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Synthroid treats hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, goiters or thyroid cancer. Also known as the generic drug levothyroxine, it replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is produced by the thyroid gland.

Low thyroid hormone levels take place on their own or when the gland is damaged by radiation/drug therapy or surgically removed. Symptoms include tiredness, muscle aches, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, slow heartbeat, or sensitivity to cold.

Having enough thyroid hormone is essential to human mental and physical development, especially among children. It also helps maintain normal mental and physical activity.

The amount taken is based on a patient’s age, weight, medical condition, lab test results and response to treatment. Patients are ordered to take Synthroid regularly for maximum benefit.
They are not allowed to cease dosage without consulting the doctor. Thyroid replacement treatment is life-long.

Different brands of synthroid exist. Patients are urged not to switch brands without consulting the doctor.

Certain drugs such as cholestyramine, colestipol, colesevelam, antacids, sucralfate, simethicone, iron, sodium polystyrene sulfonate, calcium carbonate or orlistat decrease the amount of thyroid hormone absorbed by the human body. Patients are asked to take them four hours apart from synthroid.

Side effects include hair loss during the first few months of treatment before the human body adjusts to the drug, increased sweating, sensitivity to heat, mental/mood changes (such as nervousness, mood swings), tiredness, diarrhea, shaking (tremor), headache, shortness of breath, chest pain, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, swelling hands/ankles/feet and seizures.

(NOTE: PharmPsych.com is featuring the first 10 of 200 of the most common prescription medicine brands reflected in Google’s app for Rx drug flash cards. The flash cards and the app were developed as visual aids to instruct medical students on modern drugs. In a series of summaries, we recap the purpose and nature of each drug, its side effects and advice on usage. The series will feature Lipitor, Singulair, Lexapro, Nexium, Synthroid, Plavix, Toprol XL, Prevacid, Vytorin and Advair Diskus.)

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Last updated September 2014