Levothyroxine is a synthetic version of thyroid hormones that is prescribed to treat hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone), which is a medical condition when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland is essential to your wellbeing as it increases the metabolic rate of cells of all tissues, regulates the body's temperature and metabolism as well as maintain brain function. Without thyroid hormones, the consequences it can have on the body include weight gain, hair loss, poor growth, lack of energy, dry thick skin and increased sensitivity to skin. For fetuses and new born infants, thyroid hormones are crucial for growth and development. Levothyroxine can also be used for cancer, surgery, radiation treatment as well as treat or prevent goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) and congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism). Levothyroxine should NOT be used to treat weight issues or obesity who have thyroids that function normally and can have fatal consequences. Talk to your doctor about the potential risks associated with this medication.
Levothyroxine comes in the form of an oral tablet that should be taken exactly as prescribed. It is recommended that you take it once a day in the morning on an empty stomach, an hour before eating. Take the tablet with a full glass of water at the same time each day. For childrens and infants who have difficulty consuming tablets, crush the tablet and mix it with 1-2 teaspoons of water and give it immediately without food or formula. It may take a few weeks before you notice any changes. Even if your symptoms have improved, do not stop taking the medication. Do not forget visits to your doctor as your blood, liver and kidney might be regularly tested to ensure the medication is working.
If you forget to take your daily dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's nearly time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed one completely and return to your normal dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
An overdose can be characterized by tremor, breathing difficulty, chest pain, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, leg cramps and confusion. Contact the appropriate authorities for immediate medical attention.
Store Levothyroxine in an air tight container at room temperature. Keep out of reach of children and away from excess heat and moisture. Discard outdated medication appropriately.
As with any medication, there is the possibility of side effects. If you experience any of these symptoms and they continue to persist, talk to your doctor - tremor, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, increased appetite, headache, temporary hair loss, diarrhea, nervousness, irritability, stomach cramps, insomnia, sensitivity to heat, excessive sweating, fever, angina or irregular heartbeat.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor about your entire medical history particularly if you have had a heart attack, a thyroid disorder called thyrotoxicosis, or an adrenal gland problem that is not controlled by treatment. As well as this, inform your doctor if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, angina, kidney disease, coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, anemia (lack of red blood cells), diabetes, hepatitis, problems with your pituitary or adrenal glands, or a history of blood clots. If you have any allergies, make sure they are known to your doctor particularly if you are allergic to levothyroxine, thyroid hormones, povidone iodine, tartrazine, lactose, corn starch or any other drugs or foods. If you are taking any prescription or non-prescription drugs, tell your doctor, including amphetamines, vitamins, steroids, estrogens, oral contraceptives, cancer chemotherapy agents, diabetes medication, beta-blockers, arthritis medication, methadone, theophylline, phenytoin, digoxin, propranolol, timolol, anticoagulants, anti-anxiety agents or antidepressants. Although listed in the FDA pregnancy category A, which means that Levothyroxine is safe to consume while pregnant, inform your doctor if you do become pregnant during treatment.