Levothroid (levothyroxine) is a synthetic T4 hormone used to treat hypothyroidism. Levothroid is available as a generic drug and as the brand-name drug Levothroid, Levoxyl, and Synthroid. Learn about side effects, warnings, dosage, and more.

What is Levothroid?

Levothroid (levothyroxine) is a synthetic T4 (thyroxine) hormone used to treat hypothyroidism. Levothroid is available as a generic drug and as the brand-name drug Levothroid.

What are the uses for Levothroid?

The FDA has approved levothyroxine for the following uses:
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Myxedema coma
  • Thyroid hormone suppression

What are the side effects of Levothroid?

The most common side effects of Levothroid are:
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tremors
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
Levothroid may also cause less common side effects, including:
  • Insomnia
  • irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Skin rash
  • Hair loss
  • Fever
  • Changes in menstrual periods
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

What is the dosage for Levothroid?

The starting dose of Levothroid for hypothyroidism is generally 75 to 125 mcg daily. The usual maintenance dose is 25 to 200 mcg daily.

Which drugs or supplements interact with Levothroid?

Levothroid interacts with a number of other drugs and supplements. Tell your doctor about all the drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are taking, especially:
  • Antacids
  • Iron supplements
  • Sucralfate (Carafate)
  • Sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate, Kionex)
  • Calcium carbonate (Caltrate, Os-Cal, Tums, and others)
  • Cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran)
  • Colestipol (Colestid)

What happens if I miss a dose of Levothroid?

If you miss a dose of Levothroid, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

What happens if I overdose on Levothroid?

An overdose of Levothroid can be fatal. The first signs of an Levothroid overdose might be chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking Levothroid?

Avoid taking antacids, iron supplements, or sucralfate (Carafate) within 4 hours of taking Levothroid.

Levothroid precautions

Before taking Levothroid, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart disease, blood clotting problems, diabetes, adrenal gland problems, a certain type of eye problem (untreated Graves' disease). Levothroid may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially problems with heart rhythm and osteoporosis. This medication may make it more difficult for your body to absorb certain vitamins. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Levothroid interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: alendronate, digoxin, drugs that contain iodine, lithium, blood thinners (e.g., warfarin), methotrexate, omeprazole, and sevelamer. The iron in multivitamins and iron-containing supplements can interfere with levothyroxine absorption. If you take levothyroxine and iron-containing products together, wait at least 4 hours after taking levothyroxine before taking an iron supplement or multivitamin. Other medications can affect the removal of levothyroxine from your body, which may affect how levothyroxine works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), cephalosporin antibiotics (such as cefpodoxime, cephalexin), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), among others. This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (thyroid function tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

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