Synthroid, also known by the generic names levothyroxine sodium, Levothroid, Levoxyl, and Unithroid, is used to treat hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, and some types of goiters. It can also be used to treat infertility where hyperthyroidism is the cause.
Hyperthyroidism (underactive thyroid function) can be caused by low levels of the thyroid hormone due to thyroid removal, certain medical conditions, or injury to the gland. Uncontrollable weight gain is one sign of an underactive thyroid. Proper thyroid function is vital to normal mental and physical function in adults and in the proper development of mental and physical function in children.
This synthetic hormone aids in replacing thyroid hormones in the body that are missing and is well-tolerated by most people. As with any medication, there are some side effects ranging from mild to rare. Most side effects tend to present when the dosage is too high and subside when the dosage is adjusted.
Possible Synthroid Side Effects
- Temporary hair loss (very common during the first few weeks of usage)
- Increased appetite accompanied by weight gain
- Hot flashes that may include excessive sweating
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Hyperactive behavior
- Irritability and other emotional changes
- Heart problems like palpitations, rapid heart beat, chest pain, heart attack, or heart failure
- Menstrual or fertility problems in women
- Painful or difficult breathing
- Weakened bone structure
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness or shakiness
Signs of Allergic Reaction
- Swelling, primarily in the mouth, tongue and/or throat
Any changes in your physical or mental state should be reported to you doctor when taking this medication.
Drug interactions currently known include calcium, some seizure medications, antacids or gas-relievers, anti-depressants, diabetes medications, iron, and other medications or supplements. A full list can be obtained from your pharmacist.
People with existing medical conditions including a previous heart attack or other heart conditions, adrenal deficiency, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), osteoporosis, diabetes, or allergies need to tell their doctor about these conditions before taking Synthroid.
Pregnant women, those considering getting pregnant, and those who are nursing should be sure to inform their doctor and OB/GYN if they are currently taking this medication.
Taken as directed and under a doctor's supervision, Synthroid is considered a safe and effective prescription thyroid replacement drug that most people can tolerate without side effects.
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