Asked by: Xena Sambento
medical health thyroid disorders

Can levothyroxine be stopped abruptly?

Last Updated: 21st January, 2020

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Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor. You or your child may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests. A temporary loss of hair may occur during the first few months of levothyroxine therapy.

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Similarly, can you stop taking thyroid medication once you start?

While hypothyroidism cannot be prevented, you can lead a normal and productive life if you take your medicine as prescribed. Some important things to remember once you start taking thyroid hormone medication include3,4: Do not stop taking the medication even if you feel better.

Likewise, how long does levothyroxine withdrawal last? According to the consensus of European Thyroid Association and the guidelines of American Thyroid Association for patients undergoing radioiodine therapy or diagnostic testing, LT4 can be withdrawn for at least 3 weeks, or alternatively LT3 can be administered for 2 weeks followed by LT3-withdrawal for 2 weeks (11, 12)

Subsequently, one may also ask, what are the side effects of stopping levothyroxine?

Effects of Skipping Your Antithyroid Medication

  • Debilitating weight loss.
  • Dramatically increased appetite and thirst.
  • Nervousness, anxiety, panic attacks.
  • Heat intolerance, sweating.
  • Fatigue or muscle weakness.
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Menstrual irregularities.
  • Goiter/enlarged thyroid.

What happens if I stop taking Synthroid cold turkey?

In the case of Synthroid, discontinuing the medication results in a worsening of hypothyroid symptoms such as those that you listed. A detailed list of symptoms is found in the hypothyroid review article. In addition, cholesterol levels may rise, and heart disease and heart failure may ensue.

Related Question Answers

Filemon Tunessen

Professional

Do you have to wean off levothyroxine?

Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you or your child to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping completely. Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you or your child are using this medicine.

Sampson Chaves

Professional

Can hypothyroidism go away?

Usually hypothyroidism starts getting better within a week after you start hormone therapy. All symptoms go away in a few weeks. In most cases, however, you must continue this treatment for the rest of your life. Mild hypothyroidism may cause no symptoms.

Basilia Androsov

Professional

What are the long term side effects of levothyroxine?

The more common side effects of levothyroxine can include:
  • increased appetite.
  • weight loss.
  • heat sensitivity.
  • excessive sweating.
  • headache.
  • hyperactivity.
  • nervousness.
  • anxiety.

Sorayda Sanderson

Explainer

Is there a difference between Synthroid and levothyroxine?

Generic levothyroxine may differ slightly from Synthroid in terms of how well it's absorbed. That's why it's preferable to stick with either one if possible. Both the American Thyroid Association and the Endocrine Society recommend that patients remain on Synthroid if that's what was initially prescribed.

Yuzhu Benavides

Explainer

What does levothyroxine do to the body?

Levothyroxine is used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is normally produced by the thyroid gland. Low thyroid hormone levels can occur naturally or when the thyroid gland is injured by radiation/medications or removed by surgery.

Nazia Brose

Explainer

Is thyroid treatment lifelong?

In most cases, treatment of hypothyroidism is lifelong. The commonly prescribed treatment, levothyroxine tablets, is a synthetic version of a hormone called thyroxine, or T4, produced by the thyroid gland. But some people have erratic thyroid laboratory results with this treatment or find it difficult to tolerate.

Espiritu Appenheimer

Pundit

What happens if you don't take care of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. If left untreated, though, hypothyroidism can lead to many complications. These include heart problems, nerve injury, infertility and in severe cases, death.

Lester Caomh

Pundit

Do I have to take thyroid medication forever?

You'll need to keep taking thyroid medicine throughout your life to control your hormone levels. Keep up with your treatment and you'll see results. You'll feel better, and your levels won't drop again.

Trandafira Glossop

Pundit

Are there withdrawal symptoms from levothyroxine?

Patients who suddenly stop taking levothyroxine may go into withdrawal and may experience symptoms like debilitating weight loss, panic attacks, fatigue, muscle weakness, and nausea.

Anush Tzipushtanov

Pundit

How do you know when your thyroid medicine needs adjusting?

Early physical signs your thyroid medication dose needs adjusting
  • You feel pumped. Is your heartbeat stronger than usual, and perhaps irregular?
  • Your digestion feels out of order.
  • You feel like you are about to get a cold.
  • You experience brain fog.
  • Your muscles have a life of their own.
  • You're gaining weight.

Noufissa Schlangenotto

Pundit

What if I take levothyroxine every other day?

Skipping doses, taking your medication in the morning one day and in the evening the next, or taking it with food some days and on an empty stomach other days can affect how the medication is absorbed. You should take the correct dose of medication at the same time, and in the same way, every day, according to the ATA.

Abdelkabir Daty

Teacher

Will I lose weight if I stop taking Synthroid?

Contrary to popular belief, effective treatment with levothyroxine (LT4) to restore normal thyroid hormone levels is not associated with clinically significant weight loss in most people. Decreased thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, is commonly associated with weight gain.

Aymar Terjung

Teacher

Can you get off thyroid medication?

Some people decide to go off their thyroid medications altogether without talking to their doctor. This can be particularly dangerous if you have a surgically removed or radioactive ablated thyroid, or if your thyroid is atrophied or underactive due to Hashimoto's disease.

Lucilene Dito

Teacher

What if I stop taking Synthroid?

Even if your hypothyroidism symptoms go away, do not stop taking Synthroid or change the way you take it without first talking to your doctor. Not taking Synthroid as prescribed could affect your thyroid levels.

Aintza Agirre

Teacher

What are the symptoms of too little thyroid medication?

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
  • Fatigue.
  • Weakness.
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight.
  • Coarse, dry hair.
  • Dry, rough pale skin.
  • Hair loss.
  • Cold intolerance (you can't tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches.

France Benzler

Reviewer

Can you overdose on levothyroxine?

Levothyroxine Overdose
If you take too much of the drug, you may develop symptoms of overactive thyroid, including fatigue, sensitivity to heat, increased appetite, and sweating. Symptoms of a levothyroxine overdose may also include: Confusion and disorientation.

Samella Buchhaupt

Reviewer

Do you have hypothyroidism look at your hands?

The symptoms of thyroid problems often manifest in the hands and fingers. If you have these types of findings on your hands and also suffer with fatigue, hair loss (especially a thinning of the lateral eyebrows), low libido, dry skin, and unexplainable weight gain, visit with your doctor to have your thyroid evaluated.

Librado Thien

Reviewer

Can you cut levothyroxine in half?

Levothyroxine is a narrow therapeutic index, and to avoid adverse effect associated with under or excessive dosage, the dose response is carefully titrated. The tablets are marketed with a score providing an option to split. Splitting such tablets could prove detrimental if sub- or super-potency becomes an issue.

Karyna Maierl

Reviewer

What is a thyroid storm?

Thyroid storm is a life-threatening health condition that is associated with untreated or undertreated hyperthyroidism. During thyroid storm, an individual's heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature can soar to dangerously high levels.