Example Of Titrating Off Of Thyroid Medication: What It Looks Like
To illustrate how this might look for you, lets create two different scenarios:
Lets imagine you are someone who is taking 100mcg of levothyroxine. In this case, you have been taking levothyroxine for 2-3 years and you are using it for hypothyroidism of unknown cause .
Because youve only been taking thyroid medication for 2-3 years and because you are taking levothyroxine, you can try to get off of your thyroid medication using the standard approach.
This is what it would look like for you:
- Start by taking thyroid support supplements for 2-3 months before you attempt to reduce your dose
- After 2-3 months of using your thyroid supplements, you would reduce your dose of levothyroxine down to 75mcg
- After 2 weeks you would then decrease your dose down to 50mcg
- After another 2 weeks you would reduce your dose down to 25mcg
- After another 2 weeks you would then reduce your dose down to 0mcg
- Allow your body 2-4 weeks to acclimate before rechecking your labs
- *Note: you should recheck your labs at the 6 week mark or if you experience a sudden or abrupt worsening in your thyroid symptoms
In this example, you would be able to completely come off of your thyroid medication in about a 6 week period.
Because levothyroxine stays in the system for about 1 month ), you will still have some residual thyroid hormone floating around in your body for 4 weeks after you completely go off of your thyroid medication.
Lets use another example.
Starting Or Stopping Other Medication Without Talking To Your Doctor
Some medication will affect the way your thyroid hormone is absorbed, including birth control pills, estrogen, testosterone, seizure drugs, and some depression medication, according to the American Thyroid Association . That doesnt mean you cant take these other drugs but if you do, make sure your doctor is aware. It will likely just take some trial and error to find the effective dose of thyroid hormone youll need as a result, Bianco says. Likewise, any time you stop taking these drugs or make any changes, your thyroid hormone dose may need to be adjusted, and you should see your healthcare provider then, too.
How Well Are You Absorbing Your Thyroid Medication
Certain foods, medications, or health conditions can cause you to absorb your thyroid hormone poorly, effectively lowering your dose.
According to a 2017 research review, the following can decrease your ability to absorb the thyroid hormone levothyroxine :
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and H. pylori infection.
- Certain medications: cholestyramine, colesevelam, ciprofloxacin, aluminum hydroxide, sevelamer, or proton pump inhibitors
- Certain supplements: calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium acetate, and iron sulfate
Vitamin C was found to increase thyroid medication absorption.
The treatment of GI disorders can lead to increased absorption of thyroid medication. This can also happen when you change your medication or even your diet.
Better absorption can lead to too much thyroid hormone. If you take a medication like Synthroid and notice symptoms of hyperthyroidism , have your doctor test your thyroid hormone levels.
For patients who cannot resolve the reason for poor medication absorption, liquid T4 may be a better choice than standard T4 medication.
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How To Tell If Your Dose Is Too High
Another issue to watch out for is accidental overdosing of your medication.
Believe it or not, this can happen either accidentally or intentionally and is probably more common than people realize.
But it is something that you want to avoid because overdosing on your thyroid medication can lead to long-term consequences if you aren’t careful.
Some patients have been chronically underdosed with standard T4 medications for many years and, when they finally feel better on Armour thyroid, may think that they need more medication than they really do.
Persistent hypothyroidism can cause a range of issues including hormone imbalances that may not be corrected even when taking the appropriate dose of medication.
This can lead patients to take ever-increasing amounts of Armour thyroid in hopes of fixing these problems.
But the reality is that taking these high doses is not helpful and may be harmful.
You can read more about the dangers of taking too much medication in this post here.
So, how do you tell if your dose is too high?
You can use the combination of your lab tests and your symptoms.
If your dose is too high you will experience symptoms which include heart palpitations which do not decrease over time, flushing, headaches, sweating, weight loss, fatigue, and hair loss.
In addition, you will most likely find that your TSH is suppressed and your free T3 is high .
What Supplements Should You Avoid With Levothyroxine
Some over-the-counter dietary supplements can interact with levothyroxine, including :
- Ferrous sulfate or iron supplement: Dont take within four hours of thyroid hormone medications as it can prevent normal absorption of levothyroxine.
- Calcium supplements: These can interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine dont take within four hours of thyroid medications.
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How Should I Take Desiccated Thyroid
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use Armour Thyroid in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
While using desiccated thyroid, you may need frequent blood tests.
Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. You may need to take thyroid medication for the rest of your life.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using desiccated thyroid. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Armour Thyroid Vs Other Brands Of Ndt
Armour thyroid falls into a class of drugs known as NDT.
NDT stands for natural desiccated thyroid and drugs in this class are all similar but differ in their inactive ingredients.
Armour thyroid is the original formulation of NDT but there are many other medications including WP thyroid, Nature-throid, NP thyroid, and more.
Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Because of this, it’s important that you are at least aware of these other brands of medications.
Because it’s possible that while you may not necessarily tolerate one formulation of NDT it doesn’t mean you won’t tolerate them all.
I’ve seen many patients who don’t tolerate Armour thyroid but do tolerate Nature-throid and vice versa.
Don’t give up on NDT medications if you experience a small reaction during your transition to Armour or when you first start it.
Instead, take note of your symptoms, try to determine what is causing them, and make changes as appropriate.
You may find that your problems are dose-related, medication-specific, or related to your sensitivities.
All of these issues can be overcome with careful consideration.
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Desiccated Thyroid Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction:hives difficult breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Common side effects may include temporary hair loss .
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
How To Take Your Medicine
To make sure your hypothyroidism stays under control:
Stick with the same brand. Different types of thyroid hormone medicine may contain slightly different doses. That could mess with your hormone levels.
Follow a schedule. Take your medicine at the same time each day. Aim for about an hour before a meal or at bedtime. Don’t take it when you eat. Food, as well as some supplements, such as calcium, can affect the way your body uses it.
Don’t skip doses. If you miss one, take it as soon as you remember. You can take two pills in one day if you need to.
Follow instructions carefully. Don’t stop taking your medicine without first checking with your doctor.
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/7what Are Other Things One Must Be Careful About
Consistency is another factor that plays a crucial role when it comes to thyroid medication. So, it is generally recommended to take the medicines at the same time daily. It is the best way to make it a part of your normal routine and not to miss your dose. Besides, the medicine must be taken 30 to 60 minutes prior to your mealtime with plain water. Swallowing your pill with coffee or tea can reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Lastly, thyroid medicine should not be taken along with any other medicines. If you have to take any supplements or drugs in the morning, take them at least 30-60 minutes away from whenever you take your thyroid medicines. You can also talk to your doctor about the timings of your medicines.
Most Thyroid Patients Take Their Thyroid Medication Incorrectly
Ive been helping thyroid patients for years and this is an issue that is far more prevalent than it should be.
What am I talking about?
Im talking about how to take your thyroid medication.
I do understand why many thyroid patients get it wrong, though.
When you break down how to take your thyroid medication it can get complex rapidly.
But it doesnt have to be.
Today we are going to talk about everything you need to know to ensure that you are taking your thyroid medication correctly.
Why is this important?
Well, if you arent taking it correctly then you have no idea whether it is working or not.
If you dont take it correctly then you cant blame your thyroid symptoms on anything else.
And if you were to take it correctly, you might find that you see an almost immediate improvement in your thyroid symptoms.
Taking your medication correctly ensures that the thyroid hormone that your body needs gets into your body from your gut which is no easy task as you will soon find out.
Foods to Avoid if you Have Thyroid Problems:
Ive found that these 10 foods cause the most problems for thyroid patients. Learn which foods you should avoid if you have thyroid disease of any type.
The Complete List of Thyroid Lab tests:
The list includes optimal ranges, normal ranges, and the complete list of tests you need to diagnose and manage thyroid disease correctly!
Also Check: How To Test Your Thyroid
What Is Desiccated Thyroid
Desiccated thyroid is a combination of hormones that are normally produced by your thyroid gland to regulate the body’s energy and metabolism. Desiccated thyroid is given when the thyroid does not produce enough of this hormone on its own.
Desiccated thyroid treats hypothyroidism . Desiccated thyroid is also used to treat or prevent goiter , and is also given as part of a medical tests for thyroid disorders.
Desiccated thyroid should not be used to treat obesity or weight problems.
Desiccated thyroid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Taking Too Much Thyroid Hormone And Thinking Its Harmless
The synthetic thyroid hormone T4 is relatively safe, and you shouldn’t worry if you accidentally take an extra dose, Bianco says. But taking an excessive amount could have side effects it can make you feel tired, affect your sleep and concentration, lead to bone loss, or cause irregular heartbeats, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you take combination therapy, which contains both T4 and T3, the medication needs to be taken precisely as prescribed, as taking too much can be dangerous. The ATA notes that potential side effects of taking too much combination therapy include a racing pulse, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and problems with your heart and bones. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you accidentally take more than prescribed.
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Some Side Effects Can Be Serious If You Experience Either Of The Following Symptoms Or Those Listed In The Important Warning Section Call Your Doctor Immediately Or Get Emergency Medical Treatment:
- shortness of breath, wheezing, hives, itching, rash, flushing, stomach pain, nausea, or swelling of hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
When Is The Best Time To Take Armour Thyroid
Question posted by onthego on 9 Sep 2010
I recently switched from Levothyroxin to Armour. I have a friend who also takes it and she was advised to take the medication four hours before eating or taking other medications. I did not receive this same information. Are there specifics about taking Armour?
Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily before breakfast or as directed by your doctor.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, thyroid hormone levels, and response to therapy. There are different brands of thyroid hormone available. They are not interchangeable because the amounts of the 2 thyroid hormones may be different in each product. Do not change brands without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication 4 hours before or after taking any products containing aluminum or iron, such as antacids, sucralfate, and vitamins/minerals. Take this medication 4-5 hours after taking any bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine and colestipol. These products react with thyroid, preventing its full absorption.
Certain foods and supplements may affect how much thyroid hormone is absorbed. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Do not stop taking this medication without talking with your doctor. Thyroid replacement therapy is usually taken for life.
I hope I have helped you.
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Ask About Drug Interactions
Several hundreds of prescription drugs, over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements react with thyroid medications.
Bring a detailed list of everything you take with you to your doctor appointment and to the pharmacy to be certain you are not taking other medications or supplements which will affect your thyroid treatment plan or which will be unsafe to take in conjunction with thyroid medication.
Natural Thyroid Medicine Alternatives To Levothyroxine
- Liv HEALTH Team
People have been switching to natural remedies in recent years. The same is happening in the field of hyperthyroidism treatment.
Natural thyroid medicine is the preference for hyperthyroidism patients nowadays. They are opting for natural alternatives to levothyroxine.
What exactly does natural medicine for thyroid do for you?
Read Also: How To Stop Thyroid Medication
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to levothyroxine.
Learn the brand name and generic name of your medication. Do not switch brands without talking to your doctor or pharmacist, as each brand of levothyroxine contains a slightly different amount of medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Inconsistently Taking Your Prescribed Thyroid Medication
For your medication to work properly, you need to take it regularly and consistently. Skipping doses, taking your medication in the morning one day and in the evening the next, or taking it with food some days and on an empty stomach other days can affect how the medication is absorbed. You should take the correct dose of medication at the same time, and in the same way, every day, according to the ATA. Use a pillbox or set an alarm on your phone if you need help remembering to take your pill. If you do miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, advises the ATA. But if its almost time for your next dose, double up the next day because the life of the medication is long in the body, notes the ATA.
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Understanding Armour Thyroid And Hypothyroidism
What Is Levothyroxine And What Is It Used For
Levothyroxine helps millions of people manage their hypothyroidism . You may be hypothyroid because of an autoimmune disease , thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, or just having a low functioning thyroid.
Levothyroxine is a synthetic form of a thyroid hormone called T4 and acts as a thyroid hormone replacement therapy for low thyroid hormone levels. In combination with other treatments, levothyroxine is also sometimes used to treat certain forms of thyroid cancer . Levothyroxine is also available under the brand names Synthroid, Levothroid, Unithroid, Tirosint, and Levoxyl.
Getting just the right level of thyroid replacement hormone circulating throughout the body is key to helping you feel and function well. Unfortunately, given other medicines and substances people take, this can be a bit of a balancing act.
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