If you’ve been told by your doctor that you need thyroid replacement hormone, you’re not alone. Millions of people either have an underactive thyroid or a thyroid gland that’s been removed due to disease. Indeed, thyroid hormone replacement is the most common type of hormone replacement therapy. You can’t stay healthy if you do not have thyroid hormones, for these hormones support the health of every bodily system.
The thyroid naturally produces a number of hormones, but the main hormones are thyroxine and triiodothyronine, or T4 and T3 respectively. T3 is responsible for most of the effects in the body, and when the thyroid secretes T4, much of it is changed into T3.
The thyroid hormones the doctor prescribes are natural or synthetic. Natural thyroid hormones come from beef or pork, but others are synthetic. They are:
• levothyroxine sodium
• liothyronine sodium
The first one is a version of T4, the second is a version of T3,and liotrix is a mix of both. They can be taken by adults and children who are deficient in thyroid hormone. Here’s some information on these hormones:
The standard adult dosage of this synthetic hormone is between 12.5 and 125 micrograms a day. The hormone is usually taken orally as tablets or capsules but can be powdered if it’s given intravenously. All forms of the hormone should be kept at room temperature and out of the light in a tightly closed container.
The amount of levothyroxine varies depending on your age, how well you tolerate the hormone, any co-occurring disorders you have and how much thyroid hormone you already have in their blood. It usually takes one to three weeks before you start to see the effects of the hormone. Levothyroxine can react with insulin and other medications used to treat diabetes and can enhance the effect of anticoagulants.
As your hormone levels start to return to normal, levothyroxine might make beta blockers less effective and raise the blood levels of theophylline, a medication used to treat respiratory conditions. If the hormone is taken at the same time as calcium carbonate or medications taken to treat high cholesterol levels, its effectiveness may be lowered since levothyroxine binds to the medications and the body won’t absorb it.
Most patients who take liothyronine sodium start at 5 to 25 micrograms daily, then the dose is adjusted as their body responds to the medication. The best dosage for liothyronine sodium depends on the individual patient. Like levothyroxine, liothyronine interacts with cholesterol-lowering drugs, insulin and theophylline. It is taken in tablet form and as an injectable. Tablets should be stored at room temperature, and it’s best to store the injectable preparation in the refrigerator.
Liotrix is also taken orally, usually once a day. It is best to take it on an empty stomach about a half an hour to an hour before eating breakfast. Take it the same time each day, and don’t stop taking the drug until you speak to your doctor first. As with the other synthetic hormones, your doctor will start you on a low dose then adjust it as they see how your body reacts to it. Like the other hormones, Liotrix can interact with other medications such as beta-blockers, blood thinners and insulin.
Liotrix comes in five potencies, and the tablet has two layers. The top layer is T3 and the bottom is T4. The smallest dosage is a violet over white pill that contains 3.1 mcg of T3 and 12.5 mcg of T4. The highest dosage, a yellow over white pill, contains 37.5 mcg over 150 mcg.
All three of these synthetic hormones can be used while a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. The synthetic hormone does pass into breast milk but in minute amounts. If you’re pregnant or a new mom and worried about thyroid medication, consult with your doctor.
Most people tolerate the synthetic hormones well, and side effects usually occur when you have too much and you enter a state of hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of this include:
• rapid heart rate or pulse
• chest pain
• weight loss
• irregular menstruation
Patients who take liotrix may notice hair loss for the first weeks after they start the hormone, but this usually goes away.
Contact Us For More Information
If you are worried that you have an underactive thyroid and need hormone replacement therapy, don’t hesitate to call our professionals at Revive IV Therapy. We stand ready to help. Call now at (205) 352-9141.