Levothyroxine – uses, health risks, and side effects at NaturalPedia.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by

Levothyroxine (Brand names: Levoxyl, Tirosint) is a drug used to replace a hormone in the thyroid gland that regulates the body’s energy and metabolism. The drug is the synthetic version of thyroxine (T4) and is prescribed when the body cannot produce enough of it on its own. It is also used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition marked by low thyroid hormones, and prevent goiter (the enlargement of the thyroid gland) – both of which can be caused by hormone imbalances, radiation treatment, surgery, or even cancer.

Individuals should not take levothyroxine to treat weight problems such as obesity, especially if they are taking weight loss medications, as this can lead to dangerous side effects or even death.

People with the following conditions should consult with their healthcare professional before taking levothyroxine:

  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Blood-clotting disorders
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low bone mineral density
  • Anemia
  • Problems with the pituitary gland

Women who become pregnant while taking levothyroxine should also seek medical advice, as any changes in thyroid hormone levels can harm both mother and baby.

Known health risks or side effects of levothyroxine

The use of levothyroxine can result in the following adverse effects:

  • Muscles weakness
  • Mild hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Leg cramps
  • Tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash

In some cases, levothyroxine can cause severe side effects, including:

  • Severe allergic reactions – hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling in the face
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling short on breath
  • Fever
  • Hot flashes
  • Feeling unusually cold
  • Problems with memory
  • Unexplained changes in weight

 

Body systems that might be affected by levothyroxine

The side effects of levothyroxine can harm a person’s cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems. In addition, levothyroxine may cause hypersensitivity and autoimmune disorders.

Food items or nutrients that have similar effects to levothyroxine

People looking for natural alternatives to thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine can opt for the following food items:

  • Desiccated thyroid gland – The medication, commonly used in cases of hypothyroidism, is made from the dried thyroid gland of an animal (usually a pig) and contains both thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which are important for proper function.
  • Selenium – The mineral is essential to normal thyroid function, as it converts the T4 hormone into the active T3 hormone. It’s also a preventative against goiter and other thyroid issues.
  • Niacin – The vitamin, which also goes by the nomenclature vitamin B3, is used to regulate thyroid hormone levels.
  • Iodine – It’s essential for the thyroid gland to have enough iodine to produce hormones, as low levels of the mineral can result in goiter.

Treatments, management options for the side effects of levothyroxine

The use of levothyroxine can result in adverse effects. Here are some natural treatments for common symptoms:

  • Diarrhea – Eating a bland diet like those in the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) can relive an irritable bowel.
  • Insomnia – Individuals suffering from sleep problems can benefit from making a relaxing environment that allows them to sleep without any interruptions.

Where to learn more

Summary

Levothyroxine replaces a hormone in the thyroid gland that regulates the body’s energy and metabolism.

Levothyroxine is the synthetic version of the thyroxine (T4) and is prescribed when the body cannot produce enough of it on its own.

Levothyroxine is also used to treat hypothyroidism and prevent goiter.

Levothyroxine harms a person’s cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems.

Sources include:

Drugs.com 1

Drugs.com 2

Livestrong.com

EverydayHealth.com

RD.com

 



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