Dear Pharmacist, You said that some drugs are related to fluoride and may cause hypothyroidism or other diseases of the reproductive tract. Which medications and why? D.L., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Some of the most popular medications are "fluorinated" meaning they were created using a backbone of fluoride, the same fluoride used in toothpaste, insecticides and some supplements.
The situation with fluoride is that it competes with iodine in your body. It tricks the cell into thinking it is iodine. Once enough fluorine atoms hook onto your cell, you become deficient. That could make you thyroid deficient because your thyroid gland cannot produce any thyroid hormone without iodine.
Chronic fluoride ingestion could spell side effects, which unfortunately won't get spotted as a "side effect," rather they will be diagnosed as some new disease that you don't have.
You can ask your doctor if you need to continue your medication or if you can switch to something in the same therapeutic category that is not fluorinated. Never suddenly stop taking a medication because some cause dangerous withdrawal reactions.
Here are some popular fluorinated drugs:
- Some statin cholesterol drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol)
- Fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin) implicated with dangerous "floxing."
- The antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro).
- The popular antifungal fluconazole (Diflucan)
- Steroids like dexamethasone (Decadron), fluticasone (Flonase) and flunisolide (Nasarel and Nasalide)
- The medication used for major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder called fluvoxamine (Luvox)