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Levothroid Side Effects

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Levothroid - like any prescription drug in the market - may cause some side effects. Find out what they are before starting your treatment.

levothroid tabLevothroid or levothyroxine sodium tablets are prescribed for people suffering from hypothyroidism. The product contains levothyroxine or synthetic T4, which is identical to the T4 hormone produced by the human thyroid gland.

While Levothroid mimics a naturally occurring hormone in the body, it can still cause unwanted side effects.

Why Does Levothroid Cause Side Effects?

This may leave you wondering, if Levothroid is identical to the T4 hormone in the body, then why is there a possibility of unwanted side effects? 

Well, thyroxine or the T4 hormone may be natural to the body. However, because it plays such an important role in our metabolism and energy consumption, getting too much or too little of the hormone can be dangerous. This is exactly why people suffer from the ill effects of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism when their body produces too much or does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

Thus, the side effects of Levothroid – or any other thyroid replacement medication, for that matter – are usually caused by taking too much or too little of the drug.

The occurrences of side effects do not really happen to majority of Levothroid users, but still there are some rare cases when they can occur. 

What Are The Side Effects of Levothroid?

headacheFirst, Levothroid may trigger an allergic reaction from the patient. Allergic reactions are rare, but they can happen.

While hypersensitivity to the T4 hormone is not possible, some inactive ingredients in the drug might illicit an allergic response. The symptoms of allergic reaction to Levothroid are quite similar to how the body would react to an allergic reaction with other drugs or food.  Some symptoms to look out for are rashes, hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of the mouth and throat area.

Aside from allergic reactions, other side effects you need to look out for are usually associated with taking too much Levothroid. These symptoms include:

Anxiety, nervousness and irritability
Sweating, fever, hot flashes
Changes in menstrual period
Appetite changes, weight loss
Palpitations and difficulty breathing

While some of the side effects like appetite changes and headaches are not really that severe, other side effects like palpitations and difficulty breathing can be quite dangerous. If you are taking Levothroid and notice even just one of the many possible symptoms – contact your doctor right away. Your body may be getting more levothyroxine than what it actually needs.

Under-replacement, or taking in too little of the drug does not really cause side effects. However, taking too little will not improve hypothyroidism at all; hence you may still continue to experience the symptoms of the condition.

Aside from taking too much or taking too little of Levothroid, some pre-existing conditions or some medications may also cause interactions which can produce side effects similar to the ones mentioned above.

How To Prevent Side Effects

Because most of the side effects associated with Levothroid are caused by over-replacement, under-replacement or interactions with other drugs and medication, minimizing the risk of Levothroid side effects is something that can be done.

First, you should always take the right dose. There is no specific dosage when it comes to thyroid hormone replacement, so your doctor will have to determine how much you need by looking at your weight, height, age, lab results and the severity of your condition.

Once your doctor identifies the right dosage for you, make sure that you take the exact dose every day. Never increase or decrease your dose without the consent of your doctor.

Second, inform your doctor about any pre-existing conditions that you might have. Likewise, let him know about other drugs or pills that you may be taking.

regular check-upBecause some drugs cause an interaction with Levothroid or interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the synthetic T4 hormone, doctors usually suggest that patients take Levothroid first thing in the morning. This allows your body time to fully absorb the hormone. If you are taking other drugs or medication, you can safely take them at least four hours after taking Levothroid.

Lastly, never miss your regular check-ups. Your doctor will have to see how you are responding to the medication to determine if you need to take retain your current dose or increase or decrease your intake of Levothroid.

Next Article: Thyroid Health | How to Boost T3 and T4 Levels