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Liothyronine (Molecule of the Month for June 2017)

Cytomel, Tertroxin

Liothyronine is a synthetic form of triiodothyronine (T3), a thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism and myxedema coma. T3 is the metabolically active thyroid hormone, which causes feedback inhibition, and lowers elevated TSH levels. It increases metabolism in peripheral tissues and is indicated when there is an impaired conversion of T4 to T3 in peripheral tissues. It is also used as an augmentation strategy in treating major depressive disorder when used in combination with antidepressants.

Liothyronine is an option for routine thyroid hormone replacement. It has a half-life of 24 hours. This compares to a half life of 7 days with levothyroxine. The shorter half-life allows patients to know if they are taking too much (indicated by a heart rate>100 bpm for more than 24 hours or increased anxiety) or if they should take more (no increase in energy). It is recommended that labs be drawn monthly and the dose increased until the patients hypothyroid symptoms resolve.

Liothyronine is the most potent form of thyroid hormone. As a salt of triiodothyronine (T3), it is chemically similar and pharmacologically equivalent to T3. As such, it acts on the body to increase the basal metabolic rate, affect protein synthesis and increase the body's sensitivity to catecholamines (such as adrenaline) by permissiveness. As monotherapy or in combination therapy with SSRIs, liothyronine may also enhance generation of new neurons in the central nervous system. The thyroid hormones are essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energetic compounds.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
sodium (S)-2-amino-3-[4-(4-hydroxy-3-iodophenoxy)-3,5-diiodophenyl]propanoate



Picture of Liothyronine 3D model

click on the picture of  Liothyronine above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Liothyronine structure
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Picture of Liothyronine

C15 H11 I3 N Na O4

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for June 2017 )

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