Unithroid

Unithroid
Unithroid
Unithroid is a medication used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It contains levothyroxine sodium, which helps regulate hormone levels in the body.
Active Ingredient: Levothyroxine
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Side Effects

Hair loss may occur during the first few months of treatment. This effect is usually temporary as your body adjusts to this medication. If this effect lasts or gets worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious effects of high thyroid hormone levels, including: increased sweating, sensitivity to heat, mental/mood changes (such as nervousness, mood swings), tiredness, diarrhea, shaking (tremor), headache, shortness of breath, bone pain, easily broken bones.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious effects of high thyroid hormone levels, including: chest pain, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, swelling hands/ankles/feet, seizures.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

How long does it take for this medicine to take effect?

The onset of action for levothyroxine, such as Unithroid, in terms of clinical improvement, can vary from individual to individual. Some patients may start to notice improvements in their symptoms within a week, but significant clinical effects, such as normalized thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, may take several weeks to a few months. The full therapeutic effects of levothyroxine on symptoms like energy levels, mood, and weight management may take 4 to 6 weeks or longer to become apparent.

How long do the effects of this medicine last?

The biological half-life of levothyroxine is approximately 7 days for healthy individuals, which can be prolonged in hypothyroidism and shortened in hyperthyroidism. Its long half-life allows for once-daily dosing and provides a stable serum level when taken consistently at the same time each day. The effects of levothyroxine are sustained with continuous daily administration; discontinuation or interruption of therapy may lead to the recurrence of hypothyroid symptoms.

Is it safe to consume alcohol while taking this medicine?

There are no direct interactions between moderate alcohol consumption and levothyroxine. However, excessive alcohol consumption can affect liver function, potentially altering the metabolism of levothyroxine and impacting thyroid hormone levels. Patients should be advised to consume alcohol in moderation and to discuss their alcohol use with their healthcare provider.

Is this a habit forming medicine?

Levothyroxine is not considered a habit-forming medication. It does not have addictive properties or lead to physical or psychological dependence. It is a necessary hormone replacement therapy for individuals with hypothyroidism and is intended for long-term use under medical supervision.

Can this medicine be taken during pregnancy?

Levothyroxine is safe and recommended for use during pregnancy. Thyroid hormone levels are crucial for fetal development, especially for neurological development in the first trimester. Women with hypothyroidism may require dose adjustments during pregnancy to maintain euthyroid status, as thyroid hormone requirements can increase during this time. Levothyroxine therapy should be closely monitored by a healthcare provider throughout pregnancy.

Can this medicine be taken while breast-feeding?

Levothyroxine is considered safe for use while breastfeeding. It is excreted in very low amounts in breast milk and is not expected to cause adverse effects in breastfed infants. Maintaining stable and adequate thyroid hormone levels in the mother is important for both maternal health and the well-being of the nursing infant. Breastfeeding women on levothyroxine should continue to be monitored by their healthcare provider to ensure the proper dose is maintained.

Uses

Levothyroxine is used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is normally produced by the thyroid gland. Low thyroid hormone levels can occur naturally or when the thyroid gland is injured by radiation/medications or removed by surgery. Having enough thyroid hormone is important for maintaining normal mental and physical activity. In children, having enough thyroid hormone is important for normal mental and physical development. This medication is also used to treat other types of thyroid disorders (such as thyroid cancer). This medication should not be used to treat infertility unless it is caused by low thyroid hormone levels.

How to use Unithroid

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking levothyroxine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to 1 hour before breakfast. Take this medication with a full glass of water unless your doctor directs you otherwise.

If you are taking the capsule form of this medication, swallow it whole. Do not split, crush, or chew. People who cannot swallow the capsule whole (such as infants or small children) should use the tablet form of the medication.

For infants or children who cannot swallow whole tablets, crush the tablet and mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 milliliters) of water, and give using a spoon or dropper right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance or mix the tablet in soy infant formula. Consult your pharmacist for more information.

The dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, lab test results, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

Do not stop taking this medication without first consulting with your doctor. Thyroid replacement treatment is usually taken for life.

There are different brands of levothyroxine available. Do not change brands without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

Certain medications (such as cholestyramine, colestipol, colesevelam, antacids, sucralfate, simethicone, iron, sodium polystyrene sulfonate, calcium supplements, orlistat, sucroferric oxyhydroxide, lanthanum, sevelamer, among others) can decrease the amount of thyroid hormone that is absorbed by your body. If you are taking any of these drugs, separate them from this medication by at least 4 hours.

Symptoms of low thyroid hormone levels include tiredness, muscle aches, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, slow heartbeat, or sensitivity to cold. Tell your doctor if your condition gets worse or lasts after several weeks of taking this medication.

Warnings

This medication should not be used for weight loss. Normal doses of this medication will not work for weight loss, and large doses of this medication may cause serious, possibly fatal side effects, especially when taken with diet pills.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Precautions

Before taking levothyroxine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: increased thyroid hormones (thyrotoxicosis), decreased adrenal gland function, heart disease (such as coronary artery disease, irregular heartbeat), high blood pressure, diabetes.

If you have diabetes, this drug may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as increased thirst/urination, shakiness, unusual sweating, dizziness, or hunger. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Children may be more sensitive to certain side effects of this drug, especially headache, vision changes, and hip/leg pain. High thyroid hormone levels may lead to decreased bone development/growth and reduced full adult height. Keep all lab/medical appointments so the doctor can monitor treatment.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat.

This drug may be used during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant because your doctor may need to change your dose.

Levothyroxine passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, confusion, seizures.

Do not share this medication with others.

Lab and/or medical tests (such as thyroid function) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up unless your doctor tells you to do so. Call your doctor if you miss 2 or more doses in a row. Ask your doctor ahead of time what to do about a missed dose and follow your doctor's specific directions.

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

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