Levothyroxine

Brand names of levothyroxine

  • Alti-Thyroxine
  • Armour Thyroid
  • Eltroxin
  • Euthroid [CD]
  • Euthyrox
  • Levo-T
  • Levotabs
  • Levothroid
  • Levoxine
  • Levoxyl
  • L-Thyroxine
  • Proloid
  • Synthroid
  • Synthrox
  • Syroxine
  • Thyroid USP
  • Thyrolar [CD]

Levothyroxine is a man-made drug, which is akin to thyroxine (T4), the main hormone produced as well as secreted by the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone is vital as it augments the rate of metabolism of all the cells in all tissues in our body. In the case of the newborns as well as the fetus, thyroid hormone is all the more vital for the overall growth as well as development of all their tissues, counting the bones and also the brain. On the other hand, thyroid hormone facilitates in maintaining the functioning of the brain, body temperature, metabolism of the ingested foods and several others in adults.

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Precisely speaking, the drug levothyroxine is basically a substitute for a hormone produced and released by the thyroid gland, which is responsible for controlling the metabolism and energy of our body. This drug is prescribed for people whose thyroid gland itself does not produce adequate amounts of the hormone thyroxine (T4).

Levothyroxine is useful for treating hypothyroidism, which is also called low thyroid hormone. In addition, levothyroxine is also given to prevent or treat goiter (a condition wherein the thyroid gland distends), which may be a result of hormone imbalances, a surgery, radiation therapy, or even cancer.

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Here is a word of caution: levothyroxine should never be used to cure problems related to excessive weight or obesity.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking levothyroxine

As in the case of any other prescription drugs, before starting treatment with levothyroxine, you need to inform your physician or pharmacist if you have any allergic reactions to this drug, any of its ingredients or have any other forms of allergy. This medication is likely to enclose a number of inactive elements that may result in allergic reactions or different additional problems. Therefore, if you are not certain about the ingredients of levothyroxine, it is advisable that you ask your pharmacist to provide you with a list of the same.

Prior to using levothyroxine, also tell your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you are suffering from thyrotoxicosis (a condition wherein there is excessive production and release of hormones from the thyroid gland), high blood pressure (hypertension), any heart ailment (for instance, coronary heart disease), declining functioning of the adrenal gland, and/ or diabetes.

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If you need to undergo a surgery, including a dental surgery, while taking levothyroxine, you should tell your surgeon or dentist that you are already taking this drug. In addition, tell your physician about all the prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal medicines and dietary supplements you are already taking.

As per available information, levothyroxine may be used by women during pregnancy. Nevertheless, before you start taking this medication, you should tell your physician if you are pregnant, as your dosage of levothyroxine may require some alteration. Although it has been found that levothyroxine passes onto the breast milk, it is not harmful for the nursing baby. Nevertheless, women taking this drug should consult their physician before breast-feeding and also learn about the risks and benefits of taking levothyroxine in this condition.

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Usage

The synthetic drug levothyroxine is mainly used to cure a condition called underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. This drug is a substitution for a thyroid hormone called thyroxine (T4) or provides the patient with more of this hormone when his/ her thyroid gland is unable to produce and discharge the requisite amount. In effect, the thyroid gland may produce less of this hormone quite naturally or when the thyroid gland is impaired owing to radiation therapy; ailments, such as cancer; or when it is totally removed by means of surgery. It is vital to have sufficient amount of this thyroid hormone because it facilitates in sustaining the usual physical as well as cerebral activities. In fact, it is all the more important that children have more of this thyroid hormone because it is vital for their physical and mental growth. In addition, levothyroxine is also employed to prevent as well as cure some additional types of thyroid problems, for instance, specific types of goiters and even thyroid cancers. It is important to note that this drug should never be employed to treat certain conditions like infertility unless it is attributable to low levels of thyroid hormone. You should also not use levothyroxine to treat weight related problems or obesity.

How to use levothyroxine

Levothyroxine is available in a tablet form and it is taken orally. Normally, this medication is taken once every day on an empty stomach and about 30 minutes to an hour prior to taking your breakfast. Before taking levothyroxine, it is essential that you should read the instruction on the prescription label of the medication thoroughly and in case of having any difficulty in understanding any point or having any question, ask your physician or pharmacist to clear them. It is very important that you take levothyroxine strictly as recommended by your physician. Never take the medication in excessive or lower dosage or more frequently than what has been prescribed, as it will not help to improve your condition.

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Occasionally, levothyroxine tablets may be stuck in the throat or even lead to suffocation or gagging and, hence, it is advisable that you always take the medication will a full glass (8 oz) of water.

In case this medication is being administered to a baby or a child who is unable to gulp down the tablet, you may crush it and make a dense solution with two teaspoons of water. This mixture may then be given to the infant or child using a spoon or a dropper immediately after crushing the tablet. Only use water to mix the powdered tablet; no other liquid should be used. You should also not mix the tablet with soybean infant formula or any food. Never store this mixture and use it afterward.

It is likely that your physician will begin your treatment with a low dosage of levothyroxine and increase the dose slowly. It is important to note that although levothyroxine helps to contain hypothyroidism, this medication does not cure the condition. The benefits of using levothyroxine are not evident immediately, but it takes many weeks for the symptoms to improve. It is important to continue taking this medication and complete the total regimen even after you start feeling better. You should never discontinue with this medication without consulting your physician or without his/ her consent.

How levothyroxine works

The man-made or synthetic drug levothyroxine works inside the body in the form of a substitute of the natural thyroid hormone thyroxin (T4) that helps in the development and growth of all cells of all tissues in the body and also increases the pace of metabolism.

Side effects

Serious:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
The use of the herb horseradish root is likely to make the hypothyroidism (low thyroid) worse or may even make the effect of treatment with levothyroxine dull. If you are taking calcium supplements, you should take it either no less than four hours before or after taking levothyroxine. Consumption of cabbage and iodine is likely to make the goiters further worse and also aggravate hypothyroidism. In addition, gamma oryzanol (which is taken out from rice bran oil) has the aptitude to lower the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and alter the results of blood tests. Tiratricol is a naturally occurring product of a metabolic action of thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Hypothetically, this metabolite of thyroxine and triiodothyronine may possibly augment the negative actions as well as effects of herbs like bungleweed, balm leaf and wild thyme. Hence, while undergoing treatment with levothyroxine, it is advisable that you consult your physician before adding any herbal product to your existing list of medications.
Foods:
There are endless formulas for nutritional support that enclose soybeans and taking them may possible enhance the elimination of thyroxine along with the stools.
Exposure to heat:
Levothyroxine may possible lessen the tolerance of people taking this medication to warm surroundings, thereby, augmenting the uneasiness to them owing to heat. Therefore, contact your physician right away in case you notice any symptoms of excessive dose of the medication during the relatively warm months of the year.
Heavy exercise or exertion:
People who are suffering from angina (coronary heart disease) should exercise addition caution while undergoing treatment with levothyroxine. This medication has the potential to augment the frequency or even the acuteness of angina when the sufferers engage in rigorous exercise or tiring physical activities.

Discontinuation

Levothyroxine should always be taken on a regular basis with a view to rectify the deficiency of the natural thyroid hormone thyroxin (T4) in the body. You should never stop taking this medication all of a sudden and without consulting your physician and taking his/ her consent.

Storage instructions

Levothyroxine should always be stored in the container in which the medication came in. Seal the lid of the container firmly and keep it in a place that is beyond the reach of children. Always store this medication at room temperature and at a dark and dry place. Never keep this medication in your bathroom. When any medication becomes outdated or is no longer needed, discard it in a safe and proper manner. It is advisable that you consult your pharmacist regarding the appropriate and safe manner of disposing the unwanted medications.

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