Too many patients, as documented in an on-line study of 12,000 individuals conducted by the American Thyroid Association published in June 2018, (https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2017.0681) , complain of persistent symptoms of hypothyroidism despite what their doctors believe is successful treatment with levothyroxine (brands include Synthroid, Unithroid, Tirosent, Levoxl). We believe something needs to be done to resolve this conflict between patients and their doctors.
A new class of experimental drugs known as oral selective thyroid hormone receptor agonists (also known as STORMS) has shown remarkable ability to lower cholesterol levels as well as cause weight loss. These drugs were originally targeted at improving heart function in heart failure patients but failed to achieve the desired results. During these studies researchers noted that subjects treated with the experimental STORM drug DITPA, lost 15% of body weight and body mass index along with achieving a substantial drop in cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
DITPA is one of the new STORM drugs. These drugs work by mimicking thyroid hormone action on certain tissues in the body such as the liver and blood vessels.Their effect on the liver is thought to be responsible for the beneficial effects on cholesterol and triglycerides.
Another promising STORM drug is eprotirome being studied by the Swedish drug firm Karo Bio. This drug has also shown remarkable ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in human studies. Subjects with high triglyceride levels saw levels fall by up to 40% when receiving eprotirome.
Weight loss associated with STORM agents is thought to as a result of increase in metabolism as well as possible central nervous system effects to reduce food consumption (appetite suppression).
Researchers are quick to point out that high doses STORMâ€™s cause unpleasant side-effects such as racing heart, tremor, irritability, diarrhea and sweating. These side-effects are similar to symptoms experienced by people with hyperthyroidism (excess levels of thyroid hormone).
Many more studies are in progress to try to find ways to harness the benefits of STORMs while minimizing side-effects. No drugs of this class are presently approved for use in humans.
Only you and your medical professional can decide which treatment is appropriate for you. If you have more questions about these drugs consult your health care professional or post your inquiry at metabolism.com.
Gary Pepper, M.D.