There are wide ranges of medications available to treat various thyroid problems, and considering that about 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disease, this is not surprising.
But, as with all forms of medication, it’s critical to your wellbeing that you know what you should be taking and how. So, what do you need to know about your thyroid medication in order to effectively treat your condition and keep you safe?
Be careful when you take your medication
At what time of day you take your medication can be nearly as important as what it is that you’re taking. For example, Cytomel tabs (liothyronine or T3) are often taken just once a day, while it’s best if you take levothyroxine on an empty stomach (either an hour before your breakfast or three hours after dinner).
Timing is important when it comes to thyroid medication as taking it too close to a meal can reportedly lower the level of absorption to only around 64%, according to the American Thyroid Association. As you can imagine, this makes it less effective.
Don’t think you’ll be instantly cured
Thyroid medication is like many others: it’s not an instant remedy. While many of those taking some form of thyroid medication feel livelier within just one week, others take much longer. So, if you fall into the latter category, don’t be disheartened or worried. Keep persevering and speak with your doctor if you’re overly concerned.
What you do with your medication while you’re not taking it is also worth considering. Keep yours in a dry and cool place with very little light – a bedside drawer is a good idea.
Why is this important? If your thyroid medication is put in direct sunlight or exposed to moisture, it can lower its effectiveness. In fact, one study found that 5% of those suffering with hypothyroidism whose TSH levels stayed outside the standard range but were taking levothyroxine had been keeping their pills in places like beside heaters, windows and showers. After moving them to a better place, their symptoms improved.
Adding extra medication
As you may have noticed, there are many ‘natural’ remedies for those suffering from thyroid issues available. However, incorporating these into your day-to-day treatment is not necessarily a good idea.
Some of these medication options include hormones and other ingredients that are not stated on the packaging. As a result, you may end up ingesting too much of the thyroid hormone or even too much of the potentially harmful iodine.
Your options and how to start taking thyroid medication
There are many ways to manage thyroid issues today, including: taking levothyroxine, liothyronine or NDT to treat hypothyroidism, as well as antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine and surgery to treat hyperthyroidism.
Basically, you should have a proper examination by your doctor and discuss all of your options thoroughly to make sure you take the most effective medication for your problem and lifestyle. Then, bear in mind the above advice to help ensure you take your thyroid medication properly for the best results.