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What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Thyroid Meds

Your Pharmacist Changed Brands

Side Effects of Stopping Thyroid Medication Abruptly (& Why you Shouldn’t do it)

Imagine this: you are cruising along, totally fine, using Naturethroid of WP Thyroid. Things are fine, youre feeling well, and everything is stable.

Next thing you know, after a quick refill, you are feeling just awful.

Things that werent happening before are now back, including:

  • Your fatigue coming back
  • Weight shooting back up
  • Your mood changes dramatically

The whole time youre wondering, everything has stayed the same, hasnt it? But, it could have happened that your pharmacy gave you a different brand than was prescribed.

When a doctor prescribes a medication, they can either specify which brand needs to be used, or they can check off a box that says substitution permissible.

But, even when a doctor checks the other box titled dispense as written, specifying a very particular brand, patients have come back with a different brand.

In many cases, that occurred after many times they got the right brand.

While the active hormones dont vary much from brand to brand, the inactive ingredients do vary. This can change the way it breaks down in your body.

Its almost like starting from scratch to determine your optimal dose, and the same applies to generic brands .

At Integrative Health, our doctors give you the sealed bottle directly from the manufacturer. No more guessing if the pharmacy substituted brands without your knowledge.

Can I Take Levothyroxine If Im Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

If you become pregnant while taking levothyroxine, do not stop taking the medicine without your doctors advice. Having low thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Your dose needs may be different while you are nursing.

How Can You Best Assess Your Thyroid Function

The best way to understand your thyroid function is with a thyroid blood test. Many labs only look at thyroid-stimulating hormone . Still, we believe it’s helpful also to measure free triiodothyronine , free thyroxine , and TPO antibodies .

Besides looking at your thyroid function, your thyroid doctor will also want to know about your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history. The combination of these factors can help determine whether or not you may benefit from thyroid medication.

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It Will Affect Your Pregnancy

Imbalanced levels of thyroid hormones can affect your pregnancy. If youre planning to get pregnant and hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, its best to let your doctor know so that they can plan proper treatment.

Hyperthyroidism can lead to increased heart rate, trouble dealing with heat, tiredness, shaky hands, unexplained weight loss, or inability to have normal pregnancy weight gain.

Stopping thyroid medication suddenly when youre pregnant can harm you and your baby. It can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, preeclampsia, thyroid storm, and congestive heart failure.

Too much thyroid hormone in your baby can lead to poor weight gain, irritability, and early closing of the soft part of a babys skull.

Hypothyroidism in pregnant women can cause fatigue, chills, muscle cramps, severe constipation, and brain fog.

Stopping thyroid medication suddenly for hypothyroidism can also cause preeclampsia, stillbirth, anemia, or miscarriage.

Dosage Or Drug Quality Issues

What Happens If You Stop Taking Your Hypothyroidism ...

Overmedication may occur when there is an error in dosage. For example:

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe a dosage that is too high for you.
  • Your pharmacist may give you the wrong dosage or incorrect instructions for use.

It is also possible that the quality of your medication may change from one refill of your prescription to another. This is sometimes the case when your medication is produced by several different manufacturers.

If you are taking generic levothyroxine, you may receive a batch of medication that is more or less potent than your previous refill. Even a slight change of potency from one refill to the next can lead to hypothyroidism.

Switching formulations of levothyroxinefor example, from tablet to gel-caps or liquidcan also cause overmedication. That’s because your body absorbs certain formulations of levothyroxine better than others.

In particular, both Tirosint liquid gel-caps and Tirosint-SOL liquid levothyroxine absorb better than levothyroxine in tablet form. You may be prescribed gel-cap or liquid levothyroxine if you are allergic to dyes or fillers, but the switch may result in overmedication.

This is why close monitoring is important. You should get your TSH level checked within six weeks after beginning thyroid hormone replacement, or after changing the brand or dose of your medication.

Pay particular attention to symptoms that develop after a recent pharmacy refill. They may be due to a medication error or change in the formulation.

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Synthroid Side Effects That Might Mean Your Dosage Is Way Off

If youre suddenly pitting out, thats not a good sign.

If youve never paid attention to your thyroid, put your hand on the front of your throat and swallow.

The bump that moves is the cartilage often called the Adams apple, and underneath that is where your thyroid sits. Your thyroid is basically the on-board computer for your bodythe hormones it regulates affect almost every system and as long as its doing its job you forget its even there. But when its not working properly? Hell, meet hand basket.

When the thyroid doesnt produce enough hormone, its called hypothyroidism, which can lead to symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, irregular periods, or a slowed heart rate.

The most popular medication used to to treat hypothyroidism and bump up those hormone levels: Synthroid.

Synthroid is the brand name for levothyroxine sodium, a synthetic thyroid hormone pill. Even though Synthroid is a lab-created hormone its identical to the kind produced naturally in the body, says Melanie Goldfarb, M.D., an endocrinologist and thyroid specialist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Taking Synthroid replaces the hormones that your thyroid should be making but, for whatever reason, isnt.

Although there are about 1 percent of patients that wont respond to Synthroid at all and will need other treatment, the vast majority of people on it feel remarkably better within six weeks of starting it, she adds.

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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Make Your Meds Work For You

Too often, I think we can get fixated on getting your thyroid levels in check. Truthfully, that shouldnt be our only area of focus.

As you can see from the list above, there are a whole host of reasons why your thyroid medications might not be working for you.

The answer may lie in one of the reasons above, or a combination of them.

This is why it is so important to work with an expert to help determine and treat your symptoms.

You can feel better, and you shouldnt settle for anything less than best. Start by taking the Thyroid Quiz today , as Im sure it can help set you on the right path for your best health.

P.S. Whenever you are ready, here is how I can help you now:

1. Schedule a Thyroid Second Opinion with me, Dr. C, 2. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here3. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here

What Happens If You Dont Need Thyroid Medication

What If I Stop Taking Thyroid Medication Cold Turkey?

Suppose you are taking medication to treat hypothyroidism and dont need it. In that case, you will likely have symptoms associated with too much thyroid hormone . These symptoms may include insomnia, anxiousness, diarrhea, and heat intolerance.

The more concerning issue of taking thyroid medication when you dont need it lies in the possible side effects, including:

  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Symptoms of heart failure
  • Loss of bone density

The decision to prescribe thyroid medication is not always straightforward. Doctors often rely on your thyroid function tests to help decide if you need medication. However, your symptoms are also a significant factor.

Subclinical hypothyroidism

Sometimes, people have borderline thyroid function levels, which does not necessarily mean you need treatment.

Normal TSH levels are under 4.0mIU/L. A TSH level above 10mIU/L is an indication of hypothyroidism, which requires treatment. However, there is a gray area in whether treatment is necessary for people with rising TSH levels just under 10mIU/L. This state is called subclinical hypothyroidism and is one of the most common forms of hypothyroidism.

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If I Stop Using Synthroid Could I Have Side Effects Of Withdrawal

No, stopping the use of Synthroid shouldnt cause withdrawal side effects. But it could cause symptoms of the condition the drug is treating to return. For example, if you use Synthroid to treat hypothyroidism and stop taking the medication, symptoms of hypothyroidism may return.

If you have questions about stopping treatment with Synthroid, talk with your doctor. They can advise you on how to stop taking the drug safely.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Synthroid may cause.

Youre Noticing Skin Changes

Skin changes can be signs that your treatment needs an adjustment. Very dry skin especially your hands, elbows, and feet can be a sign that you are not getting enough thyroid hormone when you are hypothyroid. Unusually smooth skin, a bumpy rash on your face called miliaria, or a patch of rough skin on your shins can all be signs that your hyperthyroidism treatment is insufficient, and you need an increased dosage of antithyroid medication.

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You Dont Feel Any Better

Thyroid medications do not usually work rapidly. It can take a few days to a few weeks for you to even start noticing a difference in how you feel. If you dont feel better after taking your medication for several months, you may need a dosage adjustment or a change in medicationnot a complete stop of your regimen.

How Long Can You Go Without Thyroid Medication Before Symptoms

Is Night or Day the Time to Take Thyroid Medication?

A person can go for many years without thyroid hormones. Indeed, people often go undiagnosed for decades despite suffering from hypothyroid symptoms. However, without thyroid replacement medication, a person with overt hypothyroidism cannot function optimally and will suffer from the physical and mental symptoms of hypothyroidism.

The half-life of levothyroxine is 6-7 days, which means it takes about 4-5 weeks for your body to rid itself of levothyroxine. Nonetheless, as synthetic T4 levels start to wane, you can begin to experience symptoms within the first week of not taking your medication.

It is essential to stay current with your thyroid blood tests, thyroid doctor√Ęs visits, and maintain your prescription to prevent a recurrence of hypothyroid symptoms. Keep in mind that it takes between 4-6 weeks before thyroid replacement medication reaches its peak therapeutic effect. Therefore, if you have a lapse in taking your medicine, such as forgetting to pack it on a trip or refill your prescription, it will take time for your symptoms to stabilize.

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Read This Before You Abruptly Stop Taking Your Thyroid Medication

Most people visiting this website are looking for a natural solution to their hyperthyroid or hypothyroid condition. And of course my goal as a holistic doctor is to try to help people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions restore their health naturally. However, I also frequently state how I dont recommend for people to abruptly stop taking their thyroid medication. This of course applies to both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions.

Hyperthyroidism & Graves Disease: For people with hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease, it can be very important to continue taking antithyroid drugs and/or beta blockers to manage the symptoms. Many people I consult with become disappointed when I tell them not to abruptly stop taking their medication. Some were hoping I would tell them the opposite, and to stop taking their medication immediately. From a liability standpoint I would never tell any patient to stop taking their medication. But besides the legalities involved, I do think its important for some people to take the antithyroid drugs.

When Can Someone Stop Taking Their Thyroid Medication?

Can One Use Supplements Or Herbs To Manage The Symptoms Instead Of The Medication?

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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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
  • Itching
  • 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.

How To Take It

Side effects of not taking thyroid medication for Hypothyroidism!

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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Spacing Out Thyroid Medication And Foods

Unlike some medications that should be taken with meals, thyroid hormone pills should not be taken with food or supplements.

If possible, take the medication on an empty stomach, or an hour before eating. If you eat foods that are rich in iron, such as fiber or calcium, meats, lentils or broccoli, it’s best to wait at least two hours after you have taken the medication.

If you take calcium or iron supplements, make sure to wait several hours before taking the medication. The American Thyroid Association calls a 4-hour separation between medication and supplements “traditional, but untested.” Make sure to speak with your health care provider before taking any dietary supplements.

Alcohol Use With Synthroid

There arent any known interactions between consuming alcohol and taking Synthroid.

But drinking alcohol may affect your thyroid hormone levels.

Your doctor may change your Synthroid dose based on your hormone levels. So its important for them to know whether you consume alcohol and how much you drink. This helps them choose a Synthroid dose that works best for you.

Before you start taking Synthroid, be sure your doctor is aware of whether you consume alcohol.

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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.

What Happens If I Have No Thyroid And Do Not Take Synthroid Medication

Is it Possible to Stop Taking Thyroid Medication for Good?
27 Jun 2010 by Lori Taylor

Meaning, i have been off of thyroid medication for 8 weeks. How long can I survive without any thyroid medications in my system? What are the symptoms to be expected?

Added 27 Jun 2010:

Meaning, i have been off of thyroid medication for 8 weeks. How long can I survive without any thyroid medications in my system? What are the symptoms to be expected?

Your thyroid produces chemicals that signal many of the other systems of the body and keep it running smoothly and more efficiently. The Pituitary gland is the other endocrine regulator and if either are not working correctly or absent, you are likely going to start feeling really bad, have hormone problems, get run down, you hair may fall out or become brittle, you could be extremely agitated among other symptoms. You can look up the thyroid in and it will tell you all of the systems it helps regulate. You should also make sure you have the medication level checked every 3 months, or whenever your doctor tells you to come back because you will likely have symptoms if the level is off either way.


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