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levothyroxine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint, Unithroid)?

Since thyroid hormone occurs naturally in the body, almost anyone can take levothyroxine. You should not use this medication if you have had a heart attack, a thyroid disorder called thyrotoxicosis, or an adrenal gland problem that is not controlled by treatment.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, coronary artery disease, anemia (lack of red blood cells), diabetes, problems with your pituitary or adrenal glands, or a history of blood clots.

If you use insulin or take diabetes medicine by mouth, ask your doctor if your dose needs to be changed when you start using levothyroxine.

Levothyroxine is in the FDA pregnancy category A. This means that it is safe to use while you are pregnant. It is also safe to use while you are breast-feeding a baby. This drug does pass into breast milk, but it is not expected to be harmful to a nursing infant.

Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. You may need to increase your dose during pregnancy or if you plan to breast-feed.

In most cases, you will need to take levothyroxine for the rest of your life. Taking levothyroxine over long periods of time may cause bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about how this could affect you.

How should I take levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint, Unithroid)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

It is very important to take levothyroxine with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. The levothyroxine tablet can dissolve very quickly and swell in the throat, possibly causing choking or gagging.

Take this medicine on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before eating. Levothyroxine is usually taken in the morning. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions and try to take this medication at the same time each day.

It may take several weeks before your body starts to respond to this medication. Do not stop taking this medication suddenly. Even if you feel well, you may still need to take this medicine every day for the rest of your life to replace the thyroid hormone your body cannot produce.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

To be sure this medicine is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested often. Your liver or kidney function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using levothyroxine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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