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Synthroid (Levothyroxine; a thyroid hormone), is used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Levothyroxine is also used to treat congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism) and goiter (enlarged thyroid gland). Levothyroxine 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 the 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
Levothyroxine comes as a tablet and a capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken once a day on an empty stomach, one half to one 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. The tablets may get stuck in your throat or cause choking or gagging; therefore, the tablet should be taken with a full glass of water. If you are giving levothyroxine to an infant, child, or adult who cannot swallow the tablet, crush the tablet and mix it in 1 to 2 teaspoons of plain water. Give this mixture by spoon or dropper right away. Do not store this mixture. Only mix the crushed tablets with water. Do not mix with food or soybean infant formula. 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 cause side effects including but not limited to:
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away.
If you experience either of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
If your condition doesn’t improve or worsens, let your physician know immediately.
Q: Why is Synthroid prescribed?
A: Synthroid is a thyroid medicine that replaces a hormone normally produced by your thyroid gland to regulate the body's energy and metabolism.
Q: Does Synthroid have a generic alternative?
A: Synthroid is only available in the brand name.
Q: How long until I see the effects of Synthroid?
A: It may take several weeks before your body starts to respond to levothyroxine. Keep using this medicine even if you feel well.
Q: What if I miss a dose of Synthroid?
A: Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
Q: How should I store this medication?
A: Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).