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What Happens If You Eat Right After Taking Thyroid Medicine

Who Can And Cannot Take Levothyroxine

What happened when I stopped taking my thyroid medication

Levothyroxine can be taken by adults and children. However, levothyroxine is not suitable for some people.

Do not take levothyroxine and go back to your doctor to discuss your treatment if you have:

  • had an allergic reaction to levothyroxine or any other medicines in the past
  • an overactive thyroid
  • a health problem that affects your adrenal glands

Check with your doctor before taking levothyroxine if you have:

  • had a heart attack
  • diabetes the dose of your diabetes medicine may need to change because levothyroxine can raise blood sugar levels

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 Should Thyroid Medicine Be Taken


Yes. Calcium supplements â or antacids containing calcium â can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medications, such as synthetic thyroid hormones levothyroxine and liothyronine , as well as thyroid extract supplements.

Also, how long do you have to wait after eating to take levothyroxine? 30 minutes

Consequently, what happens if you eat right after taking thyroid medicine?

For the most part, you shouldn’t have problems with most foods if you wait at least 45 minutes after taking your thyroid medication before you eat. If you eat about the same amount every day, your healthcare provider has probably found the proper dose of thyroid hormone to counteract soy’s effects.

Can you stop taking thyroid medication once you start?

While hypothyroidism cannot be prevented, you can lead a normal and productive life if you take your medicine as prescribed. Some important things to remember once you start taking thyroid hormone medication include3,4: Do not stop taking the medication even if you feel better.

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You Don’t Store Your Medication Properly

If you don’t store your medication properly, it can lose potency quickly and become less effective. Ideally, you should store your thyroid medication in a dry place, away from humidity and light.

It’s also important that your thyroid medication is not exposed to temperature extremes. Store your thyroid medication at no more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful about leaving your thyroid drugs in a hot car or mailbox, or in areas without air conditioning when temperatures exceed 80 degrees.

Taking Too Much Thyroid Hormone And Thinking Its Harmless

Is Night or Day the Time to Take Thyroid Medication?

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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Avoid Cardio Aerobics And Other Endurance Forms Of Exercise

It should make perfect sense that if you dont want exercise to be a stress on your body and thyroid, then you must stop the stress response before it happens.

When you do cardio, aerobics, or other exercise that require constant high energy demands without rest, you burn through your bodys fuel supply extremely fast.

As soon as you run out of fuel, you force your body to over-produce stress hormones.

Thats why these types of exercise are most harmful.

They force a bigger stress response, and force it faster, than any other type of exercise.

Many studies show this among those who do cardio or endurance forms of exercise that require sustained periods of high energy production.

For example:

These data suggest that repeated physical stress of intensive training and competitive races among endurance athletes is associated with elevated cortisol exposure over prolonged periods of time. These findings may have important implications with regard to somatic and mental health of athletes which should be investigated in future research.

These results are not limited to athletes alone.

In fact, since you are hypothyroid and cant store fuel, then it often takes very little exercise to induce this very same stress response.

In some more severe cases, this can be as little as a 15-minute walk, or even walking up a flight of stairs.

You may lose a few pounds initially by forcing your stress hormones higher.

How To Take It

Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water.

Levothyroxine is available as a liquid for children and people who find it difficult to swallow tablets.

If you or your child are taking levothyroxine as a liquid, it will usually be made up for you by the pharmacist. It will come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose. If you do not have a syringe or measuring spoon, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

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Common Side Effects And Self

The common side effects of levothyroxine usually happen because the dose you’re taking is more than you need. These side effects usually go away after you go on to a lower dose of levothyroxine or stop treatment.

Common side effects are the same as the symptoms of an overactive thyroid. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or do not go away.

  • orlistat, a medicine used for weight loss
  • sucralfate, a medicine used to treat stomach ulcers
  • some cholesterol-lowering medicines such as colestyramine, colestipol or colesevelem

Read the information leaflet supplied with these medicines or speak to your pharmacist for advice on how much time to leave between taking these medicines and taking levothyroxine.

Gel And Liquid Formulations

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Tirosint is a soft gel form of L-T4, and Tirosint-Sol is the liquid form. These medications are absorbed more rapidly into the body than the standard formulations. The gel and liquid forms of L-T4 were developed primarily for people who have digestive and absorptive problems or allergy issues.

Studies have also shown that you can take Tirosint and Tirosint-Sol at the same time as your coffee, with no negative impact on absorption or thyroid hormone levels.

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Why Is This Medication Prescribed

Levothyroxine is used to treat hypothyroidism . It is also used with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy to treat thyroid cancer. Levothyroxine is in a class of medications called hormones. It works by replacing thyroid hormone that is normally produced by the body.

Without thyroid hormone, your body cannot function properly, which may result in poor growth, slow speech, lack of energy, excessive tiredness, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry, thick skin, increased sensitivity to cold, joint and muscle pain, heavy or irregular menstrual periods, and depression. When taken correctly, levothyroxine reverses these symptoms.

Your Digestion Is Out Of Order

While constipation might be a sign of a lack of hormones, diarrhea might occur with an excess amount of hormones.

Digestion is tightly connected to the immune system, but that doesnt always mean insufficient hormone levels are the reason for your current digestive issues.

Problems with digestion could be because your immune system is reacting to your diet, stress, or a lack of vitamin D. Whatever it is, if your gut is upset, the medication you take will not be absorbed properly. This means less of it will end up in your bloodstream and be available to the different organs, which causes more symptoms of hypothyroidism.

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Not All Levothyroxine Is Equal

The amount of levothyroxine in a tablet can differ. For example, a 100 mcg tablet may contain between 95 mcg and 105 mcg of hormone.

Since the amount of levothyroxine is relatively stable within a brand name drug or generic manufacturer, this is primarily an issue for those who switch between different generic tablets.

Can You Stop Taking Thyroid Medication Once You Start

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Stopping thyroid medication without your doctors suggestion is always a No. It may cause you severe effects.

How long can you go without your thyroid medication? Not long. Your hypothyroid symptoms may return with more severe symptoms.

If you stop taking thyroid medication, you may feel tired and sluggish in the beginning. Then slowly, you will face other health issues like sleep apnea, depression, and type 2 diabetes.

The biggest threat is the myxedema crisis. Its a rare but life-threatening condition that arises due to uncontrolled hypothyroidism.

Therefore, without your doctors advice, do not stop taking your medication.

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Dairy Reduces Levothyroxine Concentration

The study examined 10 healthy subjects with normal thyroid function to assess whether consuming cows milk has a direct effect on levothyroxine absorption.2

Following an overnight fast, serum total thyroxine concentrations were measured at baseline and at 1, 2, 4, and 6 hours after the participants took 1000 g of oral levothyroxine alone or when coadministered with 12 ounces of 2% milk.

Results showed that the TT4 concentrations were significantly lower when levothyroxine was taken at the same time as the milk as compared to levothyroxine alone.2 Also, peak serum TT4 concentrations dropped significantly when cows milk was coadministered with levothyroxine than with the levothyroxine alone.

The researchers believe that both the calcium content of the milk and the presence of protein might directly interfere with the proper and full absorption of levothyroxine, complicating the management of hypothyroid.2

Our results show that calcium-rich foods should be consumed apart from thyroid hormone medication, as much as possible, Dr. Leung tells EndocrineWeb. This will help ensure that thyroid blood tests remain constant, thus decreasing the need for potentially unnecessary changes in the dose of thyroid replacement needed to manage your hypothyroidism.

Calcium-rich foods including cows milk, yogurt, cheeses and ice cream and frozen yogurt. Also, non-dairy milk like those made from almond, soy, and rice, which are fortified with calcium.4

How Do Doctors Diagnose Hypothyroidism

Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. A hypothyroidism diagnosis cant be based on symptoms alone because many of its symptoms are the same as those of other diseases.1 Thats why your doctor may use several thyroid blood tests and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and find its cause.

Because hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems, women who have trouble getting pregnant often get tested for thyroid problems.

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How Should This Medicine Be Used

Levothyroxine comes as a tablet and a capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken once a day on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to 1 hour before breakfast. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take levothyroxine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow capsules whole do not chew or crush them. Do not remove the capsule from the package until you are ready to take it.

Take the tablets with a full glass of water as they may get stuck in your throat or cause choking or gagging.

If you are giving levothyroxine to an infant, child, or adult who cannot swallow the tablet, crush and mix it in 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Only mix the crushed tablets with water do not mix it with food or soybean infant formula. Give this mixture by spoon or dropper right away. Do not store it for later use.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of levothyroxine and gradually increase your dose.

Levothyroxine controls hypothyroidism but does not cure it. It may take several weeks before you notice a change in your symptoms. Continue to take levothyroxine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking levothyroxine without talking to your doctor.

Levothyroxine May Interact With Other Medications

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Levothyroxine oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs youre taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else youre taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with levothyroxine are listed below.

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Assuming A Change In Medication Brand Isnt A Big Deal

Per the ATA, every brand and generic thyroid medication contains the same amount of thyroid replacement hormone. However, many endocrinologists believe that there is a variation in hormone content among the various brands, and that there are additional factors that can interfere with how the hormone is absorbed with each one, notes the ADA. Therefore, when getting a prescription filled at the pharmacy, you should not change from one brand to another, from a brand name to a generic, or from one generic to another without first checking with your doctor.

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How Do You Know When Your Thyroid Medicine Needs Adjusting

A doctor may need to increase your dosage if symptoms do not improve. In some patients, your hormone levels may rise, but you may continue to feel fatigue or experience weight gain. In these situations, your doctor may also consider a different type of thyroid medication .

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Surgical Removal Of Your Thyroid

If your entire thyroid gland is removed as a result of thyroid problems, youll develop hypothyroidism. Using thyroid medication for the rest of your life is the primary treatment.

If only a portion of the gland is removed, your thyroid may still be able to produce enough hormones on its own. Blood tests will help determine how much thyroid medication youll need.

If You Have Hypothyroid The Timing Of Your Levothyroxine Will Make All The Difference Between Good Absorption And Not Getting The Full Dosage

What Happens If You Stop Taking Thyroid Pills

With Angela M. Leung, MD, and Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RDN, CDE

It has long been known that many foods and medications including calcium supplements, soy, and ironinterfere with the absorption of oral levothyroxine in the body.1 The plot thickens. For the first time, drinking cows milk is demonstrated to reduce absorption of levothyroxine,2 according to a study published in the journal Thyroid.

Levothyroxine is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.3 The findings from this prominent team of researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in California are particularly significant since patients are typically instructed to take levothyroxine an hour before breakfast, a meal that commonly includes dairy.

Changes in the amount of levothyroxine absorbed can lead to changes in thyroid blood tests used to monitor the appropriateness of its dose, says lead author Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

Treatment for hypothyroid must be timed to avoid milk.

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What Can You Do To Avoid Interactions With Levothyroxine

For optimal results, take levothyroxine on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, at least 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast. The goal is to be consistent from day to day so that you can avoid ups and downs in your thyroid levels over time. The same consistency is important if you want to take the levothyroxine at night take it three hours after your last meal and avoid taking it along with other medicines .

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any other interaction concerns.

What Medications Treat Hypothyroid

Levothyroxine is the most common prescription used to treat hypothyroidism. This medication is also known by several brand names, including:

Whether your healthcare provider prescribes the generic or brand name, these medications help to replace the thyroid hormone your body isnt naturally producing in your blood.

It may take some time to find the right medication, or dosage that works for youand once youve figured out your treatment plan, certain things can mess with how the prescription works for you.

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You Stop Taking Your Medication While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

Most women are very careful about prescription and over-the-counter medications during and after pregnancy. But it’s important to realize that for a healthy pregnancy and baby, not only must you continue to take your thyroid hormone replacement medication, you will probably require a dosage increase. Unfortunately, not all doctors know this, as Joyce learned. She says: “I stopped talking Synthroid while pregnant on my doctor’s advice.”

You should also continue to take your thyroid hormone replacement medication while breastfeeding. If you are on the proper dosage, very little medication reaches your baby via breast milk.


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