9 Do's and Don'ts for Taking Thyroid Medicine

  • Middle aged Caucasian woman taking pill from prescription bottle
    Take control of your condition.
    If you have hypothyroidism, most likely your doctor has prescribed synthetic thyroxine (Synthroid and Levoxyl are brand names for the drug) to replace the hormones your thyroid is no longer able to make. These pills completely control the condition for many people, but to work, you must take them correctly. Make sure you know how.

  • Patient and doctor
    1. Don’t give up.
    If you’ve just begun taking thyroid medication, give it time to work. It can take several weeks to feel a difference. Also, work closely with your doctor to find the right dose. It may take a little trial and error before you find what works best for you.

  • smiling woman taking vitamins
    2. Do take your pill every day.
    For thyroxine to be effective, it’s important to take it every day without fail — even if you feel fine. If you stop taking your medication, your body’s functions will begin slowing down and symptoms will return.

  • hand holding pill over glass of water
    3. Don’t forget to wash it down.
    Always take thyroxine with fluids. If a pill dissolves in your mouth or throat, not enough of the medication will be absorbed into your blood. Most drinks are fine options, except soy milk. Soy can decrease the absorption of thyroxine in the blood.

  • Mature woman sitting on bed reading information on pill bottle
    4. Do get into a routine.
    Try to take your pill at the same time every day, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach. To help you remember, pair it with another daily routine, such as brushing your teeth. If you forget your daily dose, take it as soon as you remember.

  • capsule-pills
    5. Don’t pop vitamins at the same time.
    If you’re in the habit of taking daily supplements at the same time as your medications, hold off. Some supplements, like calcium and iron, can prevent your body from absorbing thyroxine. Try to wait four hours after taking thyroid medication to swallow your supplements.

  • Close-up of woman's hand taking prescription medication pills
    6. Do check your prescription.
    Make sure you’re taking the right medication. To check that the pharmacy has given you the correct pill and dosage that your doctor prescribed, visit My Pill Check.  You can view a photo gallery of what your prescribed pills should look like.

  • pills, medication
    7. Don’t use thyroxine for weight loss.
    People on the right dose of thyroxine will not rapidly lose weight, but the medication can make losing weight easier. Never use higher doses for weight loss. Too much medication can cause serious side effects, such as heart damage.

  • Doctor giving pregnant woman prescription medicine
    8. Do take your medicine during pregnancy.
    If you become pregnant, it’s important for you and your future newborn's health to continue taking your thyroxine. It won’t hurt your baby. In fact, you may need higher dosages during pregnancy to keep up with your body’s demands. Work closely with your doctor to find the right level.

  • seaweed salad, seaweed, salad
    9. Don’t reach for iodine.
    Iodine is an essential mineral for thyroid health. But taking iodine drops or bulking up on foods high in iodine, such as kelp, won’t help. In fact, heavy iodine intake can actually worsen hypothyroidism. Stick with your doctor’s prescription to keep your condition under control.

9 Do’s and Don’ts for Taking Thyroid Medicine

About The Author

  1. Hypothyroidism: A Booklet For Patients And Their Families. American Thyroid Association. http://thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypothyroidism_web_booklet.pdf

  2. Hypothyroidism. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases. http://www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/hypothyroidism/

  3. FAQ: Thyroid Hormone Treatment. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/faq-thyroid-hormone-treatment/

  4. My Pill Check. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. http://www.thyroidawareness.com/

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Last Review Date: 2019 Oct 4
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