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Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism Treatment

Hypothyroidism is usually quite easy to treat (for most people)! The easiest and most effective treatment is simply taking a thyroid hormone pill Levothyroxine once a day, preferably in the morning. The dosage should be re-evaluated and possibly adjusted monthly until the proper level is established. The dose should then be re-evaluated at least annually. If you are on this medication, make sure your physician knows it so he/she can check the levels at least yearly.

Drug Info:
Levothyroxine is a pure synthetic form of T4 hormone that is made in a laboratory to be an exact replacement for the T4 that the human thyroid gland normally secretes. It comes in multiple strengths, which means that an appropriate dosage can almost always be found for each patient.

A word of caution: this simple approach does not hold true for everybody. Occasionally the correct dosage is a bit difficult to pin-point and therefore you may need an exam and blood tests more frequently. Also, some patients just don't do well on some thyroid medications and will be quite happy on another. For these reasons you should not be shy in discussing with your doctor your blood hormone tests, symptoms, how you feel, and the type of medicine you are taking.

The goal is to make you feel better, make your body last longer, slow the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis...in addition to making your blood levels normal! Sometimes that's easy, when its not, you need a physician who is willing to spend the time with you that you deserve while you explore different dosages other types of medications (or alternative diagnoses).

Some patients will notice a slight reduction in symptoms within 1 to 2 weeks, but the full metabolic response to thyroid hormone therapy is often delayed for a month or two before the patient feels completely normal.

Drug Warning:
It is important that the correct amount of thyroid hormone is used in treating hypothyroidism. Not enough and the patient may have continued fatigue or some of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism. Too high a dose could cause

  • Nervousness
  • Palpitations
  • Insomnia, which is typical of hyperthyroidism.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that too much thyroid hormone may cause increased calcium loss from bone increasing the patient's risk for osteoporosis. For patients with heart conditions or diseases, an optimal thyroid dose is particularly important. Even a slight excess may increase the patient's risk for heart attack or worsen angina. Some physicians feel that more frequent dose checks and blood hormone levels are appropriate in these patients.

    Synthetic T4 can be safely taken with most other medications

    Patients taking cholestyramine (a compound used to lower blood cholesterol) or certain medications for seizures should check with their physician about potential interactions. Women taking T4 who become pregnant should feel confident that the medication is exactly what their own thyroid gland would otherwise make. However, they should check with their physician since the T4 dose may have to be adjusted during pregnancy (usually more hormone is needed to meet the increased demands of the mother's new increased metabolism). There are other potential problems with other drugs including iron-containing vitamins. Once again, pregnant women (and all women and men for that matter) taking iron supplements should discuss this with your physician. There are three brand name of Levothyroxine tablets now available. You may want to consult with your physician or pharmacist on the most cost effective brand since recent studies suggest that none is better than the other.

    ‹‹ Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Resources ››

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