Thyroid (Oral)

As a thyroid agent, it relieves the symptoms of hypothyroidism also known as underactive thyroid disease. Other symptoms are depression, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, muscle cramps and a lack of energy.


Thyroid medication, in most cases is taken orally throughout one's lifetime. Your doctor may change the dosage depending on health conditions or the introductions of other medications. Because thyroid supplies the body with much-needed hormone, the dosage should be taken each morning or as directed by your doctor.

Every individual is different, it may take a few weeks before you recognize the improvements. Although the medication does not cure the condition (s), it does help to manage the symptoms. The relief has significant effects on your metabolism, and it may influence heart and digestive functions along with improving muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance.

Thyroid is used to treat enlarged thyroid glands known as a goiter. Sometimes, it's used to treat thyroid cancer or for diagnosing certain thyroid conditions.

Type of Medicine

  • Hormone agent

Condition(s) Treated

Side Effects

Medicines help to relieve much of the pain attributed to health conditions; they also help to increase the potential for living healthier and happier lifestyles. There are instances where side effects do occur in some individuals, so it is important to talk with your doctor when you are not feeling well after taking your medications.

Thyroid has caused some side effects, while some patients have no problems at all. In either case, understanding your condition and the potential side effects when taking thyroid agents will help to manage your health.

  • Change In Appetite
  • Change In Menstrual Periods
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Hand Tremors
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Leg Cramps
  • Nervousness
  • Shortness Of Breath
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss

Some side effects may be serious enough to prevent you from performing daily activities. If any of these conditions persist - it's imperative that you contact your doctor at once. If you are a caretaker and the patient collapses, faints or is not responding, you need to call emergency:

  • Rash
  • Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing
  • Chest Pain
  • Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Swelling of the Hands, Feet, Ankles or Lower Legs
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Sensitivity or Intolerance to Heat
  • Nervousness
  • Seizure

Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, there is high risk to your health for taking too much of this medication. When taken as directed, you will feel better in a few days after starting the treatment. If you experience any negative reactions, contact your doctor. You may need to adjust the amounts or change the brand. At no time should you make any of these critical decisions on your own.


Thyroid comes in tablets or capsules. Be sure to verify the brand at the pharmacy- it should be identical to the doctor's prescription. There is a reason your doctor prescribes brands, since each drug may contain different chemical compositions affecting the results in treating your condition.

Talk with your doctor and take a few minutes to speak with the pharmacist if you have questions. You should follow the schedule prescribed - no skipping and take the medication before you have a meal.

Your age, overall health and current thyroid levels determine the dosage. There may be issues or concerns about your weight, especially related to heart conditions, in which case, your doctor may start your schedule with a lower dosage. As your condition improves or changes, your doctor will adapt the dose to correspond with your health.

After your doctor's visit before leaving the office, it's normal practice to schedule a "follow up"appointment. Don't be surprised if your doctor has you scheduled for a blood test - they want to make sure your thyroid hormone levels are healthy. Like most lifelong health treatments - routine follow up and lab tests are part of managing your health.

Dosing varies from person to person. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions and always ask questions if you are unclear of anything - this is about taking care of your health.

  • Adults may average 15 - 30 up to 60-120 milligrams a day depending on health conditions.

Children's prescriptions vary according to health, age and weight.

  • Under the age of 6 months - 15-30 milligrams per day.
  • Up to 12 months of age - 30-45 milligrams a day.
  • 1-5 years of age - 45-60 milligrams a day.
  • 6-12 years of age - 60-90 milligrams a day.
  • Over the age of 12 - 90 milligrams a day.

If you miss a dose for whatever reason - take it immediately or as soon as possible and continue your normal schedule. If it is time for your regular dose - DO NOT increase the amount of dosage prescribed as a method of catching up. The increased dosage may cause serious side effects. Be sure to contact your doctor and let them know you missed a complete dose.


Thyroid medicines do interact with other drugs or medical treatments. Some interactions will cause a change in how Thyroid hormone medications response, creating side effects and preventing the intended results for good health. The level of toxicity between the thyroid medicine and other medications can trigger serious side effects.

Drugs that may interact with thyroid medications:

  • Anti-seizure Medicines
  • Birth Control
  • Estrogen
  • Cancer Drugs
  • Depression Medicines
  • Testosterone

If you are taking any of these medicines, talk with your doctor to decide if you need a change of dose or brand, since they can alter the results. This is the main reason, doctors ask about any medications you are currently taking. They may find it necessary to change the prescribed brand or the dosage to prevent as side effects or increased health concerns. It's a good idea to fill all of your prescriptions at the same pharmacy because the pharmacist reviews your medical history and make the necessary recommendation to prevent interactions.

There are also external factors that can cause thyroid medication interactions. Certain foods or supplements can affect how our body absorbs and processes the medication. It's one reason most doctors will suggest you take your medication on an empty stomach or at least one hour before eating or drinking your morning protein shake or coffee.

If you routinely take over-the-counter antacids, iron or calcium supplements they can prevent the body from absorbing your thyroid medication. Four hours between taking thyroid and these supplements is recommended - if you have questions, ask your doctor for suggestions to ensure the best health results.

Our biological processes affect how we accept external medicines, for example, thyroid hormones are absorbed in the small intestines. Conditions related to lactose intolerance, malabsorption or infection in the small intestines might prevent the absorption of the thyroid hormone. If any of these health conditions exist for you - you need to speak with your doctor before starting your treatment. Your doctor may reduce the starting doses or suggest meeting with a dietician to discuss the proper methods, schedules and foods to ensure absorption.


Anything to with your health involves warnings - it is important to keep regular visits with your doctor when undergoing any type of health treatment. You want to make sure the medicine is working and whether or not you should continue or make a change. Since most improvements happen inside of our body, you need to have lab test so your doctor can verify the results.

Sometimes our body sends physical signals as alerts that something is wrong and you need to see the doctor immediately. Some of these signals may be an increase heart rate, chest pains or biological malfunctions like diarrhea or severe rashes.

Thyroid treatment can cause infertility in some men and women when the thyroid condition is cause by another health issue other than hypothyroidism.

FDA Warnings

The have been some thyroid products with varying quality, today FDA ensures generics or brand names are subjected to the same guidelines. There are still concerns on whether generic thyroid medications are as effective as the brand products.

Your doctor may have a preference of using brand products throughout the entire treatment process since shifting brands in the middle of treatment may alter the results. The goal remains the same - to stabilize the patient's condition.


A professional healthcare provider or a medical practitioner should be the only source of prescribing medications. Medicines should be kept out of reach of children or elderly adults to avoid accidents. Most medications come in an airtight container with packets to prevent moisture from changing the medicine contents - be sure to keep those packets in place or discard them properly if the instructions allow them to be removed.

All medications have expiration dates - they should be discarded to avoid any accidental consumption by pets, children or adults. Don't flush medications down the toilet - these waterways lead to larger water vats and could cause contaminations.

If you are using weekly pill containers, be sure to keep them out of reach of children and select a container with child resistant or safety caps to prevent the cap from separating, in the event it falls to the floor and a tablet rolls to a hidden location only accessible by a child.

If you are unsure of how to dispose of medications, every hospital is more than happy to take your unused portions and discard them for you.


The goal of taking thyroid medicines is to assist the body with the needed amounts of thyroid hormone when the gland is not able to generate enough by itself. Thyroid treatments help to normalize blood levels of TSH, T4 and T3 hormones normally produced by the body.

Last Reviewed:
December 25, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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