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Obesity and Weight Management

Weight loss and thyroid medication

10/18/2005

Question:

I am currently under the care of a physician who is guiding me with my weight loss program. I had a thyroid function lab test that came back within the normal range and he is suggesting for me to go on a thyroid medication to help improve my weight loss. Can this permanently damage my thyroid?

Answer:

There is no good evidence to support the use of thyroid hormone for weight loss or the treatment of obesity in a person with normal functioning thyroid. Thyroid hormone is ineffective for weight reduction in a person with a normal functioning thyroid. Taking thyroid medication when the thyroid function is normal can cause potentially life threatening toxicity. I recommend that you talk further with your doctor. The best method for weight loss is still to reduce your calorie intake and increase your physical activity.

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Response by:

Esa M Davis, MD, MPH Esa M Davis, MD, MPH
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University