By PAIGE WINFIELD CUNNINGHAM
When patients are diagnosed, they typically are given a single hormone replacement called levothyroxine. It is effective with about 90 percent of patients, according to Hossein Gharib, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic and former president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
But for the 10 percent of patients who don't find relief from their symptoms, doctors often prescribe a combination hormone therapy such as Armour Thyroid, which uses the T3 and T4 hormones for a more effective medication.
"Armour Thyroid … is a good preparation, but we don't use it that much because most patients are happy with levothyroxine," Gharib said. "The theory is that one hormone may not be enough; two is better."
That idea is supported by research. A 1999 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that treating patients with both hormones instead of just one may improve their mood and neuropsychological function.
Despite the evidence, Clinton's use of Armour Thyroid has earned her criticism, most recently from celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky. Pinsky, who is an internist as well as an addiction medicine specialist, said last week it's "weird" Clinton is being treated with what he views as an "unconventional" and "outdated" medication.