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Levothyroxine

Levothyroxine is a medicine, licensed by Wockhardt, which is used to treat low levels of thyroid hormones.

You can renew your prescription and buy levothyroxine online, you can do so through our online service.

Instock
Dosage
Levothyroxine 25mcg
Levothyroxine 50mcg
Levothyroxine 100mcg
+
Package-type
28 Tablets
£39.99
56 Tablets
£49.99
28 Tablets
£39.99
56 Tablets
£49.99
28 Tablets
£39.99
56 Tablets
£49.99
+
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About Product

What is levothyroxine?

Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormonal treatment which increases the level of hormones in those with an underactive thyroid. 

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the base of the neck. It has two lobes (the butterflies wings) which are connected by tissue in the middle called the Isthmus (the butterflies body).

Primarily, the thyroid converts a chemical we ingest called iodine into two hormones - triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are pumped straight into the bloodstream.

A gland in the brain called the hypothalamus monitors the blood level of the T3 and T4 hormones. If it seems there isn't enough of the hormones in the blood, the three glands work in tandem to increase them. 

Upon receiving feedback that the blood level of hormones is low, the hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormones (TRH).

TRH triggers the pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) which, as the name suggests, stimulates the thyroid to produce more hormones. 

Hypothyroidism is the name given to an impairment in the function of these mechanisms. There are three types of hypothyroidism:

  • Primary hypothyroidism - the thyroid itself produces an insufficient amount of T3 and T4 hormones
  • Secondary hypothyroidism - the pituitary gland fails to produce TSH
  • Tertiary hypothyroidism - the hypothalamus fails to produce TRH (also known as euthyroid sick syndrome or Pickardt-Fahlbusch syndrome)

Primary hypothyroidism can be caused by surgery, during which the thyroid is damaged, or as a result of an autoimmune disease, which is more often the case. Autoimmune diseases cause the bodies natural defence system to attack healthy tissue and cells. If the immune system attacks and damages the thyroid, it can reduce the function of the thyroid. 

Levothyroxine contains synthesised versions of T3 and T4 which increase the blood level of the hormone and reduce symptoms.

The thyroid is an important organ in the body which is responsible for the regulating metabolic and cardiovascular functions. The effect these hormones ranges from increasing the heart rate and strength, regulating cholesterol levels and appetite.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can take a long time to develop. But these symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Muscle aches
  • Sensitivity to the cold
  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Slowing of movements and thoughts
  • Muscle aches, weakness and cramps
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Pain, numbness and tingling sensation in the hand and fingers
  • Irregular or heavy periods

The condition is usually diagnosed following a blood test which looks for the blood level of the T3 and T4 hormones.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to complications such as heart problems, mental health issues, peripheral neuropathy, infertility and myxoedema.


How does levothyroxine work?

Levothyroxine works to replace the hormones which your thyroid gland produces, known as T3 and T4. During treatment, regular blood tests will need to be taken. This is to determine the right dosage and to monitor your condition.

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 develop.


How do I take levothyroxine?

Levothyroxine should be taken once in the morning before food or caffeinated beverages, as these can affect the thyroid.

Swallow one capsule with a glass of water. Do not cut or crush the capsule.

Always follow the doctor's instructions.

Always read the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medicine before taking levothyroxine.


Levothyroxine side effects and cautions

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:

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fits
  • Heart failure
  • Jaundice
  • Low blood pressure
  • Very high temperature

What should I do if I experience an allergic reaction?

If you experience signs of an allergic reaction to levothyroxine, stop taking the medicine and go straight to the hospital if you have:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • General feeling of malaise
  • Joint pains
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Severe itching with raised lumps
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, lips and throat

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:

  • Are taking medicine for diabetes, such as insulin or tablets
  • Are taking blood-thinning medicine (warfarin)

Will Levothyroxine be affected by any of the medicines I currently take?

Some medications 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.


Frequently asked questions about levothyroxine

How soon does levothyroxine begin to work?

It usually takes between 7 and 10 days for the levothyroxine to be absorbed by the cells. However, it can take many weeks before improvements will become noticeable.

What happens if I stop taking levothyroxine?

You should not stop taking levothyroxine without the doctor's consent. If you stop taking the medicine, you may pose risks to your health such as:

  • Change in sex drive
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Infertility
  • Low body temperature
  • Memory problems
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Weight gain

What should I do if I take more levothyroxine than I should?

Taking too much levothyroxine can lead to symptoms of an overactive thyroid. These symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Sweating

You should never take more levothyroxine than your doctor prescribes.

What should I do if I forget to take levothyroxine?

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.

Will it affect my contraception?

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.

How long will I need to take levothyroxine?

You will need to take levothyroxine indefinitely. Ceasing treatment early will most likely cause your symptoms to return.

Is it safe to take levothyroxine for a long time?

Yes, it is safe to take levothyroxine for a long period, so long as you follow your doctors prescription.


Table of contents

What is levothyroxine?

How does levothyroxine work?

How to take levothyroxine?

Levothyroxine side effects and cautions

Frequently asked questions

References

http://www.thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/diagnosis/getting_diagnosis.html

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/underactive-thyroid-hypothyroidism/

Treatment information

  • Product Name: Levothyroxine
  • Active Ingredients: Thyroxine and triiodothyronine
  • Manufacturer: Wockhardt
  • Administration: Oral
  • Presentation: Tablets
  • Available Strength: 25, 50, 100mcg
  • Exemption: Subject to medical prescription
  • Application: Men and women over 18 with a diagnosed underactive thyroid
  • Dosage: Take one tablet every morning without food
  • Description: Levothyroxine is a prescribed treatment for an underactive thyroid
  • Drug Class: Synthetic hormone
  • Alcohol Consumption: No influence
  • When Pregnant: Safe to take while pregnant. Please inform your prescriber if you are pregnant
  • When Breastfeeding: Safe to take while breastfeeding. Please inform your prescriber if you are breastfeeding
Click here to view the Levothyroxine - Patient Information Leaflet