Thyroid is a gland that resembles a butterfly, and is located in the front side of the neck. The hormones it secretes help energising many organs. The thyroid gland thus serves as a catalyst for your body to function normally. A deficiency of thyroid is referred as hypothyroidism. People who have this deficiency may witness a slowdown of regular functioning of various organs – for example, their digestive system, heart, etc. Hypothyroidism is prevalent more among women than in men. As per a few empirical studies, 1 in 9 women is likely to have this condition. Synthroid is a prescription-drug administered for the treatment of the signs associated with a deficient thyroid condition. It is however necessary to know the side effects of this drug prior to taking it.
Synthroid is a synthetic and artificial variant of the thyroid-hormone – also called a T4. A direct use of this drug is to treat deficiency of thyroid. It also has a few other uses, namely – prevention as well as treatment of a few types of tumors in thyroid. It is also taken for treating goiter – an enlargement of the neck due to deficiency of thyroid. Synthroid is known for its ability to reduce the quantum of thyroid-stimulating hormones (commonly referred as TSH); this hormone plays a key role in triggering goiter. Another proven use of synthroid is its ability to manage conditions like subclinical hypothyroid conditions. If left untreated, this subclinical condition may soon develop into a full-fledged hypothyroid condition. Hence, for people with hypothyroidism, thyroid supplements – such as synthroid – are taken for an entire lifetime.
Dosages of synthroid vary based on your bodyweight, clinical condition as well as how well your body responds to this drug. Once you have started taking this drug, your treating doctor may insist on a semi-annual or annual check-up of vital clinical parameters associated with your thyroid wellbeing. Dosages are often administered at least 45 minutes before your meal, mostly in the morning time. However, a few people may develop some discomforts upon taking this drug in the mornings; such people are advised to take synthroid during their bedtime. You may need to note that an irregular intake of this drug may lead to counterproductive effects such as an increase in your TSH-level.
Side effects of synthroid
In general, synthroid is used for the treatment of thyroid deficiency owing to multiple triggers – namely, cancer treatment by the use of radiations on thyroid, T4 deficient conditions, removal of thyroid gland as well as thyroidal atrophy. The most common side effects of synthroid include headaches, fever, being in an irritated state of mind, abdominal discomforts such as nausea, etc. This drug is also likely to cause sleep-related disorders (i.e., insomnia), sweating excessively, altered menstrual cycles, loss of hair (as a temporary condition) and agitation.
In highly remote cases, synthroid can trigger discomforts such as convulsions, knee pain, excessive levels of dizziness, blurring of eyesight or pain in eyes. You are advised to seek immediate medical help if any one or more of these signs show up. People who have taken this drug for long or have consumed a higher-concentration of this drug may develop a few cardiac conditions. Hence, needful caution is required when administering this drug to older people or to those who have a prior history of cardiac as well as cardiovascular conditions.
A few drugs like simethicone, iron-based supplements, a few antacids, orlistat and a few cholesterol reducing drugs may decrease the thyroid absorbing efficiency of your body. So, if your current medication plan includes intake of any of these drugs, your treating physician and pharmacist need to know about it. You also need to know how well your body is responding to synthroid. You can gauge it by the signs and characteristic symptoms. Most common signs of thyroid deficient conditions are weariness, muscular pains, difficulties to pass stools, increase in bodyweight, slowing down of pulse rates, dryness of skin, etc. Upon noticing any of these signs after starting to take synthroid can mean your body is not absorbing this drug efficiently. On the other hand, you also must understand the likely side effects of an increase in your thyroid levels. The typical signs of such condition are mood shifts, indigestion, respiratory problems, weakened bones, sweating profusely, tremors, etc.
In very rare instances, this drug is likely to cause pain in chest or increase your pulse rate. These signs are not common and may lead to several serious conditions. Upon experiencing these signs, it is strongly recommended to see your doctor as quickly as possible. In highly remote circumstances, this drug may lead to swelling of limbs, epileptic fits, erratic heartbeats, etc. In such cases, you are advised to seek medical attention on an emergency basis.
The usual dosage form is taken one-time each day; the typical strength must never exceed 250 mcg in a day. Most physicians increase the dosages gradually to know how well your body responds. Some people may have allergies to lactose or iodine; as this drug may contain these ingredients, you need to tell your doctor about such allergies or hypersensitivity. However, allergies triggered by synthroid are extremely rare; but, if you observe signs like hives or rashes on skin, acute spell of dizziness, respiratory problems, itchiness and inflammation of facial parts or oral organs you need to inform your physician without any delay. Those living in the US are advised to get in touch with the emergency helpline numbers of food and drug administration (FDA) or contact the nearest poison control center. If you are living in any of the provinces of Canada, it is highly recommended to contact Health Canada or a poison control center located in your province.
You need to note that your doctor has prescribed synthroid as benefits outweigh the risks associated with its intake. You also need to note that the aforesaid side effects do not constitute a full list. It is possible that some passive or not-so-active ingredients may lead to a few allergies or side effects. So, if you happen to experience newer signs or discomforts, it is a good practice to report to your physician and pharmacist on an urgent basis.
Precautions to be taken for safer intake of synthroid
It is a very good practice to tell your treating physician and pharmacist about prior your ailments and clinical conditions, if any. In general, the medical team needs to know about your prior medical history as well as your family’s clinical history. If your prior history of ailments includes coronary disorders, hypertension, reduced functioning of adrenal glands, etc., you must inform your doctor about them.
Elderly people are more vulnerable to the drug’s side effects. People aged 60 years or more may experience side effects such as erratic heartbeats, palpitations and dizziness. Your physician may alter the strength of dosages in accordance to the age as well as your overall wellbeing. Similarly, children as well as younger adults can develop a few discomforts. Among younger patients, typical side effects synthroid can trigger include blurring of eyesight, pain in legs or hip, etc. In some children, this drug may trigger chronic spells of headache. Younger adults who are in their growth phase may need to watchful of their height. As synthroid can lead to changes in bone growth, it can have an adverse impact on your height. In some cases, children who took synthroid – after they grow up – had problems in reaching the normal height of adults.
Women who are pregnant have used the drug and have reported no major side effects. However, you need to inform your physician if you are pregnant as a precautionary measure. In most cases, your treating physician may alter or reduce the strength of this drug if you are pregnant. Those who are planning to get pregnant also need to inform about their plans to their doctor and pharmacist. Women who are breastfeeding need to be aware that the drug can get passed onto their infants through breastmilk. In most cases, the drug is not known to have caused any major discomforts to infants. In order to be safe, nursing women need to tell their medical team if they are breastfeeding a baby, prior to intake of synthroid.
If you are likely to undergo a surgery, you need to keep your surgeon updated about drugs you are currently consuming. The same precaution is necessary prior to undergoing a dental procedure or intervention. As synthroid can influence your blood sugar levels, you need to stay cautious about its intake if you are living with diabetes mellitus. You are advised to monitor your blood sugar levels in a routine manner, and keep your physician posted about the readings. A drastic change in blood sugar levels can lead to discomforts such as staying thirsty or hungry, being dizzy, tremors, etc. If you are encountering any of these signs, your physician may change the dosages of diabetic drugs as well as recommend changes to your diet and workout regimen.
You need to remember that synthroid may interact with a few other medications, if taken together. As a result, your body’s efficiency to absorb this drug may change due to intake of a few other medications. It is highly recommended to prepare a list of drugs you are currently taking. As you compile this list, include all types of drugs you presently take – i.e., prescription drugs, over the counter medications, dietary aids, herbal supplements, etc. Once you have shared this list, never discontinue or stop taking the drugs in your list, without informing your medical team. Blood thinners such as warfarin, drugs like digoxin that are used mainly for treatment of cardiac conditions, etc. are known to interact adversely with synthroid; so, if your current medication or treatment plan includes blood thinning drugs, your medical team needs to stay aware of it.
Risks of a possible overdose of synthroid
Upon forgetting to take a dose of synthroid, you may think of taking it along with your next dose. This can lead to a likely overdose. In general, you are advised to skip a forgotten dosage if the next dose is already close-by. Also, some people may miss taking a few doses. In such cases, you are advised to talk to your pharmacist who can help reschedule your dosage plan. In case of an accidental overdose of synthroid, you may experience side effects like muscular spasms, fits, erratic or faster heartbeats, being in a confused state of mind, an acute spell of dizziness, excessive drowsiness, passing out, etc. Upon experiencing any of these signs, you must call 911 or contact the closest poison control center.
In sum, most commonly experienced side effects of synthroid include being in an irritated frame of mind, abdominal discomforts such as nausea, headaches, fever, loss of hair, agitation, sleep-related disorders (i.e., insomnia) and sweating profusely. These may disappear once your body gets used to synthroid. But, if these effects are not going away and are found to persist, you need to quickly consult your treating physician.