What is Levothyroxine?
Levothyroxine is a generic treatment for an underactive thyroid (known as hypothyroidism in medical terms). Having an underactive thyroid means that your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones which can lead to tiredness, weight gain and mood changes. There’s no way to prevent an underactive thyroid – most cases are thought to be caused by an immune disorder or a damaged thyroid from other treatments.
Levothyroxine works like replacement therapy. It stops you from experiencing the symptoms of hypothyroidism which can affect your body, energy and mood. It does this by replacing a hormone that’s normally produced by your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism is thought to affect women much more than men. According to NHS Scotland, 1 in 1,500 men are diagnosed with it, compared to 15 in 1,000 women. Approximately 3.05% of people in Europe have diagnosed hypothyroidism. Levothyroxine is one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world and is considered to be an essential medicine for basic health care, according to the World Health Organization.
How does Levothyroxine work?
This medication has a hormone in it called Levothyroxine. It’s used to replace a natural hormone called thyroxine, which your body doesn’t produce enough of if you have hypothyroidism. When these hormone levels are restored with Levothyroxine, it tackles hypothyroidism symptoms too.
Levothyroxine works straight away, but it can take longer for your symptoms to start to improve as your body adjusts to the medication. Your clinician can tell you if you’re taking the right dose based on your symptoms. If you stop taking Levothyroxine your symptoms are likely to come back.
What doses of Levothyroxine are there?
There are 25mg, 50mg and 100mg doses of Levothyroxine tablet. But you can also get it as an oral solution in concentrations of 25mcg, 50mcg and 100mcg per 5ml. The right dose for you depends on the results of a blood test that you’ll need to have to measure your thyroid levels, your age, lifestyle and health. If you’ve had Levothyroxine on prescription before, our clinician can use this to make sure you get the dose you need.