Levothyroxine: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & more
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What is levothyroxine?
Levothyroxine is a type of thyroid medication that works to control the body’s energy levels and metabolism by acting as a replacement for a hormone that is normally produced by the thyroid gland.
The hypothyroid condition can be treated with levothyroxine (low thyroid hormone). When your body does not create enough of this hormone on its own, your doctor may recommend taking this medication.
In addition, levothyroxine is employed in the treatment of goitre, also known as an enlarged thyroid gland, as well as in the prevention of this condition, which may be brought on by hormonal imbalances, radiation therapy, surgery, or even cancer.
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If you have certain medical conditions, it is possible that you will not be able to take levothyroxine. If you have a thyroid problem known as thyrotoxicosis, an untreated or uncontrolled disorder of the adrenal glands, or any recent or present symptoms of a heart attack, you should consult with your primary care physician as soon as possible.
It is not recommended to take levothyroxine in order to address obesity or weight concerns. If you use this medication in an unsafe manner, you could experience life-threatening adverse effects or even die as a result. This is especially true if you are also taking any other appetite suppressants or weight-loss prescriptions.
Before beginning to take this medication
It is not recommended to take levothyroxine in order to address obesity or weight concerns. If you use levothyroxine in excess, you put yourself at risk for serious adverse effects or even death, and this is especially true if you are also taking any other medications for weight loss or appetite suppressants.
Levothyroxine is safe to use for virtually everyone because the body already produces thyroid hormone on its own. However, if you have specific medical issues, it is possible that you will not be able to use this medication. Inform your primary care provider if you have:
a disease of the adrenal glands that is untreated or not under control;
a condition affecting the thyroid known as thyrotoxicosis; or
warning signs of a potential heart attack (chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling).
If you want to make sure that taking levothyroxine is safe for you, you should notify your doctor if you have ever had any of the following:
a thyroid nodule;
heart disease, a blood clot, or an illness that causes blood to clot more easily;
diabetes (the dosage of your insulin or oral diabetic medication may need to be adjusted when you begin using this treatment); diabetes-related complications.
anaemia, which is caused by a deficiency of red blood cells;
reduced bone mineral density, often known as osteoporosis;
issues with your hypothalamus or pituitary gland; or
any reactions to foods or medications.
Inform your primary care provider if you have recently undergone iodine-based radiation therapy (such as I-131).
Do not discontinue taking levothyroxine unless specifically instructed to do so by your physician, even if you become pregnant while taking the medication. During pregnancy, if a woman has low levels of thyroid hormone, it could be harmful to both the mother and the foetus. Depending on your changing demands, your dose may change while you are pregnant.
If you are breastfeeding, you should let your doctor know. It is possible that your requirements for the dose will change while you are nursing.
Under no circumstances should you administer this medication to a youngster before seeing a physician. Tirosint should not be used by anyone younger than 6 years old according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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What is the recommended dosage of levothyroxine?
Levothyroxine should be taken in accordance with the directions that were provided to you. Read all of the medication guides or instruction papers that come with your medication, and make sure to follow all of the guidelines that are included on the prescription label. Your physician may decide to adjust your dosage every so often.
Oral levothyroxine is intended to be consumed via the oral route. An intravenous infusion is used to deliver the injection into a vein. Injections of levothyroxine are typically reserved for situations in which patients are unable to take the medication orally.
If you want to get the most out of your oral levothyroxine treatment, you should take it on an empty stomach 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast. Always make sure to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor, and try to take it at the same time every day.
You should take the pill or capsule as directed, along with a full glass (eight ounces) of water. It’s possible that the tablet will dissolve very rapidly and that it may expand in your throat.
Take special caution when measuring liquid medications. Use the dosing syringe that is provided, or use a device that is specifically designed to measure doses of medications (not a kitchen spoon).
In children, the appropriate dosage of levothyroxine is determined by their weight. The appropriate dosage for your child may need to be adjusted if the youngster experiences a weight gain or loss.
It is possible that it will be many weeks before your body begins to respond to the levothyroxine that you are taking. Continue taking this medication even if you start to feel better. It is possible that you will need to continue taking this medication for the remainder of your life.
You might need to get regular medical examinations. You are required to disclose your use of this medication to every healthcare provider who treats you, including dentists and surgeons.
Keep at room temperature and away from heat and moisture when storing.
Do not give this medication to anybody else, even if they are experiencing the same symptoms that you are experiencing.
What should I expect if I forget to take a dose?
You should take the medication as soon as it is convenient for you to do so, but you should omit the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dosage. It is not recommended to take two dosages at once.
What exactly happens if I take too much?
Immediately seek out the assistance of a qualified medical professional or dial the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Symptoms of an overdose can include a headache, leg cramps, tremors, feeling nervous or irritated, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and fast or pounding heartbeats. Other symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
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What should be avoided
Grapefruit juice, newborn soy formula, soybean flour, cotton seed meal, walnuts, and foods strong in fibre should all be avoided since they can reduce the amount of levothyroxine that your body absorbs.
Levothyroxine side effects
If you have symptoms of an allergic response to levothyroxine, including hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or neck, you should seek immediate medical attention.
There is a possibility that levothyroxine will cause major adverse effects. You should see your physician as soon as possible if you have:
a heartbeat that is too rapid or too erratic;
discomfort in the chest, pain that radiates to the jaw or shoulder;
a feeling of being out of breath;
a high temperature, hot flushes, and perspiration;
tremors, or if you experience an extremely low body temperature;
a lack of strength and stamina, fatigue, and trouble sleeping (insomnia);
difficulties remembering things, a gloomy or irritated mood;
aches and pains in the muscles, leg cramps, and headaches;
experiencing feelings of anxiety or irritability;
symptoms including dryness of the skin or hair, as well as hair loss;
irregular menstrual periods; or
symptoms such as throwing up, diarrhoea, changes in appetite, and weight shifts.
There is a possibility that older persons will be more susceptible to particular adverse effects.
There is a possibility that levothyroxine could cause the following common adverse effects:
discomfort in the chest and irregular heartbeats;
a feeling of being out of breath;
a painful headache, leg cramps, aching muscles, or general feeling of weakness;
tremors, feeling nervous or angry, difficulties sleeping;
increased desire to eat;
Reduced body fat;
alterations in the pattern of your menstrual periods;
redness, and some thinning or loss of hair.
This list of potential adverse effects is not exhaustive; there may be others as well. Make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss any adverse effects. You can call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report any adverse effects.
Levothyroxine side effects (additional detail)
What other medications might interact with levothyroxine?
Your levels of thyroid hormone can have an effect on a wide variety of other medications. It’s possible that the effects of levothyroxine could be amplified or diminished by the use of other medications.
If you take this medication at the same time as another medication, the effectiveness of both medications may be reduced. If you take any of the following medications, you should avoid taking them within four hours of taking levothyroxine, either before or after taking the medication:
calcium carbonate (including products marketed under the brand names Alka-Mints, Caltrate, Os-Cal, Oyster Shell Calcium, Rolaids Soft Chew, and Tums, amongst others);
cholestyramine, colesevelam, colestipol;
ferrous sulphate iron supplement;
sodium polystyrene sulfonate, which is sold under the brand names Kalexate, Kayexalate, and Kionex;
stomach acid reducers such as esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, and rabeprazole; medications such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and Zegerid; or
antacids such as Gaviscon, Maalox, Milk of Magnesia, Mintox, Mylanta, Pepcid Complete, and others include either aluminium or magnesium as an active ingredient.
There are many medicines that have the potential to interact with levothyroxine. This encompasses both prescription and over-the-counter medications, in addition to herbal and vitamin supplements. This may not include all of the various interactions that could take place. Talk to your primary care physician about any and all medications you are currently taking, as well as any medications you decide to start or stop taking.
Which comes first, weight gain or decrease when taking levothyroxine?
In most people, using levothyroxine results in a loss of some amount of weight. When you start taking this drug, there is a possibility that you will lose up to ten percent of your total body weight, as stated by the American Thyroid Association. Due to the fact that hypothyroidism causes you to retain water, the majority of this weight is water weight.
After taking levothyroxine, what kinds of foods are appropriate for me to eat for breakfast?
It is generally accepted that it is OK to have the majority of foods for breakfast so long as they are had within 30 and 60 minutes after taking levothyroxine. It is recommended that one dose of levothyroxine be taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
When using levothyroxine, may I also take other medications?
There are many distinct types of drug-drug interactions, but it is well known that levothyroxine interacts with a large number of other medications. This phenomenon is referred to as a drug-drug interaction. Because of the potential for dangerous drug interactions, doctors often recommend that patients avoid taking certain medications at the same time. Other interactions call for more frequent laboratory testing or careful observation of the patient’s disease symptoms.
Is hair loss a side effect of taking levothyroxine?
Levothyroxine, the primary medication used to treat a slow thyroid gland, has been linked to a number of negative effects, including possibly causing hair loss. It is possible that you will notice some thinning of your hair during the first few months of treatment; however, this condition typically improves and returns to normal within a short period of time.