The thyroid gland is one of the organs releasing a life-important thyroid hormone. The American Thyroid Association claims that 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease. A significant percentage of these are people with the underactive thyroid gland. Their disease is called hypothyroidism. Synthroid, the drug we are going to speak about today, is aimed at supporting healthy levels of this crucial human hormone in those individuals whose thyroid fails to fulfill its function properly.
Thanks to Synthroid, people with hypothyroidism can get rid of almost permanent tiredness, improve the condition of their skin, normalize the work of the heart, and improve their general health condition overall.
Synthroid is a thyroid hormone developed synthetically in the chemical laboratories. It is identical in structure and effects induced by the natural hormone released by the thyroid gland. The active ingredient of the medication is levothyroxine sodium. It totally replaces or helps to achieve healthy levels of thyroid hormone in people whose organ is malfunctioning or was removed surgically.
The drug is not intended to treat temporary hypothyroidism caused by thyroiditis (gland inflammation). Though Synthroid can be applied in complex treatment of cancerous processes in the thyroid, the drug is not appropriate for the therapy of non-cancerous tumors. Besides, Synthroid is not intended to treat thyroid gland enlargement when it is not accompanied by changes in the normal levels of iodine.
Thyroid dysfunction cannot be cured. The only way to support the patient’s health is a life-long hormone replacement therapy. Therefore, Synthroid should be taken for life. As for the frequency of intake, the medication is recommended to be taken once daily. Food can affect the absorption of levothyroxine, thus it should be taken on an empty stomach about 30 – 60 minutes before a meal.
The dose of the medication needed varies for different patients. It may take several attempts to choose the exact dose of Synthroid that will be enough to maintain the patient’s health condition and not cause any unwanted symptoms.
The dosing regimen for each patient is determined, taking into account his/her weight, age, overall health condition, results of the thyroid hormone levels tests, and your response to the therapy. Depending on different factors, the dose of the drug may need to be changed. To such situations belong the pregnancy of the patient, development of some new general health problems, worsening of the function of the gland, changes in weight, etc.
Because Synthroid is actually a thyroid hormone, which is normally produced within the human body, it doesn’t impose any serious side effects. The only problem one can face is hair loss. It is usually a temporary condition characteristic of the initial stages of therapy with Synthroid. Yet if it lasts for too long of the hair loss gets more intensive, contact your healthcare provider. However, the described scenario is possible when your daily dose of levothyroxine is set correctly.
In case your healthcare provider prescribes you an excessively high dose of the hormone, you may experience hyperthyroidism symptoms. They can range from light to severe. It depends on the level of an excess of thyroid hormone. The health problems you may have are listed below:
Changes in the heartbeat;
Pain in the bones;
Swelling of the feet or hands;
Whenever you experience these reactions, stop taking Synthroid and go to the doctors to get immediate medical help.
Thyroid gland problems can affect the ability of women to conceive. When getting therapy with Synthroid, the infertility problem can disappear. The use of this medication during pregnancy is allowed. Moreover, you have to inform your doctor about your condition, as your dose of Synthroid may need to be increased. Don’t stop taking the drug abruptly. It can provoke a miscarriage.
Intake of the medication by breastfeeding mothers possesses no danger to the nursing baby. Still, the dose needs to be discussed with a medical specialist.
Normally, the thyroid hormone gets from the thyroid gland right into the bloodstream. Therefore, neither food nor drinks we consume play a significant role in our thyroid hormone amounts. However, when taking a synthetic hormone, which gets into the organism via the gastric tract, the impact of food on the speed and the levels of its absorption does play a role. For this reason, people taking Synthroid should avoid concomitant intake of this medication with the following products:
Calcium or iron supplements.
It’s crucial to select the right dose of the medication to get the most benefit from it. To help your doctor set the right dosing regimen, you need to tell him/her about all the major health conditions you suffer and provide a list of medications and herbal products you take as some of them may also influence the dose of the Synthroid needed. Don’t forget to inform your attending doctor if you have:
Adrenal gland dysfunction;
Heart disease, including irregular heart rhythm.
The possibility that you have one of the listed health issues along with low thyroid function is very high. The reason is that hypothyroidism can cause rapid weight gain and obesity. The latter is a risk factor for three of the mentioned diseases.
Diabetics taking Synthroid should regularly check their blood sugar levels. Any symptoms of elevated blood glucose levels are a reason to call your doctor.