If I Stop Taking Synthroid Abruptly Will I Have Withdrawal Symptoms
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.
Faq: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Graves disease the same as hyperthyroidism?
Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, but theyre not the same thing. While all patients with Graves disease have hyperthyroidism, patients with hyperthyroidism may not necessarily have Graves disease .
In Graves disease, the body makes an antibody called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin , which causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone . Graves disease runs in families and is more commonly found in women.
Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism: Whats the difference?
The difference all comes down to the prefix in each word: hyper means over or exaggeration, while hypo means under or beneath. When it comes to -thyroidism, hyper- means an overactive thyroid gland, and hypo- means an underactive one.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, can actually be caused by treatments for hyperthyroidism, since their whole purpose is to decrease thyroid gland activity. Those treatments, however, can tip the balance too far.
What should I eat to manage hyperthyroidism?
With hyperthyroidism, its more important to manage what you dont eat. High levels of iodine consumption can exacerbate hyperthyroidism, so its a good idea to watch your iodine intake. Look for ways to limit iodine in your diet by restricting your consumption of foods such as: fish, seaweed, shrimp, dairy products, and grain products .
Does hyperthyroidism go away on its own?
Your Muscles Are Acting Up
Muscle twitching, cramping, and pain can be signs of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. They can also indicate your electrolytesmainly calcium and sodiumare out of balance.
If you feel sudden and intense muscle pain when you havent done any strenuous physical activity, it might be because your thyroid function has changed.
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What About Combined T4 And T3 Treatment
Some hormone preparations containing both T4 and T3 are available in the United States . Combination T4/T3 preparations contain much more T3 than is usually produced naturally within the body. Because of this, they can have the same side effects as T3 given by itself. It is also given once a day, ignoring the short life span of T3 in the body. There has been interest in whether a combination of T4 and T3, with a lower amount of T3 given more than once a day, might result in better treatment of hypothyroidism, especially in those patients that do not feel completely normal on T4 alone. In these cases, Cytomel® is taken in addition to T4. A trial period of 3 6 months is reasonable to determine if combination T4 and T3 therapy will help.
Plus How To Get The Absolute Most Out Of Your Thyroid Meds
The time of day you take your thyroid meds, and how you store them, can make or break your thyroid disease management.
Levothyroxine is the name of all synthetic forms of the thyroid hormone T4. This manufactured hormone mimics the natural hormone produced by your thyroid and is prescribed as the primary treatment for hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid.
Levothyroxine dosage is highly individualized, and your dosage may change as you and your doctor work to find what works best for you. See our levothyroxine dosage chart below to get an idea of where your treatment might begin and when to expect your doctor to check for adjustments. Starting dosages are often calculated based on your weight, but because in some cases your thyroid still makes its own T4, some doctors will start you with a lower dosage to avoid over-treatment symptoms that mimic hyperthyroidism . They also may start you on a lower dose if your body might need extra time to adjust to the effects of hormone replacement. Your doctor will then check your thyroid stimulating hormone levels over the first few months to see if your dosage needs any adjustment. Hormone replacement therapy is usually a lifelong treatment, so you should get your TSH levels checked every year to ensure youre still taking the right dose.
Infographic by Lauren Hunter
You can find more information about levothyroxine, including dosage, here.
- Increased sweating
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If My Tsh Level Is High Should My Synthroid Dose Be Increased Or Decreased
Usually, if your TSH level is high, your Synthroid dose needs to be increased. TSH, which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone, is made when your body needs more thyroid hormones.
When you have an elevated TSH level, your dose of Synthroid may need to be increased. On the other hand, if your TSH level is low, your dose of Synthroid may need to be decreased.
During Synthroid treatment, your doctor will order blood tests to check your TSH level. And for some people, their doctor will also check the levels of their thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. Based on the results of your blood tests, your doctor will adjust your dosage of Synthroid if needed.
If you have questions about whether your dosage needs adjusted, talk with your doctor.
Are There Any Warnings About Using Levothyroxine Sodium
Levothyroxine sodium should not be used in dogs with thyrotoxicosis or in dogs with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency.
The safety of levothyroxine sodium has not been evaluated in breeding, pregnant, or nursing dogs. In pregnant women and rodents, too much exposure to thyroid hormones is associated with defects in the thyroid gland of their offspring.
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Can Synthroid Help Relieve Depression Thats Related To Hypothyroidism
For some people, depression may be caused by hypothyroidism. Synthroid treats hypothyroidism by increasing your thyroid hormone levels to a normal range. So if you have depression thats related to low thyroid hormones, Synthroid may help treat your depression.
Be sure and talk with your doctor if you feel depressed. They can discuss with you treatment options that may help improve your moods.
Is Hyperthyroidism During Pregnancy A Problem
Thyroid hormone levels that are just a little high are usually not a problem in pregnancy. However, more severe hyperthyroidism that isnt treated can affect both the mother and the baby. If you have hyperthyroidism, be sure your disease is under control before becoming pregnant. Learn more about causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy.
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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.
Finding Your Optimal Dose Of Synthroid
So how are you supposed to find your optimal dose of Synthroid?
The answer that most people look to is their thyroid lab tests.
And this is a great starting point, but it’s not sufficient by itself.
Most people, when they look at their thyroid lab tests, focus solely on the TSH as a marker of thyroid function.
More valuable measurements may be found by evaluating your free thyroid hormone concentrations.
These markers tell you exactly how much thyroid is floating around in your bloodstream and give you an idea if you are absorbing and utilizing the Synthroid you are taking by mouth.
If you focus only on the TSH you miss the information provided by looking at these levels.
The TSH only gives you information about your pituitary gland and it doesn’t give you information about the absolute levels of free thyroid hormone levels in your body.
But beyond your free thyroid hormone levels, you also want to look at one other very important factor…
In other words:
How are you feeling? Are you noticing an improvement in the symptoms that brought you to the doctor in the first place? Are you feeling any better? Is your weight normalizing? Is your hair loss slowing down?
All of these questions are things that you should be thinking about as you alter your dose!
As you alter your dose of Synthroid you should feel BETTER, not worse.
As you do these things you will find your optimal dose.
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Thyroid Medication Is Overprescribed
A subset of people who take thyroid hormone replacement would likely be better off without this medication, as overdiagnosis of hypothyroid conditions is very common.
One study showed up to 60% of patients may be taking thyroid hormone replacement unnecessarily. In this study, 291 patients taking Levothyroxine were asked to pause their medication for 6-8 weeks. Many of these patients had been taking thyroid medication for years but did not have strong diagnostic indicators of thyroid disease.
- After going without synthetic thyroid hormone for several weeks, patients were given blood tests for thyroid function. 60.8% of patients had normal levels of thyroid hormone, meaning they did not require thyroid medication.
Effects Of Skipping Antithyroid Medication
If you have Graves’ disease, toxic nodules, thyroiditis, or another cause of hyperthyroidism, you may need to take antithyroid medication such as methimazole or propylthiouracil/PTU. If you skip or completely discontinue your medicine, you can experience a number of short-term and long-term consequences, including:
- Debilitating weight loss
- Dramatically increased appetite and thirst
- Nervousness, anxiety, panic attacks
- Rapid pulse, heart palpitations, or high blood pressure
- Hair loss
- Protruding eyes
Untreated hyperthyroidism can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. It can also increase the risk of developing a dangerous condition known as thyroid storm, which has a high fatality rate.
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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.
Don’t Panic But See A Doctor
Ellen Seely, MD, director of the pregnancy-related endocrine disorders clinic at Brigham-Women’s Hospital in Boston, takes issue with Refetoff’s miscarriage statistics.
The women in his study were likely being watched by doctors more closely. So any very early miscarriages — when a woman simply gets her period — may have been documented, resulting in higher numbers, she explains.
In the U.S., overall miscarriage rates are nearly as high as the 23% that Refetoff shows for the affected women in his study, Seely tells WebMD.
Nevertheless, thyroid problems are important “but manageable,” Seely says. “We don’t want to panic people. Women who have thyroid problems and are planning to get pregnant should discuss changes in thyroid hormone dose with their doctor.”
If you find yourself pregnant and haven’t planned it, get a blood test right away, she advises. The test is called the thyroid-stimulating hormone test. “It usually has a turnaround of 24 hours. Then you can get a dosage adjustment made.”
Most miscarriages are caused by chromosomal defects — not by factors such as hormone levels, points out Ashi Daftary, MD, professor of maternal and fetal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Journal of the American Medical Association
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Natural Alternatives To Synthroid
You may wonder if there are natural treatment options for certain thyroid problems that Synthroid is used to treat. Its important to note that there are no proven natural alternatives to Synthroid. If your doctor prescribes Synthroid for you, you shouldnt substitute a natural alternative without first discussing it with your doctor.
But if you want to explore natural options, we describe below some approaches that may or may not help to improve your thyroid health:
- Gluten-free diet. Sometimes thyroid function may be affected by factors you can control, such as your diet and nutrition intake. In one
- symptoms of your thyroid condition. However, there currently arent any studies that show that vitamin D is an effective treatment for thyroid disorders.
If you have questions about using natural treatment options for a thyroid condition, talk with your doctor. They can recommend a treatment plan thats right for you.
You may wonder how Synthroid compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Synthroid and levothyroxine are alike and different.
Why You Need To Watch Out For Weight Changes
Your dose of thyroid hormone is based on your weight, although your doctor has to keep an eye on your blood levels because some people have problems with absorption.
Be sure to report a weight gain or loss of 10% or more to your doctor right away, advises Dr. Skugor. This will help you avoid overtreatment or undertreatment.
At the onset of menopause, its frequently necessary to decrease the thyroid dose to avoid overtreatment.
Yet even when youre on the right dose for your weight, you may be getting more thyroid hormone than your body needs. Overtreatment places you at risk of developing heart arrhythmias and osteoporosis, a low bone-mass disorder that leads to easy fracturing. One study even reported that overtreatment is associated with increased cardiovascular risk.
Its important to keep your doctor in the loop of any other changes like starting new medication or feeling your symptoms return or get worse.
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How Long Does Synthroid Stay In Your System
Synthroid, because it is a T4 only thyroid medication, has a half-life of around 5-7 days .
What does that mean?
It means that it will take 5 half-lives for this medication to be nearly completely eliminated from your system.
If you do the math you find that Synthroid will be in your system for a total of about 35 days.
And by metabolism, I mean that your body will basically use up all of that thyroid hormone for cellular function.
This is both good and bad.
Bad in the sense that if you take too much thyroid medication it may remain in your system for a long period of time and good in the sense that if you miss a dose here or there it’s probably not going to affect you because you have a significant amount built up in your system.
But it’s important to note that just because it’s in your system for 35 days doesn’t mean that it will be equally potent throughout all of those days.
Around day 17-18 the concentration of Synthroid will be about half of what you took originally.
Dosage For Special Populations
For people with heart disease:
- The recommended starting dosage is 12.525 mcg/day.
- Your dosage may be adjusted every 68 weeks.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
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Thyroid Medication Mistakes To Avoid
Thyroid hormone replacement medication, like levothyroxine , is prescribed when your thyroid gland isnt making enough thyroid hormone. The medication provides needed thyroid hormone, which helps with symptoms of hypothyroidism, like fatigue, weight gain, or hair loss.
If you take Synthroid and youve ever wondered how long you can go without thyroid medication, youre not alone. Generally, if you take a synthetic thyroid hormone like Synthroid and accidentally skip a dose, theres little harm. But not taking your thyroid medication for longer periods of time can lead to bigger problems and long-term risks.
On the other hand, overdiagnosis and overtreatment of hypothyroid are very common. Additionally, with the right health support, some patients may be able to reduce or discontinue their thyroid hormone replacement. In this article, well help you answer the question, How long can you go without thyroid medication?
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.
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What About Natural Thyroid Hormones
Desiccated animal thyroid , now mainly obtained from pigs, was the most common form of thyroid therapy before the individual active thyroid hormones were discovered. People can still buy it over the Internetlegally if its sold as a food supplement, but illegally if its sold as a medicine. It is also available still as a prescription. Since pills made from animal thyroid are not purified, they contain hormones and proteins that never exist in the body outside of the thyroid gland. While desiccated thyroid contains both T4 and T3, the balance of T4 and T3 in animals is not the same as in humans, so the hormones in animal thyroid pills arent necessarily natural for the human body. Further, the amounts of both T4 and T3 can vary in every batch of desiccated thyroid, making it harder to keep blood levels right. Finally, even desiccated thyroid pills have chemicals in them to hold the pill together, so they are not completely natural. Desiccated animal thyroid is rarely prescribed today, and there is no evidence that desiccated thyroid has any advantage over synthetic T4.