Levothroid
DESCRIPTION

Levothroid is the brand name of the generic medication levothyroxine. It is used to treat hormone imbalances in the thyroid gland. It is as a hormone replacement therapy.

How it works

Thyroxin and tri-iodothyronine which are hormones produced by the thyroid gland are important for the maintenance of energy and metabolism in your body. The condition in which these hormones are not produced enough in your body is known as Hypothyroidism. Subsequently, it reduces metabolism and leads to problems like weight gain and weakness of the immune system. Levothroid is a synthetic hormone that matches Thyroxin and tri-iodothyronine and it works by performing the same functions as these hormones in your body.

When a person is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, this medication is usually prescribed to be taken for the rest of that person’s life since the thyroid gland is unable to produce hormones.

Uses

Levothroid treats underactive thyroid glands (hypothyroidism). It is also prescribed to treat and prevent goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland).


Dosage

The dosage of Levothroid depends on the patient’s age, body weight, capacity of drug tolerance, health problems and cardiovascular status.

Levothroid works best when it is taken on an empty stomach. It is usually taken once a day 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast. Results of this drug will start to manifest after 4 to 6 weeks of continuous intake.

The dose recommended for adults who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism only recently is 1.7 mcg/kg per day. Patients above 50 with hypothyroidism who also have underlying cardiac problems are recommended a dose of 25-50 mcg per day.

Persons with severe hypothyroidism should take a dose of 12.5-25 mcg per day and introduce increments of 25 mcg to the dose every 2 to 4 weeks.
The pediatric dose for infants is 10-15 mcg per day. The dose can be increased in a month as advised by your doctor. For children, the dose is usually adjusted according to body weight and age. The older they get, the smaller the dose is.

Side effects

Many who take Levothroid do not experience side effects. However, a small percentage of patients experience side effects such as:

Hair loss
Headaches
Hot flashes
Nausea
Diarrhea
Chest pain
Excessive sweating
Rapid heart beats
Weight changes
Anxiety
Insomnia
Shortness of breath
Shaking
Swelling of ankles
Seizures

These side effects are not to be overlooked. If you experience any of them after taking Levothroid, seek medical care immediately.

Precautions

Before prescribing Levothroid to you, there are several health conditions your doctor should be aware of. They are:

Other thyroid disorders
Heart disease
History of blood clots
Diabetes
Allergies
Adrenal gland disorder which is untreated
Symptoms of a heart attack
Anemia

Inform your doctor if you have undergone radiation treatment with iodine in the recent past.

Avoid taking other medicines that contain the following ingredients when using Levothroid.

Calcium carbonate
Cholestyramine
Sucralfate
Antacids with magnesium such as Gaviscon, Milk of Magnesia or Mylanta.
Ferrous sulfate

Self-care

This medication is not known to harm your baby if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Therefore, unless your doctor instructs you, do not terminate the use of Levothroid.

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