Hypothyroidism medication involves looking for methods to compensate for low thyroid levels in the body. Furthermore, these medications often act as either thyroid hormone replacements or help stimulate thyroid hormone production. However, treating hypothyroidism can get be difficult. Here are a few tips that can be useful for people trying to maintain effective treatment methods.
Hypothyroidism Medication Tips for an Effective Treatment
1. Main Hypothyroidism Treatment Option: Levothyroxine
Levothyroxine is a synthetic replacement for thyroxine (T4), one of the thyroid hormones. Being a means of hormone replacement, Levothyroxine takes on the mechanism associated with the naturally produced version of the thyroid hormone. Given this, individuals who use this type of medication experience an alleviation of most symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Among the symptoms alleviated are the following:
- Weight gain
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2. Take It on an Empty Stomach
It may seem counter-intuitive to take medications while hungry. We have grown accustomed to taking medicine after meals to help with absorption as well as to prevent ulcers from developing. However, the body is able to absorb thyroid hormone replacements more effectively on an empty stomach. Because of this, doctors advise their patients to not eat at least an hour before and after taking their hormone replacement medications.
3. Wait Before Taking Other Medications
Do not take any other orally administered pharmaceuticals at the same time as taking your thyroid hormone replacement. Furthermore, it is especially important involving medications such as antacids, calcium supplements, iron supplements, and cholesterol management drugs. This, too, can hinder proper absorption of the hormone. Given this, it is necessary to wait for an hour after having taken the hormones should there be a need to take other medications.
4. Don’t Neglect Taking Your Medications
It is very important to maintain a regular schedule for your hypothyroidism treatment. Moreover, it is crucial that you take your medication at the same time each day. This is because any irregularity in dosage will hamper its effects. Given this, you should consider using a pillbox to keep your medications in order. Additionally, you can also set an alarm on your phone as a reminder.
5. Inform Your Doctor of Other Medications You are Taking
Sometimes, merely waiting an hour before or after taking thyroid hormone replacements prior to taking other medications isn’t enough. Other hormone-related medications, as well as seizure drugs and anti-depressants, can affect how the body absorbs the synthetic thyroid hormone. Make sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any other medications.
6. Use the Same Brand as Often as Possible
It is important to stick with the same brand of medication when seeking out hormone replacement therapy. Aside from brand, a huge factor in this type of treatment is consistency. Take the same dosage, at the same time of day, everyday.
Given this, doctors would advise sticking with the same brand of synthetic thyroid hormones in order to avoid any variation in dosage. This is because the amount of synthetic thyroid hormone is not necessarily the same across all brands of medications. However, if you do want to change your medication brand, consult with your doctor before doing so.
7. Don’t Take Too Much Thyroid Hormone
It is important that you adhere to your prescribed dosage. Given this, it is necessary that you avoid taking too much even though the T4 thyroid hormone has been found safe. An excess of the T4 hormone can bring about symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. The following are a few examples of hypothyroidism symptoms:
- Poor sleep and concentration
- Palpitation (rapid heartbeat)
- Brittle bones
If you are currently taking medications for thyroid hormone replacement, watch out for the mentioned symptoms. Given this, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage if you begin to experience any or all of the said symptoms.
8. Avoid Calcium-Rich Foods
Being on thyroid hormone replacement therapy will require you to adjust your diet. This is because there are certain foods that affect your ability to absorb thyroid hormone. Furthermore, it is best that you keep the calcium in your diet controlled. If you are on thyroid hormone replacement therapy, try to remove the following foods from your diet:
- Sardines (with spine)
9. Avoid Consuming Too Much Soy
Doctors also discourage consuming too much soy. This also affects how we process synthetic thyroid hormones. However, you don’t have to remove this from your diet entirely. If you remain consistent in the amount of soy that you consume, you can ask your doctor to adjust your dosage to accommodate this. Again, it is important that you communicate with your doctor regarding your medication.
10. Let Your Doctor Know About Your Supplements
In addition to your diet and other medications, make sure that your doctor knows about any supplements you take. It is especially important to inform your doctor about dietary supplements if they contain iodine. This is because iodine is heavily involved in the process of producing thyroid hormone. Given this, having too much iodine in your system can potentially skew the balance of thyroid hormone in the body.
11. Don’t Eat Too Much Iodine-Rich Food
— Thyroid Symptoms (@ThyroidSymptms) September 27, 2017
As mentioned, it is not advisable to have an excess of iodine in the body while taking thyroid hormone replacement medications. Given this, you should also be aware of how much iodine you consume through your diet. The following foods are known to be rich in iodine:
- Sea Vegetables
If any of the mentioned foods or any other iodine-rich foods are integral to your diet, make sure that you let your doctor know. It is important to give him or her enough information to approximate how much iodine you regularly take.
If you want to learn more about synthetic and natural thyroid hormone replacement therapy, watch this video by Dr. Jason Pickel.
Hypothyroidism medication is complicated. It is more than just taking pills every day because it demands that you maintain consistency — from your diet to other medications and supplements you may be taking. Most importantly, when it comes to long-term therapy such as this, it is crucial to maintain good communication with your doctor. It is necessary that he or she be able to make any adjustments to your medication and appropriately tailor your therapy to your lifestyle.
Do you have other hypothyroidism medication tips? Please feel free to share your experience and thoughts with us in the comments section below!