Levothroid is a medication that is primarily used to treat an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism. It contains the active ingredient levothyroxine sodium, which is a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Levothroid works by replacing or supplementing the thyroid hormone in the body, helping to regulate metabolism and other essential bodily functions.
Levothroid is available in tablet form for oral administration and is typically taken once a day, preferably in the morning, on an empty stomach. The dosage of Levothroid will vary depending on the individual’s age, weight, and the severity of their hypothyroidism. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and duration of treatment as directed by a healthcare professional.
Before starting Levothroid, it is crucial to inform your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions, especially if you have:
- Adrenal gland disorders
- Heart disease
- Any allergies or sensitivities to medications
Additionally, it is important to disclose any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are currently taking, as they may interact with Levothroid. Your doctor will also need to know if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Levothroid may be prescribed during pregnancy to maintain normal thyroid hormone levels, but the dosage may need to be adjusted.
Like any medication, Levothroid can cause certain side effects. Common side effects may include:
- Weight loss or gain
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Heat intolerance
- Hair loss
- Irregular menstrual periods
If any of these side effects persist or worsen, it is important to consult your doctor. In rare cases, Levothroid may cause more serious allergic reactions or side effects such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, swelling of the hands or feet, or seizures. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
How to Take It
It is vital to take Levothroid exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The tablet should be swallowed whole with a full glass of water, at least 30 minutes before consuming any food or beverages. Avoid taking Levothroid with calcium-fortified juices, soybean flour, or high-fiber foods, as these may decrease its absorption.
If you happen to miss a dose of Levothroid, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
An overdose of Levothroid may result in symptoms such as chest pain, increased heart rate, palpitations, tremors, restlessness, excitability, sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect an overdose, seek immediate medical attention.
Levothroid and Other Medications
Levothroid may interact with various medications, altering their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects. Inform your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements.
Potential interactions may occur with medications such as:
|Warfarin||Levothroid may enhance the anticoagulant effects of warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding|
|Insulin or oral diabetes medications||Levothroid may increase the blood glucose-lowering effects of these medications|
|Cholestyramine||Cholestyramine may decrease the absorption of Levothroid, so it should be taken at least 4 hours apart|
Ask and Answer
How long does it take for Levothroid to start working?
Levothroid may start working within a few weeks, but it may take several months to reach its full effect. Regular blood tests will be conducted to monitor thyroid hormone levels.
Can I take Levothroid with other medications?
Levothroid may interact with certain medications, so it is important to inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose of Levothroid?
If you forget to take a dose of Levothroid, take it as soon as you remember unless it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule.
Are there any long-term side effects of taking Levothroid?
Long-term use of Levothroid is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, it is important to monitor thyroid hormone levels regularly and report any unusual symptoms to your doctor.
Can I stop taking Levothroid once my symptoms improve?
No, Levothroid is typically a lifelong medication for individuals with hypothyroidism. Stopping the medication abruptly can lead to a recurrence of symptoms and may have other negative effects on your health. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication regimen.