Reported Characteristics

Drug Class: Synthetic thyroid hormone. Average Reported Dosage: 25-150 MCG daily.

Noted Comments: Significant suppression of Thyroid function during use.

Cytomel is the synthetic form of T-3/L-triiodothyronine and was a commonly known trade or brand name among athletes. T-3/L-triiodothyronine is used as a form of thyroid hormone therapy mostly in Europe. Most bodybuilders favored this drug over synthetic forms of T-4/L-thyroxine due to its vastly superior activity level.

An advantage of T-3/L-triiodothyronine administration over T-4/L-thyroxine was the lack of dependence upon the liver enzyme responsible for T-4/T-3 conversion. During diet restricted periods the liver naturally decreases the liver enzyme levels as a control measure to prevent metabolic rate induced starvation. Just as the liver increases production of this enzyme in response to elevated calorie intake it also reduces levels in response to decreased calorie intake. Remember that T-4 /L-thyroxine is only 20% as active as T-3/L-triiodothyronine.

The abuse of synthetic T-3/L-triiodothyronine will result in severe suppression of natural (endogenous) thyroid function. This is especially true of this drug because it actually circumvents the normal thyroid hormone manufacturing process the body utilizes to produce endogenous forms as required. Simplified this is because T-3/L-triiodothyronine is the most potent thyroid hormone so the body shuts down each level required for production to try to reduce circulatory T-3/L-triiodothyronine levels. Of course this does not reduce the level if the hormone is being administered exogenously (from outside the body).

Since long term use of T-3 /L-triiodothyronine will lead to thyroid function suppression the issue of rebound should be briefly discussed. It is commonly stated that synthetic thyroid hormone abuse will lead to permanent thyroid gland dysfunction. Though it is definitely a physiological possibility, I have not yet found a case study to support this statement. However, there is a common occurrence of thyroid gland/function rebound in natural endogenous thyroid hormone production. It seems that it was common for individuals to realize an "increase" in endogenous thyroid hormone production of 120-130 % within 3-15 days after drug discontinuance. This means an individual would commonly see an increase in their thyroid hormone production of 2030% above their normal pre-drug administration levels, in many cases.

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