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Synthroid (Levothyroxine) Medication: General Information

  • Date: 2015/12/16
  • Thomas C. Weiss - Disabled World
  • Synopsis : Information regarding the drug Synthroid, administered when the human thyroid gland does not produce enough of this hormone on its own.

Main Document

Synthroid or, 'levothyroxine,' in its generic form, is a replacement for a hormone usually produced by a person's thyroid gland to regulate their body's metabolism and energy. Synthroid is administered when a person's thyroid does not produce enough of this hormone on its own. Synthroid treats, 'hypothyroidism,' or low thyroid hormone. The medication is also used to prevent or treat goiter, which may be caused by hormone imbalances, surgery, radiation treatment, or cancer.

Synthroid is defined as a prescription medication used to help treat hypothyroidism. The active ingredient in Synthroid is called levothyroxine sodium. Synthroid is prescribed to help restore thyroid hormone balance. It is a man-made thyroid hormone identical to thyroxine, the hormone that’s naturally made by the thyroid gland. Generally, thyroid replacement medication is to be taken for life.

A person might not be able to take Synthroid if they have certain medical conditions. It is important to inform a doctor if you have an untreated or uncontrolled adrenal gland disorder a thyroid disorder called, 'thyrotoxicosis,' or if you have any recent or current symptoms of a heart attack. The medication should not be used to treat obesity or weight issues. Dangerous side-effects or death may occur from the misuse of Synthroid, particularly if you are taking any other weight-loss medications or appetite suppressants.

Since thyroid hormone occurs naturally in a person's body, nearly anyone can take Synthroid. You may not; however, be able to take this medication if you have certain medical conditions. To ensure that Synthroid is safe for you, it is important to tell a doctor if you have:

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • A recent heart attack
  • A history of blood clots
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Any food or drug allergies
  • Symptoms of a heart attack
  • Issues with your pituitary gland
  • A thyroid disorder called, 'thyrotoxicosis'
  • Recently received radiation therapy with iodine
  • Untreated or uncontrolled adrenal gland disorder

Synthroid and Children

Synthroid is not expected to harm an unborn child. If you become pregnant while taking Synthroid, do not stop taking the medication without a doctor's approval. Having low thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy might harm both the mother and her child. A woman's dose of Synthroid may be different during pregnancy.

Synthroid may pass into breast milk, yet it is not expected to be harmful to a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without informing a doctor if you are breast feeding a child. Your dosage needs might be different while you are nursing.

Taking Synthroid

Take Synthroid precisely as prescribed by a doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. For me, this meant taking a smaller amount of the medication, then building up to therapeutic levels. A doctor might occasionally change your dose to make sure you receive the best results. Do not take Synthroid in larger or smaller amounts, or for a longer period of time than recommended.

Do not share Synthroid with another person, even if they are experiencing the same symptoms you are. The medication works best if you take it on an empty stomach, at least a half-hour before breakfast. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions and attempt to take the medication at the same time every day. Bear in mind that while taking Synthroid, you might need frequent medical tests.

Inform any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using Synthroid. Store the medication at room temperature and keep it away from heat and moisture. It might take several weeks before your body begins to respond to the medication. Keep using Synthroid, even if you feel well. You might need to use this medication for the remainder of your life to replace the thyroid hormone your body is unable to produce.

If you miss a dose of Synthroid, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is nearly time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take additional medication to make up a missed dose.

If you overdose on Synthroid, pursue emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help Line at: 1-800-222-1222. The symptoms of a Synthroid overdose include:

  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling nervous or irritable
  • Fast or pounding heart beats

Certain medications may make Synthroid less effective if taken at the same time. If you use any of the following drugs, avoid taking them within four hours before or four hours after you take Synthroid:

  • Colestipol
  • Sucralfate
  • Cholestyramine
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Sodium polystyrene sulfonate
  • Ferrous sulfate iron supplement
  • Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum

It is also important to avoid certain food products which may make your body absorb less Synthroid such as cotton seed meal, infant soy formula, high-fiber foods and walnuts.

Synthroid Side-Effects

Pursue emergency medical assistance if you have any of the following signs of an allergic reaction to Synthroid. The signs of an allergic reaction to Synthroid include:

  • Hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep issues
  • Weight changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Fast or irregular heart rate
  • Hot flashes, fever, or sweating
  • Changes in your menstrual periods
  • Swelling of your face, lips, throat or tongue

Common side-effects of Synthroid might include mild hair loss. The list above is not a complete list of side-effects and others may occur. Contact a doctor for medical advice concerning side-effects.

Additional Drugs Which Affect Synthroid

A number of other medications may be affected by your thyroid hormone levels. Additional medications may also increase or decrease the effects of Synthroid. Many drugs can interact with Synthroid and not all possible interactions are presented in this article. Inform your doctor about all medications you take, begin using, or stop taking during your treatment with Synthroid. Things to tell your doctor about include prescribed, over-the-counter, vitamin and herbal products. Give a list of all your medications to any health care provider who treats you for any condition.

Learn More

  • Synthroid
  • Synthroid Side Effects
  • What Is Levothyroxine (Synthroid)?

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