Thyroid-Medication-how-should-thyroid-tablets-be-taken-for-effective-treatment

Thyroid medication, levothyroxine, is prescribed subjective to the patient’s needs. Some individuals need a lower dose to manage their thyroid, while others need a higher dose to regulate their thyroid hormone levels.

The starting dosage for the thyroid medication depends on the patient’s body weight. Sometimes, the doctor might start with a lower dose to avoid overtreating the symptoms. Based on the prescribed doses, your doctor will ask to monitor the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels every 3-6 months.

Another factor that concerns the effective treatment with thyroid medication is the way the tablets are taken. Timely consumption, drug interaction, food interaction, etc., play a crucial role in the medication’s effectiveness.

This article will discuss everything about Thyroid medication and how it should be taken for effective treatment.

When will you need Thyroid medication?

Your doctor will prescribe you thyroid medication for two conditions:

The prescription will depend on the thyroid hormone levels, body weight, requirements and also the patient’s willingness to get on hormone therapy.

Levothyroxine is the active ingredient in all the thyroid medications that you consume. Once your doctor writes you a prescription, you can pick it up from the pharmacist, ensuring that you get the right composition, dosage, and medication.

Not just consumption, the way you store your thyroid medication matters too. You want to keep them in a cool and dry place – away from the direct sunlight or heat. Also, avoid exposing them to moisture directly.

What should I keep in mind when taking Thyroid Medication?

Once you get your thyroid medication prescribed, several factors are worth noticing. Your doctor might prescribe you levothyroxine, combination therapy with T3 and T4 or a natural desiccated thyroid drug.

Whatever it be, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. From the frequency of consumption to the drugs and food combination, there are many influencing factors you have to consider.

How often should I take my thyroid medication?

Thyroid medication has to be taken every day without fail. Most doctors advise taking it right after waking up, maybe after brushing your teeth. Ideally, you want to maintain a 30-40 minutes gap after taking your medication. During this time, avoid eating or drinking anything.

Consistency is crucial with thyroid medication. You have to take it without fail every day since missing the medicine for a day, or two can trigger the symptoms again.

Can I take thyroid medication during pregnancy?

If you are on thyroid medication and get pregnant, you’d need to consult your primary care physician immediately. Since it is a hormonal dysfunction, your doctor will monitor the thyroid levels closely and frequently. Also, your dosage might have to be increased.

Thyroid medication doesn’t interfere with lactation or breastfeeding, so you can safely take the medicine without any concern.

When should I consume my thyroid medication?

Most doctors suggest keeping a morning schedule for thyroid medicine. It is absorbed best when taken on an empty stomach in the early morning.

Also, once you take your medication, you have to fast for the next hour. This includes avoiding beverages like tea and coffee too.

If you are only on levothyroxine, some studies indicate taking it at night promote optimal absorption. However, if your prescription includes T3-T4 or desiccated thyroid medicines, you might have difficulty falling asleep if you take the medication at night.

The best way to determine the timing would be to discuss things with your doctor. You want to set a routine that you will remember and not skip out on the medicine. You can’t afford to miss out on thyroid medication.

What foods should I avoid with Thyroid Medications?

Like most drugs, food interactions with thyroid medication are prominent too. A handful of food categories can stunt the optimal absorption of the medicine into the bloodstream.

A few food types can bind to thyroid medicine and prevent steady absorption into the blood. Here’s what you need to consider avoiding:

Type of food group Food interaction Point to remember
Calcium Prevents absorption of the thyroid medication Up to 3 hours after taking medicine
Fats Inhibits absorption Consult a doctor about dosage change if you go from high fat to low-fat diet for weight loss
Fibers Excess consumption of dietary fibers can impair absorption of the medicine. Get the thyroid levels tested to check the effectiveness of the drug.
Goitrogenic foods Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. have high goitrogens, which act as anti-thyroid drugs. Consume them in moderation. Cook them thoroughly before eating.

What drugs should I avoid with Thyroid Medications?

Like foods, thyroid medication has issues with several other drug combinations too. Depending on your health and the diseases in your body, your doctor will prescribe the needed medications and help you set a schedule for their consumption too.

The following table should give you an idea about the drug interaction with thyroid medication:

Type of Drugs Drug Interaction with Thyroid Medication
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Might require a higher dose of thyroid medicine
Proton pump inhibitors Might require a higher dose of thyroid medicine
Insulins Both medications need to be taken in higher dose
Antidiabetics Both medications need to be taken in higher dose
Estrogens Might require a higher dose of thyroid medicine
Anticoagulants (blood thinners) Reduced dosage of anticoagulants
Statins Maintain 4 hours difference between two drugs
Antacids Should be taken 3 hours after thyroid medicine

Not just drugs, there are restrictions and drug interactions between thyroid medicine and supplements too.  Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Supplements Interaction with Thyroid Medicine
Calcium 3 hours after thyroid medicine
Iron 2 hours after thyroid medicine
Biotin 1 hour after thyroid medicine
Vitamin C Enhances thyroid medicine absorption
Iodine Irritate thyroid gland

You should discuss supplements and their consumption at length with your doctor before you start taking them.

Conclusion

Be it for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, the effectiveness of the thyroid medication is all consistency. You can better manage the symptoms if you take your medication on time every day. Also, avoid overdosing or doubling the T3 dugs with hyperthyroidism. It can be quite fatal for the patient. Besides the timing, remember the food and other drug interactions with the thyroid medicine to improve its absorption into the bloodstream.

 

I'm a dentist by profession and a public speaker by passion. I started my journey towards being a medical professional quite early. I decided as young as 12 that I wanted to be a doctor. When I started working I realised there is a gap between the general public and medical professionals. I started working towards bridging that by collaborating with NGOs by including children and exposing them to the need of good health. I worked with ISKON to set up COVID camps in Delhi and have continued being a part of discussions and talks emphasizing the importance of being actively involved in taking care of your health.

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