Levothyroxine Sodium Tablets

Levothyroxine Sodium is used for the treatment of an underactive thyroid or called hypothyroidism. Low levels of thyroid hormone can happen naturally or when the thyroid gland is injured by medications or radiation. This replaces or provides more thyroid hormone which is normally produced by the thyroid gland. Consuming sufficient thyroid hormone is important for maintaining normal mental and physical activity. In children, having enough thyroid hormone is important for physical and normal mental development. 

Hypothyroidism is an illness wherein your thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain crucial hormones. This condition may not cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. But, over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause several health problems like joint pain, obesity, and heart disease. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency.

Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms may include:

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

Levothyroxine Sodium is in the class of drugs called hormone. This is the same as the natural hormone thyroxine. It is normally produced by the thyroid gland. This is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Levothyroxine Sodium may also be used to treat other types of thyroid disorders such as thyroid cancer or goiters. This is supplied as tablets for oral use. Each tablet has the strengths of:

  • 25 mcg
  • 50 mcg
  • 75 mcg
  • 88 mcg
  • 100 mcg
  • 112 mcg
  • 125 mcg
  • 137 mcg
  • 150 mcg
  • 175 mcg
  • 200 mcg
  • 300 mcg

How does Levothyroxine Sodium work?

Levothyroxine Sodium is similar to natural hormone thyroxine which is normally produced by the thyroid gland. 

The thyroid gland usually creates and releases two thyroid hormones which are the thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). T3 is the more active thyroid hormone and T4 is converted into T3 in several parts of the body. These hormones are accountable for preserving a regular rate of metabolism in the body. If the thyroid gland is incapable to create normal quantities of thyroxine, the levels of both thyroid hormones in the blood drop. This is known as hypothyroidism. It results in a reduced rate of metabolism which leads to symptoms such as tiredness, weight gain, and intolerance to cold.

Levothyroxine Sodium tablets work by replacing the thyroxine that would normally be produced naturally by your thyroid gland. This returns levels of T3 and T4 to normal. 

How to use Levothyroxine Sodium Tablets?

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Levothyroxine Sodium is to be taken by mouth as directed by your doctor. It is usually once a day taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast. Take the tablet with a full glass of water if your doctor directs you otherwise. If you are taking the tablet form of this medication, swallow it whole. Do not crush, split, or chew. People who cannot swallow the capsule whole should use the tablet form of the medication. 

For infants or children who cannot swallow whole tablets, crush the tablet and mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons of water and give using a spoon or dropper right away. Do not make a supply in advance or mix the tablet in soy infant formula. For more information, consult your doctor. 

Take it at the same time each day to help you remember. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Do not stop taking this prescription without first consulting with your doctor. Thyroid replacement treatment is usually taken for life. 

What are the possible side effects of Levothyroxine Sodium?

Common side effects:

  • Hot flashes
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Changes in menstrual periods
  • Temporary hair loss 
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Increased heart rate or pulse rate 

Call your doctor right away if these occur:

  • Heart attack symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain, discomfort in your upper body)
  • Heart failure symptoms (extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, swelling in your ankles, legs, or feet, and unexpected weight gain)
  • Very fast heart rate
  • Irregular heart rhythm

Warnings and Precautions

  • While taking this medication, you will need to have regular blood tests to monitor your thyroid hormone levels. 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. 
  • Levothyroxine Sodium can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help avoid interactions, your doctor must manage all of your medications carefully. Make sure to tell your doctor about the medications, vitamins, or herbs you are taking. 
  • Before taking this drug, let your doctor know if you are allergic to it. Tell as well if you have any allergies. This product may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. 
  • Inform your doctor if you have a medical history of increased thyroid hormones, decreased adrenal gland function, high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. 
  • This drug may affect your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly as directed. Share the results with your doctor. 
  • Before having any surgery, tell your doctor about all the products you use including non-prescription or prescription drugs and herbal products. 
  • Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially irregular heartbeat.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding women. 
  • If there are any signs of an overdose, call for medical assistance right away. 
  • Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction; difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of your tongue, face, lips, and throat.