How to take Medicine for Thyroid

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Tess Thompson

Those who do not have a strong understanding of thyroid treatments may not be aware that the manner in which thyroid medication is taken is very important. Most physicians agree that the medicines need to be taken in a certain manner to obtain best results.

Some believe that the manner in which the medication is ingested can actually change the overall effect of the drug. Following the recommended method can surprisingly increase the long-term benefits that can be derived from the thyroid treatment. The reason why the manner of administration is so important lies in the nature of the drug.

Most thyroid medicines contain levothyroxine, which is available in the market under brand names like Synthroid, Levothroid, Unithroid, Eltroxin, and Levoxyl. This is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone T4. The T4 hormone needs to be first converted to the active form of thyroid hormone T3 for it to be effective. This conversion process takes a long time to occur inside the body; therefore factors such as a person’s diet and the time of day they take their medication become crucial matters.

Conventional drugs (Cytomel and Thyrolar) or natural thyroid medication that contain the active T3 hormone do not require more than a couple of hours to get absorbed in the body. Therefore the various precautions that need to be taken along with these drugs are limited. The small random studies and surveys that have been conducted on determining the best method of administration have focused more on levothyroxine.

Any thyroid treatment, including alternative thyroid treatments therefore focuses on drugs and supplements that can ensure faster absorption of the hormones into the body.

The various opinions that exist among practitioners are in this context:

  • The best time to take the medicine.
  • Whether the medicine needs to be taken on an empty stomach or after meals.
  • The key foods that need to be avoided while the medicine is being absorbed by the body.
  • The other precautions that need to be taken while on thyroid medication.

The general advice physicians give to ensure quick absorption is to avoid certain things at all times. These need to be avoided totally for at least two to four hours after taking the thyroid pill.

  • Calcium and iron supplements
  • High fiber diet
  • Antacids
  • Antidepressants

Some physicians advocate taking the thyroid medication first thing in the morning and avoiding breakfast for at least 30 minutes. On the other hand some other verifiable studies have indicated that taking thyroid pills at bedtime helps in better absorption of the drug. This is based on the premise that major body organs are passive during the night and therefore give the drug enough time for better digestion. Some experts suggest that the daytime meals interfere with the drug and cause slower absorption.

If you decide to change the time at which you take your thyroid medication, it is advisable to get your thyroid levels checked within eight weeks in order to determine whether the change has given you better results.


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