Thyroid Replacement Hormones

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Eni Williams, PharmD, PhD

    Dr. Eni Williams graduated from Creighton University in 1988 with a B.S. degree in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Howard University in 1994. She also obtained a Ph.D. in Public Policy in 2009 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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What are the side effects of thyroid replacement hormones?

Thyroid replacement hormones usually are well tolerated. Symptoms that occur during treatment are often due to toxic, elevated levels of thyroid hormones and resulting symptoms from hyperthyroidism. Symptoms may include chest pain, increased heart rate or pulse rate, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, nervousness, headache, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and fever. Some women may experience irregular menstrual cycles.

What are some examples of thyroid replacement hormones?

The following is a list of the thyroid replacement hormones that are available in the United States:

  • levothyroxine sodium (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint, Unithroid)
  • liothyronine sodium (Cytomel, Triostat)
  • liotrix (Thyrolar)

For what conditions are thyroid replacement hormones used?

Thyroid replacement hormones are used to treat hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormone) and myxedema, a condition that is caused by prolonged hypothyroidism. Thyroid replacement hormones prevent thyroid hormone release from cancerous thyroid nodules and are used therefore to treat thyroid cancers. They also are used to manage thyrotoxicosis, a condition in which there are high levels of thyroid hormones resulting from over-active thyroid glands and too much thyroid hormone. Thyrotoxicosis may progress to hypothyroidism or cause the growth of goiters necessitating the use of thyroid replacement hormones.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/27/2015
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