow

  21. Kim Wilde

    Hello. I have 32 of these symptoms and have been on syn thyroid for many years. Dr.s keep diagnosing me with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and depression. I take meds for all of these too plus pain killers. Sounds like I could use some help.

  22. Hello!

    Love your blog! I’m taking and not liking synthroid as a thyroid cancer survivor!

    Have you heard of our community ThyroidChange,, and our int’l thyroid patient petition for better care:

    In a little over a year, we have over 13,500 signatures from 120
    countries. We also have amazing support from the largest names in thyroid disease including well renowned physicians, Drs. Arem, Teitelbaum and Starr (just to name a few), notable individuals, i. e. Mary Murphy (TV judge of So You Think You Can Dance) and Missy Elliot (Grammy-Winning Musician), and fellow bloggers, Janie Bowthorpe (Stop the Thyroid Madness) and Mary Shomon ( (

    We are trying to unite all of the thyroid bloggers and websites
    to create the global network that can effect change. We would like your blog to join our community.

    There is no fee for listing on our website. We only ask in return that you could blog about our movement so your audience is given the opportunity to join our cause. We would also like to feature an original blog of your own on our blog feature:

    We were recently featured in both The Record, a north Jersey paper, and mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Here are links to those articles so you can get to know our community:

    Thank you in advance for your support.

    Michelene O’Neil

  23. I have been on synthroid and its’ generic since 2003. I have many of the symptoms on the list too. I knew there had to be some reason why I keep gaining weight but eating less and less. I have rash on my arms, hair breakage, scant eyebrows, facial breakouts, trouble sleeping/apnea, though I’m frequently tired & now need naps. Add to this osteoporosis and itchy ears & a few more items from the list, too numerous to list.

  24. Mary

    I have been on 0.025mg of Synthroid for 3 weeks now to shrink a benign nodule on my thyroid. In the past week, the ringing in my ears has become almost deafening. I am stopping this medication, calling my Dr and requesting something else. Anyone else experience non stop ear ringing on Synthroid?

    • I’ve been on a roller coaster seeing new doctors going from synthetic to natural thyroid meds for the last 9 years. Most recent gone from Armour to on Tirosint (T4 gelcap) and some Armour. Ears riinging gotten much worse. All of the Synthroid symptoms…I think it’s just synthetic T4 is the problem for most of us. I’ve tried all sorts of doses and combinantions, I’m now ready to settle with Armour 75…was on too much for a long time. God bless us all, I understand your suffering. I had Graves disease as a child and was thrown into this in my teens, been suffering all these years.

  25. Heidi

    I have been on Armour thyroid for almost 2 years now and it has been working wonderfully. I have no symptoms and feel great! I have had to fight tooth and nail for my doctor and endocrinologist to prescribe me Armour, but it was worth the fight. Three family members were taking Synthroid and had very bad reactions to it… they have all been on Armour now for many years and have no issues. I refuse to take Synthroid… not worth the risk, too many side effects.

  26. cat

    sure wish I could try Armour but I’ve been HBP meds for 2yrs now….although I am trying to get of THAT…I am considering Hypitrol…an alternative to the synthetic thyroid medicines

    • Barbara M Cox

      Are these Armour and hypitrol altnernates to sy nthroid and not have the same bad effects as synthroid? what can u do about the nail problems?

  27. Kristi

    No one is forcing anyone to take their meds. Most if not all of these symptoms are symtoms of being hypothyroid. Perhaps your drs are undertrained your symptoms or you should switch to an endocrinologist or see a really good internal medicine dr. Keep looking until you get relief. I would find a natural supplement to replace the synthroid med. if you feel like a med is killing you, stop taking it. Drs prescribe because we ask them for help. They don’t own our bodies and they really don’t care if we say we don’t like the med they give us. They are paid to do a job and they do it. Ultimately, taking ownership of our health is our job.

  28. Kristi

    No one is forcing anyone to take their meds. Most if not all of these symptoms are symtoms of being hypothyroid. Perhaps your drs are undertreated your symptoms or you should switch to an endocrinologist or see a really good internal medicine dr. Keep looking until you get relief. I would find a natural supplement to replace the synthroid med. if you feel like a med is killing you, stop taking it. Drs prescribe because we ask them for help. They don’t own our bodies and they really don’t care if we say we don’t like the med they give us. They are paid to do a job and they do it. Ultimately, taking ownership of our health is our job.

  29. Bri

    I have some many of these symptoms. I am only in my twenties, and had thyroid cancer in my late teens (twice!). I have been telling my doctor for years that I just don’t feel well. I have never, not even for one day, felt like my old energetic self, but up until now I was basically told it was psychological. With my parents disbelief and my doctor reiterating that I must be depressed, it has been hard to defend myself. I kept being told that Synthroid DOESNT HAVE SIDE EFFECTS. But with a recent dose change (the second in just over a year) I am back to feeling horrible, exhausted, sickly, weak, tingly all over (likely parathyroid problems), intolerance, moodiness, and overall unhappiness. I am so tired of feeling this way and am just grateful to have others recognize these feelings as real! I will be talking to my doctor, immediately!

  30. Carol grover

    Been on syn for 8 weeks. I have had swelling of my feet legs and fingers. I can’t stand it anymore.
    I am on 200 mg.Img.I think it’s too high but doctor says no. I can’t wear shoes! Please help.

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  34. Alison

    Synthroid…levothyroxine…Armour…didn’t matter, they all made me feel terrible. Every time my doc upped my dose, I felt depressed, lethargic, and in general very “off.” I had a drastic change in my right thumb nail, where the side of it very suddenly folded down in a right angle, making the nail break along the ridge. I gained weight vs. lose it. My sleeping pattern worsened instead of improving. The list goes on and on. After years of being on the stuff and doing enough research online (I’m also a Masters-prepared RN on a Nursing School Faculty), I finally decided to take myself off the medication entirely and take thyroid-supporting supplements. It’s been 8 months now, and I feel dramatically better! And weirdest of all, my right nail is finally returning to normal! And my blood work is almost normal again. I am taking Vitamin Shoppe’s Thyroid Complex, but there are others out there that are probably higher quality. But this is working great for me! I am SO glad I found this website! So validating!

  35. milly sorensen

    after 23years of synthroid took myself gradually off now not taking any synthroid no more fast heart rates or night sweats. physicians told me i could not stop facing death or coma. these threats must be written by the drug company.

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  38. Beth

    I have Hashimoto’s and I’ve had so many side effects on the list. I have never felt good on Synthroid or any other thyroid medication I’ve tried so far. I actually think I got a bad batch of Synthroid as I got some very strong/weird PMS symptoms that I haven’t had in over a year. I was told I am post menopausal so these are strange symptoms to have. These are symptoms I’ve had when I’ve missed taking my thyroid meds in the past. Severe migraines, breast tenderness, bloating, cramping, mentruation, severe irritability and depression. Severe fatigue, yet can’t sleep at night. Itchiness and rash. It’s like I am taking a lower dose or a placebo.
    Chronic dry eyes and skin, hair is thin/falling out, turning white. And I’m young! Can’t lose weight no matter how much I’ve exercised and I’m a jogger.
    In researching for recalls for Synthroid, I ran into a thyroid drug called Tirosint. It is a gel capsule and each pill is packaged individually. It has no fillers, dyes etc. I’ve been seeing people saying great things about it saying their side effects went away and they feel so much better. There are reviews online and there’s a Facebook page where people havd given their experiences on it and it has been overwhelmingly good. I am going to see my endocrinologist in a few days and ask her about this medication and see if she’ll switch me. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I feel like dying a slow, painful, depressing death on this stuff. I need to find something that works. This just isn’t it.

  39. Marge

    I posted on this website in 2010 and for whatever reasons I just got replies. I am still suffering and can get no answers from so called medical professionals. I am wondering if anyone here got any help. I hope I don’t have to wait another five years for your replies

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