How To Take Your Thyroid Hormone Replacement Medication

Timing, Interactions With Foods and Drugs

Whether you take a levothyroxine drug like Synthroid or Levoxyl, or a natural desiccated thyroid medication like Nature-throid or Armour Thyroid, it's important that you know how to properly take that thyroid medication.

Learn more about the best timing for taking your thyroid hormone replacement medication, absorption, the potential interactions with foods and drinks, interactions with drugs and supplements, and creative ways to remember to to take your prescribed thyroid medication each day. .

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It's not enough for it to sit in your cabinet, on your vanity, or be tucked away in a drawer. You need to take your thyroid medication daily, and take it correctly, as prescribed. Here is a quick "how-to" guide that offers pointers on how to properly take your thyroid hormone replacement medications so that they are safe and effective, and fully treat your underactive thyroid.

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It's important that you properly absorb your thyroid hormone replacement medication, to ensure the best possible effectiveness, resolution of symptoms, and to restore your thyroid to balance. How should you take your thyroid medication? Is it better to take it with food, or on an empty stomach? This article looks at the latest thinking on this important question. Read more now

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When is the best time of day to take your thyroid medication? Does a high-fiber diet have an impact on your thyroid medication? Should you take iodine and kelp? Are goitrogenic foods, those cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, safe for you to eat as a thyroid patient? What do you need to know about antacids, calcium, iron, and antidepressants you may be taking along with your prescription thyroid hormone replacement drugs? Learn about food, drug and supplement interactions with your thyroid now.

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When you're on thyroid hormone replacement drugs, your continued health depends on taking your prescribed thyroid drugs daily, as specified by your doctor. Even a day or two's failure to take thyroid medications can throw off your treatment regimen, cause fluctuations in your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level, worsen your thyroid symptoms, and have an effect on your overall health. This is why it is critical that you remember to take your thyroid medicine daily, ideally at the same time(s) every day, as recommended by your doctor. Here are some tips on how to remember to take your thyroid medication.

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While the standard recommendation is to take your thyroid hormone replacement medication in the morning, research now suggests that taking levothyroxine at bedtime may be better for some patients. Would taking your pills at night be better for your thyroid health? Find out the answer now. 

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Around the world, many people start their day with a cup of coffee, a cappuccino, or an espresso. At the same time, there are many people with various thyroid conditions who rely on synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication like levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Unithroid) to treat their hypothyroidism. And following doctor's instructions, most of those people take their thyroid pills in the morning. There is a problem, however, when coffee drinkers take their prescription thyroid medication along with their morning coffee or espresso. Find out why you should wait for that morning cup of joe. 

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Should You Be Concerned About Taking Generic Thyroid Drugs?

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For insurance companies and HMOs, generic levothyroxine is considered equivalent to the brand name drugs like Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Tirosint. Because there is a substantial cost differential between generic levothyroxine and many of the brand name products, insurers, HMOs, and patients have been turning to generic levothyroxine. But should you be concerned about taking generic levothyroxine, instead of a brand name thyroid hormone replacement drug?

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If you are on thyroid hormone replacement drugs (i.e., generic levothyroxine, or the Synthroid, Levoxyl, or Tirosint brands) and are not feeling well, one possibility is that you may benefit from adding T3 (i.e., Cytomel), or switching to a thyroid medication that includes T3. Do you need additional T3, or a drug that includes T3, like natural desiccated thyroid? 

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No matter how or when you take it, in order to treat your hypothyroidism and resolve your symptoms, you need to be on the best thyroid medication. But which one is really the best?

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A Word from Verywell

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Don't be tempted to just accept a prescription, get it filled, and just pop a pill every day. It's so important to your health and wellness that you know your treatment options, understand the medication you are taking, and know how and when to take your thyroid medication each day, for the best possible results. Your health depends on it. 

Sources

Braverman, MD, Lewis E., and Robert D. Utiger, MD. Werner and Ingbar's The Thyroid: A Fundamental and Clinical Text. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), 2005.

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Hypothyroidism in Adults: Co-sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association Online. 2012.  https://www.aace.com/files/final-file-hypo-guidelines.pdf

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