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Thyroid Science 5(9):1-7, 2010

T3-Induced Recovery from Fibromyalgia
by a Hypothyroid Patient Resistant to
T4 and Desiccated Thyroid*
(Full Text Free in pdf format)

Dr. John C. Lowe

Director of Research,
Fibromyalgia Research Foundation

Correspondence: Dr. John C. Lowe,
Tel: 603-391-6060  Fax: 303-496-6200,

*Originally published in the J. Myofascial Ther., 1(4):26-31, 1995. Reprinted with permission of McDowell Publishing Company, LLC.

Abstract to Case Report

The case report we present here was originally published in 1995. The case study was not blinded, but it was highly systematic. Three clinicians (a neuropsychiatrist; a physical therapist; and myself, a chiropractic physician) working in our separate clinical practices in different locations, evaluated the patient using objective measures. The data that I presented in the report of this case report fifteen years ago, and again now, was collected by the three independent clinicians each of whom worked simultaneously with the patient.

This systematic single case shows three noteworthy features of the patient: First, she was hypothyroid; second, she met the American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia; and third, she no longer met those criteria and fully recovered when we switched her to T3 therapy after T4 and desiccated thyroid had failed to benefit her. It is worth emphasizing that the patient continued to meet the criteria for fibromyalgia when being treated with T4 (Synthroid) and then with desiccated thyroid (Armour). However, she quickly and dramatically recovered—no longer meeting the criteria for fibromyalgia—when we switched her treatment to plain T3 (Cytomel) with her daily dose well within the physiologic range.

I asked that Thyroid Science republish this case report for two reasons: First, many people have requested reprints of the original case report. To get reprints, these patients and clinicians had to contact my office. The reason is that the paper is no longer available online or in an accessible journal. In 1996, McDowell Publishing Company, LLC, who owned the journal that first published the report, sold the journal to Haworth Medical Press. The latter publisher, however, did not make available the journal issue that the case report had been published in. Thyroid Science's open-access republishing of the paper now makes it perpetually available to anyone who finds its contents of interest.

My second reason for asking that Thyroid Science republish the report is the utter failure of fibromyalgia researchers in general to open their eyes to an  obvious truth: that inadequate thyroid hormone regulation is the main underlying mechanisms of most patients so-called fibromyalgia. That I say that this is an obvious truth does not mean that all cases of fibromyalgia are easily solved simply by treating treating the patient with the proper form and dosage of thyroid hormone. As my colleague David Derry, MD, long ago pointed out in the British Journal of Medicine, living long years with untreated or undertreated hypothyroidism causes most patients to accrue secondary, tertiary, and other health complications that also must be disentangled from the enlarging clinical knot that further encumbers the patients. That a patient's fibromyaliga is long-standing usually means that successful recovery is a more complicated process.

Nonetheless, deductively formulated theory (the mathematical physicist's tool of victory that is absent from the intellectual armamentarium of the fibromyalgia establishment) shows unequivocally that the main underlying mechanism of fibromyalgia is too little thyroid hormone regulation. The inadequate thyroid hypothesis accounts for virtually all objective evidence we have on fibromyalgia. In stark contrast, no other hypothesis accounts for more than a minute fraction. Ignoring this fact forsakes fibromyalgia patients the world over, but it brings in a king's ransom from the purchase of ineffective and potentially harmful "fibromyalgia drugs" such as Lyrica and Cymbalta.

Why do fibromyalgia researchers in general ignore the obvious? Through more than two decades of involvement in this field, I have learned a list of disreputable reasons: prejudice against the possibility of a causative thyroid connection, ignorance of basic and clinical thyroidology, egotistical pursuit of failed pet theories, and corruption through acceptance of judgment-forming grants and other perks from Big Pharma to develop drugs for fibromyalgia that are palliative at best and harmful at worst.

Despite many prominent fibromyalgia researchers claiming to be pursuing the underlying mechanism(s) of what we call fibromyalgia, they look everywhere but in the right direction. But while the researchers have spent decades  looking in all the wrong directions, countless fibromyalgia patients—such as the female I describe in the case report—have recovered full health by the intelligent use of thyroid hormone as part of a comprehensive program of metabolic rehabilitation. Many have accomplished this by taking their health care into their own hands, while others have had the help of enlightened and collaborative clinicians.

My friend and colleague Richard L. Garrison, MD, for example, with T3 therapy and other assertive thyroid therapies, helped countless fibromyalgia patients to recover their health. This infuriated jealous physicians who had gaven the patients quack diagnoses of psychiatric disorders. Dr. Garrison was brutally punished for his crime of being scientific, humanitarian, and effective with patients. But emails I still receive some 3 years after his death tell me that for every physician who detested his clinical successes with fibromyalgia patients is at least matched by recovered patients who still adore him for enabling them to recover their health.

I republish this 1995 report with sorrow in my heart over the persecution of courageous physicians such as Dr. Richard L. Garrison who relieved so many patients suffering with the intelligent use of thyroid hormone. My sorrow is even deeper, however, over the millions of fibromyalgia patients who today are improperly treated for profit with Big Pharma's drugs. As my colleagues and I showed many years ago (and typified by the case we republish today in Thyroid Science), the continued suffering of most of those people is avoidable. But sadly, we now live in a world where drug companies and researchers they fund steadily more make their fortunes from sustaining the suffering of other human beings.

Max Planck, PhD
Circa 1947

I find it more than difficult at times to live with the awareness that millions of fibromyalgia patients spend their lives suffering needlessly. But I find some solace in a famous statement by physicist Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory: "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

And happily, a new generation appears to me to be sprouting in the field of fibromyalgia. At this time, Ian R. Carroll, MD at Stanford University School of Medicine is conducting a study of T3 for fibromyalgia patients. The title of his study is, "T3 for Fibromyalgia: a Pilot Double-blind Non-randomized Clinical Trial." I have no idea yet how this study will unfold. No research team I am aware other than mine has extensive research and clinical experience in  treating fibromyalgia patients effectively with T3. But Dr. Carroll was unaware of my research team and our work until recently, when I learned of his study and sent him a copy of my book The Metabolic Treatment of Fibromyalgia. As his pilot study nears its end, he and I have just begun to correspond.

With no intent of malice, but only the hope of seeing the relief of untold and unnecessary human suffering, I am impatient for the passing of that generation of closed-minded fibromyalgia researchers. Before much more time passes, I hope to see a new and enlightened generation of researchers and clinicians that declines to assign the label "fibromyalgia" to people with chronic widespread pain and simply treats them effectively for their hypothyroidism or thyroid hormone resistance. In the mean time, if the case we republish today leads to even one patient's pain relief tomorrow, I will pleased indeed that I wrote the report fifteen years ago.

Original Abstract. The main purpose of this case report is to illustrate a clinical observation common to me: that fibromyalgia patients with central hypothyroidism who fail to benefit from T4 or desiccated thyroid completely recover when they switch to T3. Changing status in the patient was evaluated in three ways: a psychiatrist used a depression inventory, a physical therapist performed functional musculoskeletal assessments, and I performed algometer tender point exams and monitored symptoms. I hope the description of the management of this case provides a protocol that other clinicians will use with fibromyalgia patients similar to the one who is the subject of this report.

Key Words. Algometry • Desiccated thyroid • Fibromyalgia • Hypothyroidism • T3 • T4 • TSH


Lowe, J.C.: T3-Induced recovery from fibromyalgia by a hypothyroid patient resistant to
T4 and desiccated thyroid. Thyroid Science, 5(6):1-7, 2010.

(Full Text Free in pdf format)

© 2010 Thyroid Science