Levothyroxine is the drug most often prescribed to sufferers of low thyroid function. It is a synthetic form of Thyroxine, the thyroid hormone that controls your metabolic processes and influences physical development.
If your doctor prescribes you Levothyroxine, be sure to read the accompanying leaflet and follow your doctor’s advice. However, here is some basic information on how to take it, how it works and possible side effects.
Levothyroxine is a form of Hormone Replacement Therapy. While you may associate that more with menopause, all it really means is topping up your body’s levels of a certain hormone when it is running low.
Whatever type of Hypothyroidism you have, it all results in the same thing – a deficiency in the Thyroxine hormone. This is what causes the low energy, fatigue, depression or whatever other symptom of Hypothyroidism that you may have.
Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone that ‘tops up’ your body’s supply of Thyroxine. With the deficiency cured, your symptoms should hopefully go away.
The usual advice is to take Levothyroxine once a day and on an empty stomach. The best time is before breakfast. However you should follow your physician’s advice.
Your doctor may also start you on a lower dose of Levothyroxine to see how you react, before moving you on to a more appropriate dosage.
Side effects of Levothyroxine may include nervousness, headaches, insomnia, weight loss or swelling of the legs and ankles. A more serious, allergic reaction may precipitate breathing difficulties or swelling of the face and tongue.
Thyroid medicine may also make your other medications act differently. This is because the thyroid directly affects the way that your body breaks down chemicals. Typically, Hypothyroidism reduces the effect of drugs on your body.
If you are suffering from any side effects, it is always advisable to consult your doctor.
You might see this synthetic hormone replacement under a different name. It is variously known under the following brands:
Liothyronine is a synthetic hormone used to replace the most potent thyroid hormone, Triiodothyronine (T3).
Liotrix is unique in that it contains synthetic versions of both the main thyroid hormones, T3 and T4.
The thyroid hormone in these products is completely natural, and actually comes from pigs. Many patients prefer this to the idea of synthetic drugs.
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