Should You Take Your Thyroid Medicine Once a Week?

In some cases, doctors have recommended alternative ways of taking levothyroxine (i.e., taking all your levothyroxine once a week, rather than daily) to help ensure that patients are actually taking their medication at the prescribed dosage. But does taking all your levothyroxine for the week at one time -- versus taking it daily -- have an effect on your thyroid or your heart? Researchers studied the issue, and have some interesting findings for patients.

The researchers found that the weekly approach had no negative effect on cardiac stress in the weekly dosage group. The weekly dose was not only well tolerated but preferred by the majority of patients.

According to the researchers, “weekly levothyroxine administration was demonstrated to be well tolerated and safe; hence, it represents a valid therapeutic option for patients who find adherence to a rigorous treatment regimen difficult.”

What does this mean for you? If you have difficulty remembering to take your thyroid medication -- and remember, this applies to levothyroxine, but not to the shorter-acting medications with T3, like Thyrolar, Armour, or Cytomel -- taking it all once a week may be an option to discuss with your doctor.

Source: G.A. Carvalho et. al. “Evaluation Of An Alternative Form Of Levothyroxine Administration And Its Clinical And Laboratory Repercussions In The Treatment Of The Primary Hypothyroidism,” Abstracts of the American Thyroid Association October 2008 Meeting, Online

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