Dear Pharmacist: You said some drugs are related to fluoride and may cause hypothyroidism or other diseases of the reproductive tract. Which medications and why? — D.L., Fort Lauderdale
Dear D.L.: Shocking, I know! Some of the most popular medications in the world are fluorinated, meaning they were created using a backbone of fluoride. (Yes, the same fluoride used in toothpaste, insecticides and some supplements.) Many practitioners and patients have no idea their medication contains so many fluoride-related compounds.
The situation with fluoride is that it competes with iodine in your body. It tricks the cell into thinking it is iodine because it looks similar. Once enough fluorine atoms hook onto your cell, you become iodine-deficient. And that could make you thyroid-deficient because your thyroid gland cannot produce any thyroid hormone without iodine.
Iodine protects your male and female reproductive organs. When you take a fluorine-containing drug, I worry that you will become deficient in other minerals, especially iodine. You may become fluoride-toxic. I'm not saying drugs cause illness in your private parts, though they could, but really, it's the drug-mugging effect of fluoride-based medications that could raise the risk of iodine deficiency. Chronic fluoride ingestion also could spell side effects that, unfortunately, don't always get spotted as a side effect. Instead, they can be diagnosed as some new disease that you don't authentically have.
You can ask your doctor if you need to continue your medication, or if you can switch drugs to something in the same therapeutic category that is not fluorinated. Never suddenly stop taking a medication, because some can cause dangerous withdrawal reactions, in particular antidepressants. If you have to take your medication, then you can evaluate your iodine status with a 24-hour urine analysis. If it's low, you may want to supplement.
Here are some popular fluorinated drugs:
Some statin cholesterol drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol).
Fluconazole (Diflucan), the popular antifungal.
Steroids like dexamethasone (Decadron), fluticasone (Flonase) and flunisolide (Nasarel and Nasalide).
Fluvoxamine (Luvox), the medication used for major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
This is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Go to DearPharmacist.com.