Unithroid

Generic Name: Levothyroxine

  • What is Unithroid?

    Unithroid is a medicine used to treat hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland). Unithroid is a synthetic hormone that is intended to replace a hormone that is normally produced by your thyroid gland. It is also used to treat or prevent certain other thyroid conditions such as goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland); inflammation of the thyroid gland; thyroid hormone deficiency due to surgery, radiation, or certain medications; or for the management of certain thyroid cancers.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Unithroid?

    Although Unithroid can speed up your metabolism, it is not effective as a weight-loss medication and you should not use it for this purpose. Too much Unithroid can cause severe or possibly life-threatening side effects, especially if you are also taking appetite suppressants.

    Unithroid is a replacement therapy, so you need to take it every day for life unless your condition is temporary. Improvement in your symptoms can be seen several weeks after you start Unithroid. Continue taking your medication as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience rapid or irregular heartbeats, chest pain, shortness of breath, leg cramps, headache, nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, tremors, change in appetite, weight gain or loss, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, fever, changes in menstrual periods, hives, or skin rash.

    Long-term Unithroid use can cause weaker bones, especially in women after menopause.

    If you have heart disease, your doctor may need to start you on a lower dose of Unithroid to see how you respond to this medication.

    Also, if you have diabetes, your doctor will determine if the dose of your diabetes medication needs to be adjusted. Your doctor will monitor your urinary sugar levels.

    If you are taking an oral blood thinner (such as warfarin), your doctor will monitor your blood clotting status to determine if the dose of your blood thinner needs to be adjusted.

    Tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking Unithroid before having any surgery.

  • Who should not take Unithroid?

    Do not take Unithroid if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Unithroid if you have thyrotoxicosis (increased thyroid hormones), if you have had a recent heart attack, or if your adrenal glands are not making enough steroids.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Unithroid?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Unithroid. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart disease, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, or adrenal or pituitary gland problems.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults and children: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your age, weight, and condition.

  • How should I take Unithroid?

    Take Unithroid exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Take Unithroid as a single dose, preferably on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to one hour before breakfast. This medication is absorbed better on an empty stomach.

    Certain foods and supplements can decrease the absorption of Unithroid. Do not take Unithroid within 4 hours of medications that are known to interfere with it (such as antacids and iron or calcium supplements).

    If an infant or child cannot swallow whole tablets, you can crush the tablet and mix it into 1-2 teaspoonfuls of water. Have your child drink the mixture immediately. Do not store it for later use. Soybean infant formula can decrease the absorption of Unithroid and should not be used for administering the crushed tablets.

  • What should I avoid while taking Unithroid?

    Do not stop taking Unithroid or change the way you take it without talking to your doctor.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Unithroid?

    If Unithroid is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Unithroid may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking.

  • What are the possible side effects of Unithroid?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: change in appetite, changes in menstrual periods, chest pain, diarrhea, excessive sweating, fever, headache, heat intolerance, hives, irritability, leg cramps, nervousness, rapid or irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, skin rash, sleeplessness, tremors, vomiting, weight gain or loss

  • Can I receive Unithroid if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    You can continue to take Unithroid during pregnancy. However, a dose adjustment may be necessary. Small amounts of thyroid hormone are excreted in your breast milk. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Unithroid?

    If you miss a dose of Unithroid, take it on an empty stomach as soon as you remember, and do not eat for 30 minutes after taking your dose. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Unithroid?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from heat, moisture, and light.