Synthroid is a preparation applied as hormone-replacement therapy in people with thyroid hormone deficiency. The drug was developed in the late 1920s and is now taking the leading positions among the preparations used in medicine. Only in the United States, more than 100 Synthroid prescriptions are given yearly, let alone the numbers on a global scale.
This preparation doesn’t only treat certain diseases, it can significantly improve the quality of life of patients taking it and even give a chance for life for some of them. So it’s not surprising that this drug is on the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines.
The thyroid gland secretes a hormone called L-thyroxine. Under certain circumstances (either congenital or gained), the levels of this hormone decrease causing a number of health problems, including increased tiredness, weight gain, feeling cold, slow heart rate, constipation, and other symptoms that signal the slowdown of all the vital processes going on in the human body.
Synthroid is a synthetic analog of levothyroxine. It is applied in patients suffering from hypothyroidism triggered by:
the surgical removal of the thyroid gland;
radiation therapy to treat thyroid gland cancer;
some infections, etc.
This medication is also recommended to the patients with some types of goiter, thyroid cancer, and infertility caused by levothyroxine deficiency. Synthroid contains the hormone, which is naturally produced in the human body. For this reason, it can be used in all people since birth.
Synthroid works exactly as its naturally-secreted counterpart. This hormone supports normal metabolism, helps brain development (especially in children), takes part in the muscle function, bone development and maintenance. Levothyroxine also affects the digestive function and helps the regulation of the heart rate.
Like many other hormonal medications, it is advised to take Synthroid tablets at the same time daily. The pill should be taken in the morning at least 30 – 60 minutes before a meal.
When it goes about the therapy of children who cannot swallow the tablet whole, it is advised to crush it and mix the powder with one or two teaspoons of water. The mixture should be given to a child right away. Its storage is unacceptable.
Your doctor may give some other instructions concerning Synthroid intake. These are only general recommendations.
Don’t expect fast improvements. Your body needs to accumulate enough hormone to respond to the treatment, which may take from four to six weeks. So be patient and follow the recommendations of your attending doctor.
The therapy with Synthroid may last for months, years, or even for life.
The administration of hormones is never a thing to decide without a proper physical examination, analysis, and a doctor’s consultation. Only after you fulfill all the mentioned steps, your doctor will be able to decide whether you need to take Synthroid. And if you do, then what daily dose will be the most appropriate for you. The choice of the correct dose of Synthroid is a complex procedure, which depends on the following factors:
age of the patient;
the initial cause of L-thyroxine deficiency;
the results of the tests for thyroid hormone levels;
the presence or absence of certain comorbidities;
the cardiological status of the patient;
drugs used concomitantly;
food products that are eaten by the patient;
the period of pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Judging by the number of aspects that should be taken into account, only a highly qualified specialist-endocrinologist can help you with the choice of the correct Synthroid dosage.
To check if the drug works well and your dosage is selected right, you’ll have to pass regular blood tests to monitor your thyroid hormone levels.
Some categories of patients may need to start the therapy with the dose that is lower than their full replacement dose and gradually titrate it up.
Patients suffering from certain health issues may be more sensitive to the effects of Synthroid. Their treatment demands caution and, possibly, a gradual increase of the drug dose. The conditions you should inform your doctor about are:
pituitary gland disorders;
anemia (low count of red blood cells);
a nodule on the thyroid gland;
heart health issues;
high blood pressure.
Some of these diseases may need your Synthroid dose to be reduced or change the dosing regimen of other preparations you use. Food allergies may also play a role in the dose of Synthroid you are prescribed. Don’t forget to mention them in your talk with a doctor.
Diabetics will have to intensify the control over their blood sugar levels as Synthroid may have an impact on them. Usually, diabetic patients need their insulin dose to be reduced to avoid hypoglycemia. Be ready that your diabetes symptoms may get worse with the initiation of the therapy with Synthroid.
Pregnancy increases the need of the body for levothyroxine. Therefore, your doctor may change your daily dose of the medication right after you conceive a baby and throughout the pregnancy.
Breastfeeding is allowed when on Synthroid as this medication is safe for infants and nursing babies. Still, your daily dosage may need to be adjusted.
Concomitant use of some drugs with Synthroid can trigger a number of adverse reactions, increase their frequency and severity, or worsen your health condition overall. It’s better to avoid mixing Synthroid with the following preparations:
Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine - these may increase the risks for cardiovascular adverse reactions.
Metformin may lose its efficiency when applied together with Synthroid.
Omeprazole is likely to lower the efficiency of the hormone-replacement therapy, so a dose titration is required.
Trazodone. There is some evidence of Synthroid potentiating the trazodone antidepressant effect.
Warfarin when mixed with Synthroid may provoke bleeding.
Digoxin efficiency reduces when on Synthroid. Therefore, a digoxin dose increase is required;
Sucroferric oxyhydroxide may affect levothyroxine effectiveness by lowering it, thus demanding to substitute the former with more appropriate medication.
There may be some other hazardous interactions, so you’d better tell your doctor about all the medicinal products you use.
Although thyroid hormone containing in Synthroid tablets is naturally produced in the human body, there are still some conditions that don’t allow a patient to administer its synthetic substitute.
Allergy to the hormone itself is impossible, yet you may be hypersensitive to one of the inactive ingredients of the pills. Be careful with that and study the tablet composition.
Untreated or uncontrolled adrenal gland disorder may also become an obstacle on your way to the treatment with Synthroid. You should treat the adrenal gland to be able to take Synthroid safely.
A current/recent heart attack is also a contraindication to Synthroid intake, as the medication can worsen heart health problems and exacerbate the patient’s condition.
By no means should patients with hyperthyroidism take this medication. Otherwise, they risk developing severe adverse effects.
This preparation should never be used with the aim of losing weight especially in combination with appetite suppressors and other weight loss tablets.
The major hazard of administering Synthroid is the development of side effects associated with excessively high levels of thyroid hormone. They may manifest through the following symptoms:
shortness of breath;
pain in the bones;
any changes in the heart rhythm;
Some of these side effects (especially the cardiovascular ones) may need immediate medical attention. As for others, you may contact your doctor via phone or set an appointment to make changes to your dosing regimen..
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