Levothyroxine is a thyroid hormone supplement. This is used to treat an underactive thyroid gland or also called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain crucial hormones. Though it may not cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, if hypothyroidism left untreated, it can cause several health problems. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism such as weight gain or fatigue. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious problems. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Puffy face
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle aches, stiffness, and tenderness
  • Elevate blood cholesterol
  • Thinning hair
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Impaired memory
  • Depression
  • Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Stiffness, pain, or swelling in your joints

Although hypothyroidism most often affects middle-aged and older women anyone can develop the condition. When your thyroid does not make enough hormones, the balance of chemical reactions in your body can be upset. Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped situated at the base of the front of your neck. Hypothyroidism may be due to several factors including

  • Over-response to hypothyroidism treatment
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Radiation therapy
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Medications

Levothyroxine is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This drug replaces or provides more thyroid hormone which is normally made by the thyroid gland. Low thyroid hormone levels can occur naturally. Having enough thyroid hormone is important for normal mental and physical activity. In children, having enough thyroid hormone is important for mental and physical development.

How does Levothyroxine work?
Levothyroxine is the same as the natural hormone thyroxine. It is usually produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland normally produces and releases two thyroid hormones; thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). T3 is the more active thyroid hormone and thyroxine is converted into T3 in some parts of the body. These hormones are responsible for maintaining a normal rate of metabolism in the body. When the thyroid gland is unable to make normal amounts of thyroxine, the levels of both thyroid hormones in the blood lessens. This is known as hypothyroidism. It results in a reduced rate of metabolism which leads to symptoms of intolerance to cold and tiredness.

The drug works by replacing the thyroxine that would normally be produced naturally by your thyroid gland. This returns levels of T3 and T4 to normal. Once the thyroid gland becomes unable to make thyroxine, it will generally not return to normal function. This means that once thyroxine replacement is started, it usually needs to be taken for the rest of a person’s life.

How to use Levothyroxine?
Take Levothyroxine by mouth usually once a day on an empty stomach. It may be 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast. This medication may be taken first by mixing it in water or maybe taken directly. To take it by mixing in water, open the ampule as directed. Empty the contents of it into a glass of water. Stir the solution and drink all of the liquid right away. Rinse the glass with more water and drink to make sure you have taken all the medicine. Do not prepare a supply ahead of time.

The dosage is based on your condition, age, weight, and response. Use this drug regularly and take it at the same time each day. Do not suddenly stop the treatment without the consent of your doctor. If you missed a dose, call your doctor at once. Do not twice the dosage to make up the missed dose.

What are the side effects of Levothyroxine?

  • Skin rash
  • Partial hair loss
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Leg cramps
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Call your doctor at once if you have the following:
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast or irregular heartbeats
  • Tremors or if you feel unusually cold
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Leg cramps
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling depressed or irritable
  • Memory problems
  • Feeling nervous
  • Diarhea
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight changes
  • Changes in your menstrual periods
  • Fever
  • Hot flashes and sweating

Warnings and Precautions

  • You will need to have regular blood tests to monitor your thyroid hormone levels while taking this medication. This helps your doctor to prescribe the correct dose to get your thyroid hormones into the normal range. It may take a few weeks to establish the dose that works for you.
  • If you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug, let your doctor know right away. Tell as well as your doctor if you have any allergies.
  • People over 50 years old, with a long-standing history of low thyroxine levels, heart disease, high blood pressure, decreased function of the adrenal glands, and with diabetes Miletus, this drug needs extra monitoring.
  • Calcium and iron supplements can also lessen the absorption of your Levothyroxine. If you need to take one of these or if you take a multivitamin that has iron or calcium, it is best not to take it for at least 2 hours after taking this drug.
  • Drive, operate machinery or do activities carefully especially if you do not know yet how these drugs affect you.
  • If you are planning to become pregnant, pregnant, or breastfeeding, call your doctor right away for consent on taking this medication.
  • If you have diabetes, this drug may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any medications including vitamins or herbal supplements.
  • Do not share this medication with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.