Female patient in her mid-50s, suffered from rapid weight loss, hair loss, hot flashes, and 8-9 loose bowel movements a day with undigested food. April 2016 blood test showed TSH being 0.008. Family doctor diagnosed her of hyperthyroidism and prescribed anti-hyperthyroid drug to be taken 3 pills per day.
After started taking the drug, patient started to cool down to the point that she feels cold. Legs became very weak and couldn't stand for more than 10 mins. She explained that when she cooked, she had to sit down for multiple times before she could complete cooking a meal. She used to walk around the neighbourhood after dinner, but she couldn't do that any more without excruciating pain. Blood test in July with TSH being 29.050 showed the drug dosage was too high, so the doctor reduced her dosage to 2 pills per day.
I saw her for the first time near the end of the July. Initially, she only wanted relief of the side effect of her drugs. Due to time constrain, I gave her acupuncture 4 days in a row to relief her leg pain. She was feeling slightly better each day. After 4 days, she was able to cook a meal without sitting down. And she could have her walk for a short period of time. But, she expressed what concerned her the most was the hair loss. The drug did not slow down her hair loss. After each shower, she would lose so much hair that she was afraid to shampoo her hair everyday.
We started herbal medicine treatment aiming to slowly reduce the drug dosage and eventually get her off the drug.
After the blood test in Aug 2016, the doctor saw the number and said the drug dosage was not enough and wanted to increase the dosage back again. There was a bit of back and forward with the drug dosage around that time because her condition hasn't stabilized.
About a month after starting herbal medicine, her rapid hair loss had stopped and was normal again. She was very happy about it. That gave her more confidence about herbal medicine.
After 2.5 months of taking herbal medicine and prescription drug, her TSH was within normal range. So she requested to reduce her drug dosage to 1 pill per day. Even though she was taking herbal medicine, the leg pain came back due to the side effect. A quick adjustment in the herbal formula cleared away the pain within a week.
Blood test in Jan 2017 showed TSH 3.070 was still within normal range. Doctor said she could stop medication for 6 weeks. And if her blood test in 6 weeks showed the same, she could stop it for good.
Blood test in Feb 2017 showed TSH being normal. She was very happy she didn't need to take the drugs any more. This case took a long time because patient should slowly reduce her medication. She was a very good patient and didn't give up, even though she clearly didn't like the taste of the herbal medicine.