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Can Thyroid Medicine Cause Weight Gain

Taking Synthroid With Food

How Thyroid Disfunction Can Cause You Weight Gain

You should take Synthroid on an empty stomach without food. If you do eat something, and you forget to take Synthroid, call your doctor or pharmacist. Theyll recommend how long youll need to wait after eating before you take Synthroid. This length of time may depend on the type of food you ate and whether you took any other medications.

You may need to wait 4 hours to take your Synthroid after eating. This is sometimes the case so that Synthroid doesnt interact with foods or other medications in your body.

If you have questions about when to take Synthroid around meals, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How It Works For Tsh Suppression

Synthroid is used to suppress TSH levels in people with thyrotropin-dependent well-differentiated thyroid cancer.

TSH stimulates your thyroid to make more thyroid hormones. In addition, TSH is responsible for cell growth in your thyroid gland. This includes growth of both healthy cells and cancerous cells in the gland.

Normally, when your thyroid hormone levels are low, your body makes TSH. This signals your thyroid to make more thyroid hormones. However, if youre taking Synthroid, your thyroid hormone levels wont be low. So your body wont need to make TSH, and your TSH level will be lower than usual.

Tricky To Diagnose Treat

Diagnosing and treating an underactive thyroid can be challenging, he says, especially when a patient’s thyroid hormone levels test in the borderline-normal range. In most cases, a hormone level between 4 and 10 is the accepted range for treatment. When patients experience symptoms with a hormone level of 3, doctors are faced with the question of whether or not to treat. And it’s a tricky question, because treatment is not just a matter of taking a little pill that immediately cures all your symptoms. Finding just the right amount of hormone replacement medication to keep levels stable can be a difficult balancing act.

In Kruger’s case, it took her nearly 20 years to finally feel like “I got my life back.” During that time, despite being on medication, her thyroid levels were still problematic. She continued to feel tired and to gain weight, her cholesterol levels shot up and she began developing heart disease, a consequence of insufficient thyroid.

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How Do You Become Overmedicated

If you are taking thyroid hormone replacement medication prescribed by your doctor, how can you become overmedicated? There are several ways that this can happen.

Your doctor prescribed a dose that is too high. Especially when you are first diagnosed, or when your dosage is being increased, your healthcare provider may overestimate the dose you need, and accidentally overmedicate you.

Your doctor made a mistake. There are times when doctors write down incorrect dosage or prescribing instructions on a prescription pad, or enter the wrong information in an automated system. Even a small difference in pill size, or a mistake that has you taking two pills a day instead of one, can be enough to quickly make you overmedicated.

The pharmacy made a mistake. Pharmacies frequently make errors, including:

  • Filling your prescription with the wrong medication

  • Filling your prescription with pills at the wrong dosage, or providing incorrect dosage instructions

  • Substituting a brand name drug with a generic, without approval

You should always check your medication carefully when receiving it from your pharmacy. Verify that you have the correct medication at the correct dosage.

You are taking generic levothyroxine.Generic levothyroxine can vary in potency, depending on its manufacturer. As a result, when you get a refill of generic levothyroxine, you may get more potent pills, even at the same dosage, which can result in overmedication.

Key Steps To Stop Thyroid Weight Gain

Pin on Health tips

When youre proactive about helping your body restore thyroid balance, you will see changes in your weight, energy and mood. The sooner you take action, the faster youll feel better about your body and thyroid health.

1. Ensure you provide your thyroid with essential minerals.

The most important minerals for thyroid health are iodine and selenium.Iodine is a key building block for making thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Supplying Iodine in very specific amounts can make a measurable difference in rebalancing thyroid function. Selenium helps convert T4 into T3, the most useful hormone form. Selenium also regulates thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism.

How to get them: Find iodine in sea vegetables, seafood and iodized sea salt. Get selenium from Brazil nuts, mushrooms, beef and sunflower seeds. You can also get both minerals in a good supplement.

2. Add targeted herb extracts to boost thyroid function.

Science shows that several herbs can positively affect your thyroid function and stop thyroid-related weight gain:

You can get all these herbs with precise amounts of iodine and selenium in our combination formula, T-Balance Plus. This formula supports healthy signaling between your thyroid and the rest of your body. If youre taking thyroid medication, talk to your practitioner about this supplement.

3. Eliminate gluten-containing foods.

4. Find a way to get regular exercise.

Also Check: Do You Have To Take Thyroid Medicine Forever

Synthroid For Tsh Suppression

Synthroid is approved to suppress levels of thyroid stimulating hormone . Its approved for this use in people with a form of thyroid cancer called thyrotropin-dependent well-differentiated thyroid cancer.

TSH stimulates your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. In addition, TSH is responsible for growth of cells in your thyroid gland, including growth of cancerous cells. By decreasing your TSH level, Synthroid can help decrease the growth of certain types of thyroid cancer.

Normally, when your thyroid hormone levels are low, your body makes TSH. This signals your thyroid to make more thyroid hormones. However, if youre taking Synthroid, your thyroid hormone levels wont be low. So your body wont need to make TSH, and your TSH level will be lower than usual.

With a lower TSH level, growth of cancer in your thyroid may decrease. When Synthroid is used for TSH suppression, the drug is meant to be used along with surgery and radioactive iodine treatment.

Effectiveness for TSH suppression

recommended in some people with high-risk forms of thyroid cancer. Levothyroxine is the recommended drug to use alongside surgery and radioactive iodine treatment.

There arent any clinical trials comparing TSH suppression with Synthroid to that of a placebo . However, levothyroxine is considered the recommended drug for this use.

For information on Synthroids history and the lack of clinical studies of this drug, see the History of Synthroid section just above.

Alternatives For Hypothyroidism Or Tsh Suppression

Drugs other than Synthroid may be used to either treat hypothyroidism or provide thyroid stimulating hormone suppression.* Examples of these other drugs include:

* For TSH suppression, Synthroid is used to help decrease levels of TSH in your body. TSH is made when your body needs thyroid hormones. A lower TSH level means your body doesnt need thyroid hormones as much as a higher TSH level indicates.

Read Also: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer

What Is The Treatment For Overmedication

The treatment for overmedication is clear: Your healthcare practitioner will reduce your dosage of thyroid hormone replacement medication. You should also review and discuss any medications, vitamins, or supplements that may be affecting your thyroid, and determine whether to continue taking them.

After a dosage decrease, make sure that you are frequently tested until your overmedicated state is resolved and your levels return to the reference range. Once stabilized, you can return to your regular schedule of monitoring your thyroid levels.

Getting The Right Diagnosis

Soy Harms the Thyroid and Can Cause Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism is more likely to develop in women, and a personal history or family history of thyroid issues can increase your risk. To accurately test for hypothyroidism, a blood test for thyroid stimulating hormone is used. Even small changes in your thyroid hormone levels will cause very big changes in TSH secretion. The TSH test is really accurate and is the appropriate test for 99 percent of cases. Other lab tests for thyroid function are supplemental, and may not be clinically relevant or appropriate, adds Dr. Bloomgarden.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your physician will work with you to find the appropriate treatment. The most frequently used treatment for hypothyroidism is replacing the hormone with a substitute, known as levothyroxine . This is a precursor to the active hormone and seeks to replicate the hormones your body is failing to produce properly. Your body does not care if you make or take thyroid hormone, adds Dr Bloomgarden.

Causes of hypothyroidism can include:

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can be nonspecific or reflect other issues. You may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin

Also Check: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer

But I Havent Lost Any Weight Its Time To Talk Thyroid Medication And Weight Loss

When your thyroid is underperforming almost every part of your body becomes sluggish. Hypothyroidism triggered go-slow can see the bathroom scales creeping up even if you have not changed what you eat, how much you eat or your exercise routine. The much-lauded weight loss math of calories in – calories out = weight may be wrong in hypothyroidism.

So when you are told your thyroid levels are correct because you have enough thyroid medication in your body, based on your most recent lab test, it is devastating to continue to gain weight.

For most with hypothyroidism and Hashimotos the hoped-for, prayed-for begged-for thyroid medication miracle equation reads like:

Hypothyroid = weight gain

No longer hypothyroid as taking medication and have been told by my doctor I am taking enough medication = weight gain stops + possibly even weight loss starts.

If the thyroid medication miracle equation math fails and your weight is not normalised the first place to start is to make sure your medication matches your needs. Check out this article here for more information on what this means.

Scientists have been researching if the type of hypothyroidism medication can change the weight loss result and the answer seems to be YES.

Thyroid Supplements Can Hinder Treatment For A Thyroid Condition

Thyroid problems can be diagnosed easily through blood tests, but taking supplements that can alter the level of thyroid hormones in your blood can mask thyroid issues. And because supplements arent regulated the same way drugs are, they can contain varying amounts of active ingredients. If your doctor cant establish how much thyroid hormone your body needs, he cant prescribe the correct amount, and that can cause health problems, Lipman says.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association that represents the dietary supplement industry, acknowledges that thyroid supplements can interact with prescription medications. And, says Duffy MacKay, N.D., CRNs senior vice president for science and regulatory affairs, It is important to talk to your doctor before starting thyroid supplements.

Yet Stephanie Lee, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Thyroid Health Center at Boston Medical Center and a spokeswoman for the Endocrine Society says a well-informed physician would never advise a patient to purchase an over-the-counter thyroid support supplement. If the thyroid functions were abnormal, we would prescribe the FDA-approved medication because, among other issues, theres no evidence that thyroid support products improve thyroid function, and they can cause health complications and confuse a diagnosis, Lee says.

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Side Effects In Children

Children taking Synthroid may have different side effects than do adults taking the drug. For example, some children taking Synthroid have had pseudotumor cerebri . This condition may cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

In addition, some children taking Synthroid have had slipped capital femoral epiphysis. This disorder may cause limping or pain in the area thats affected.

This hip condition only occurs in children whose bones are still growing. However, its important to note that having decreased thyroid hormone levels, which Synthroid is used to treat, may also increase the risk of this hip disorder.

Also, certain bone growth problems may occur in infants and children who take too much Synthroid. In this case, an infants skull may become hardened too quickly, causing increased pressure on their brain. And the growth of their skull may also be affected. Other bones in children taking too much Synthroid may also be unable to grow properly. This can lead to growth problems and decreased height.

If you have questions about side effects of Synthroid in a child using the drug, talk with your childs doctor. Theyll discuss with you the risks and benefits of treatment. And they can help prepare you for what to expect from treatment with this drug.

If I Stop Taking Synthroid Abruptly Will I Have Withdrawal Symptoms

How to Lose Weight with an Underactive Thyroid

Stopping Synthroid wont make you have withdrawal symptoms.

But stopping Synthroid may cause you to have symptoms of the condition you were taking the drug to treat.

For example, if youre taking Synthroid for hypothyroidism, and you stop taking it, you may develop symptoms of hypothyroidism. This is because your symptoms were relieved when your body was getting thyroid hormone from Synthroid. But when you stop the drug, your body wont be receiving the hormone.

If you have questions about stopping treatment with Synthroid, talk with your doctor.

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How And When To Take Levothyroxine

Take levothyroxine once a day in the morning, ideally at least 30 minutes before having breakfast or a drink containing caffeine, like tea or coffee.

Food and caffeinated drinks can both stop your body taking in levothyroxine properly so it does not work as well.

If you stop taking levothyroxine your symptoms are likely to come back.

Levothyroxine And Synthroid Are Both T4 Only Medications

So here is the primary problem:

Levothyroxine and Synthroid are both T4 only medications.

Most Doctors will prescribe T4 medication under the assumption that your body will have no problem converting T4 into T3.

And in a perfect world, a world without stress, inflammation or other hormonal imbalances – it would.

But that’s not the world we live in…

Nowadays it’s VERY uncommon if someone has their stress managed, has no issues with blood sugar/insulin/leptin, has a normal menstrual cycle, is not overweight, has never done yo-yo diets, or has normal adrenal function.

Do any of these symptoms or situations sound familiar?

Chances are high that you are dealing with 1 or more of them.

And in states such as these, your body will turn T4 into reverse T3 as a way to “put on the brakes” and slow down your metabolism and cause symptoms of hypothyroidism.

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How Long Does It Stay In Your System

Synthroid stays in your body for about 6 to 7 days after youve taken a dose

However, you should try to keep thyroid hormone levels consistent in your body while youre taking Synthroid. To do this, its important to take the drug as your doctor directs, and to not skip doses.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Synthroid can lead to serious side effects. Do not use more Synthroid than your doctor recommends.

What Prompts Hyperthyroid Related Weight Gain

Levothyroxine and Weight gain (Why some people gain weight on levo and Synthroid)

“This woman had developed thyroid storm,” says Kristien Boelaert, MD, PhD, associate professor of endocrinology at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and senior author of a new study focusing on weight gain after treatment for hyperthyroidism. Thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition in which body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure often rise to dangerous levels.

These symptoms arose in June, landing her in the intensive care unit, Dr. Boelaert says, and required urgent medical attention. Just like this patient, many people are tempted to stop taking their antithyroid therapy with of the hope of lessening the weight gain, she says, and for those who do, the result is even worse medical complications.

In recognizing this common scenario, Dr. Boelaert and her colleagues were compelled to study the issueexactly how much weight people typicaly gain while being treated for hyperthyroidismand report their findings in the journal Thyroid.1

Dr. Boelaerts team found that many people do indeed gain weight, with some developing obesity. The data gathered from this study puts concrete numbers to this adverse effect of hyperthyroid treatment. Simple awareness of how common excess weight gain may be can be a big relief for patients, Dr. Boelaert tells EndocrineWeb knowing that weight gain can occur means patients can take proactive steps to anticipate the problem and lessen the result.

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Can Synthroid Be Crushed Split Or Chewed

Yes, you can crush, split, or chew Synthroid tablets. For example, to give the drug to children or infants, Synthroid tablets can be crushed and dissolved in 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. If you dissolve the drug like this, youll need to give the dose to the infant or child right away.

Be sure that you dont mix crushed Synthroid into any foods. This is because Synthroid should be taken on an empty stomach.

Cut Out Simple Carbs And Sugars

Kelly Austin, ND, a naturopathic doctor specializing in hormone disorders and the director of the Prime Wellness Clinic in San Diego, recommends a moderate- to low-carbohydrate diet that focuses on complex carbohydrates and avoids simple sugars . According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, foods with a high a glycemic load may increase inflammation in the body. But Dr. Austin stresses the importance of eating enough calories because “low calories can cause a stress response and result in decreased T3 production, she says.

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Does Levothyroxine Ever Cause Weight Loss

The answer is that YES Levothyroxine and Synthroid can cause weight loss but only in certain patients.

Since you are reading this you are most likely not one of those patients but I have .

In order for Levothyroxine to cause weight loss, you must be able to adequately convert T4 to T3 without issues.

Some patients have single nucleotide polymorphisms which make T4 to T3 conversion very slow. If you have this polymorphism then Levothyroxine and Synthroid will probably not be the best medication for you.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some patients are what I refer to as “super converters”.

You can give them T4 and they will turn it into T3 without any problems at all, and these patients often react to T3 containing medications with palpitations and/or anxiety.

Another subgroup of patients have reactions to the INACTIVE ingredients in Levothyroxine and Synthroid which may lead to intolerance of the medication.

If you can’t tolerate the proper dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid then you won’t lose weight with the medication.

And lastly, patients who don’t have any other chronic medical conditions are more likely to do well on T4 only medications.

What I mean by that is this:

The more inflammation you have, the more chronic pain you have, the more medications you take, the more weight you have to lose, the less likely you are to do well on Levothyroxine.


Because all of these conditions will make thyroid conversion more difficult.


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