Levothyroxine

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Levothyroxine

Levothyroxine drug image

Brand Synthroid

     Form Oral Tablet

     Drug Type Thyroid Hormones

 

Levothyroxine is used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is normally produced by the thyroid gland.

 

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Drug Information

Levothyroxine is used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is normally produced by the thyroid gland. Low thyroid hormone levels can occur naturally or when the thyroid gland is injured by radiation/medications or removed by surgery. Having enough thyroid hormone is important for maintaining normal mental and physical activity.

In children, having enough thyroid hormone is important for normal mental and physical development. This medication is also used to treat other types of thyroid disorders (such as thyroid cancer). This medication should not be used to treat infertility unless it is caused by low thyroid hormone levels.

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking levothyroxine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to 1 hour before breakfast. Take this medication with a full glass of water unless your doctor directs you otherwise. If you take the capsule form of this medication, swallow it whole. Do not split, crush, or chew. People who cannot swallow the capsule whole (such as infants or small children) should use the tablet form of the medication. For infants or children who cannot swallow whole tablets, crush the tablet and mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 milliliters) of water, and give using a spoon or dropper right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance or mix the tablet in soy infant formula.

Consult your pharmacist for more information. Dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, laboratory test results, and response to treatment. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Do not stop taking this medication without first consulting with your doctor. Thyroid replacement treatment is usually taken for life. There are different brands of levothyroxine available. Do not change brands without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist. Certain medications (such as cholestyramine, colestipol, colesevelam, antacids, sucralfate, simethicone, iron, sodium polystyrene sulfonate, calcium supplements, orlistat, lanthanum, and sevelamer, among others) can decrease the amount of thyroid hormone that is absorbed by your body. If you take any of these drugs, separate them from this medication by at least 4 hours.

Symptoms of low thyroid hormone levels include tiredness, muscle aches, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, slow heartbeat, or sensitivity to cold. Tell your doctor if your condition gets worse or lasts after several weeks of taking this medication.

Hair loss may occur during the first few months of treatment. This effect is usually temporary as your body adjusts to this medication. Tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly if this effect lasts or gets worse. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.

Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious effects of high thyroid hormone levels, including increased sweating, sensitivity to heat, mental/mood changes (such as nervousness, mood swings), tiredness, diarrhea, shaking (tremor), headache, shortness of breath, bone pain, easily broken bones. Get medical help immediately if you have any serious effects of high thyroid hormone levels, including chest pain, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, swelling hands/ankles/feet, or seizures.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

This medication should not be used for weight loss. Normal doses of this medication will not work for weight loss, and large doses of this medication may cause serious, possibly fatal side effects, especially when taken with diet pills.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all your products (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: "blood thinners" (such as warfarin), digoxin, and sucroferric oxyhydroxide.

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The information provided on this page is updated periodically. Please use our Drug Search Tool for the latest information and updates about this drug. The information on this site is not intended to take the place of your doctor or other healthcare professionals. It is a resource to help you make the best decisions and get the most from the medical services available to you. A licensed physician should be consulted to diagnose and treat all medical conditions.