Levothyroxine is a medicine, licensed by Wockhardt, which is used to treat low levels of thyroid hormones.
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Levothyroxine is a medicine used to treat those with an underactive thyroid.
The thyroid gland is located in your neck and is responsible for the regulation of hormones called thyroxine and triiodothyronine - also known as T4 and T3 respectively.
An underactive thyroid is often caused by an autoimmune disease. This causes the immune system, the body's natural defense mechanism, to fight tissues and cells within the body. When attacked by the immune system, the thyroid gland can become damaged and produce less of the necessary hormones.
The symptoms of an underactive thyroid can take a long time to develop.But these symptoms can include:
The condition is usually diagnosed following a blood test.
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to complications such as heart problems, mental health issues, peripheral neuropathy, infertility and myxoedema.
Levothyroxine works to replace the hormones which your thyroid gland produces, known as thyroxine. During the course of treatment, regular blood tests will need to be taken. This is to determine the right dosage and to make sure the treatment is working for you.
Once the right dosage has been achieved, you will need further blood tests to ensure the treatment is working effectively.
It is possible to have an underactive thyroid without exhibiting any symptoms, though treatment is not usually given in these circumstances. However, treatment may be suggested if symptoms occur.
Levothyroxine should be taken once in the morning before food or caffeinated beverages, as these can effect the thyroid.
Swallow one capsule with a glass of water. Do not cut or crush the capsule.
Always follow the doctors instructions.
Always read the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medicine before taking levothyroxine.
Levothyroxine doesn't tend to cause adverse effects unless the recommended dose is exceeded.
Some people may experience an adverse reaction to high levels of thyroid hormone. This is called a "Thyroid crisis" and can cause:
If you experience signs of an allergic reaction to levothyroxine, stop taking the medicine and go straight to the hospital if you have:
If you are concerned about any of the risks listed above, do not hesitate to contact your GP or doctor about your treatment.
Speak to your doctor before taking levothyroxine if you:
Some medicine can affect the amount of levothyroxine your body absorbs. These include:
If you are or planning on becoming pregnant, speak to your doctor before taking levothyroxine. It is generally regarded as safe to breastfeed while taking levothyroxine. Always read the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medicine before taking it.
Levothyroxine should not impact your ability to drive or operate machinery.
For more information regarding the safety of this medicine, we urge you to read the patient information leaflet.
If you experience any side effects of this medication, you can report your side effects to the Yellow Card Scheme.
It usually takes between 7 to 10 days for the levothyroxine to be absorbed by the cells. However, it can take many weeks before improvements will become noticeable.
You should not stop taking levothyroxine without the doctors consent. If you stop taking the medicine, you may pose risks to your health such as:
Taking too much levothyroxine can lead to symptoms of an overactive thyroid. These symptoms may include:
You should never take more levothyroxine than your doctor prescribes.
If you forget to take your dose of levothyroxine, take it as soon as you remember.
If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your treatment as normal.
Do not double dose to make up for the missed dose.
Hormonal contraceptive pills which contain oestrogen can affect the levels of levothyroxine in your body.
Your doctor may need to change your dosage of levothyroxine if you start or stop taking contraceptive pills.
You will need to take levothyroxine indefinitely. Ceasing treatment early will most likely cause your symptoms to return.
Yes, it is safe to take levothyroxine for a long period of time, so long as you follow your doctors prescription.
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