Levothyroxine, a medication that is also sold under the brand name Synthroid, is a medication that is used to regulate the hormone production of the thyroid gland. The medication is unique due to the fact that both underprduction, called hypothyroidism, and overproduction, called hyperthyroidism, are treated with the same medication. If you think you are in need of levothyroxine, here are some steps to follow to try and ensure that you get correct and adequate treatment:
Understand your Symptoms
Thyroid issues are most often diagnosed in terms of how quickly the processes in your body function. Too much thyroid activity will mean that you can't sit still, you're losing more weight than is healthy, and you can't sleep. Stool is usually quick and runny, following every meal. Too little thyroid activity means that you are sluggish and bloated, your brain is foggy, and you have trouble pooping and losing weight. If you have either of these sets of symptoms, thyroid is a likely cause. However, the next step is to go to a doctor and validate this with a blood test.
Doctors test for thyroid issues by looking at how much thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH, is in your blood. This is a hormone that your body releases to tell your thyroid to work harder. A high level of thyroid stimulating hormone means that your thyroid is underfunctioning. A low level of TSH means that your thyroid is working so hard that your body doesn't need to ask it for anything. If your body falls under or over the normal range, doctors will suggest that you start on levothyroxine to help your body produce the correct range.
The doctor will use a number of factors to calculate how much levothyroxine for you to use. Your age, weight, health status, pregnancy status and blood levels are all factors in discovering the right dosage for you. Often, a doctor will give you an initial dosage that will get you started, with a plan to check blood levels each month and adjust it to the perfect dose level. You can usually tell that you have the right dose when the symptoms that brought you to the doctor in the first place reverse themselves. Things like weight gain over time may require more than medication. Instead, you will need to use the extra energy you now have for exercising the weight off.
Levothyroxine is known to have interactions with some food. It will bind to the food and pass through the system instead of absorbing into the bloodstream. Because of this, pharmacists will tell you to take your dose an hour before your first meal. Many will also tell you to avoid dairy within four hours of your dose, due to high interaction rates with calcium.