Thyroid Hormones: Uses, most common brand names, and safety information
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There are a large number of people who have a thyroid gland that doesn’t make enough natural thyroid hormone for their body’s needs. This condition is called hypothyroidism and is most commonly caused by an underactive thyroid gland due to Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid disease), thyroid cancer, an enlarged thyroid gland, radiation, or surgical removal. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the health of all your body’s cells. They help regulate digestion, muscle and heart function, brain development, body temperature, and bone health. Here we will discuss in more depth the properties, brand names, pricing, and safety of thyroid hormones.
The list below includes FDA-approved thyroid hormones and their pricing:
List of Thyroid Hormones
What are thyroid hormones?
Thyroid medications are used to supplement low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) in patients with a poorly functioning thyroid gland. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, cold extremities, constipation, reduced sex drive, menstrual irregularities, high cholesterol, dry skin, and hair loss.
There are various treatment options available for hypothyroidism, but they all are forms of thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The main medication used is levothyroxine sodium, which is available in several brand name and generic formulations.
What is the mechanism of action of thyroid hormones?
Typically your pituitary releases thyroid-stimulating hormone(TSH), which then stimulates the thyroid to secrete thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine(T3). These hormones then bind to thyroid receptor proteins contained within cells to help with growth and development. Synthetic T4, T3, and desiccated thyroid medications work to increase your thyroid hormone levels that are low due to impaired thyroid function. Your doctor will perform periodic blood tests to measure your levels of thyroid hormones to ensure you are getting the correct dose of medication.
What conditions are thyroid hormones used to treat?
Thyroid hormones are used to treat:
- An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
- Thyroid cancer along with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy
- Control the growth of thyroid nodules
Are thyroid hormones safe?
The use of thyroid hormones is relatively safe and effective when taken as prescribed. Before beginning treatment with thyroid hormones, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
- Heart problems such as arrhythmias or a previous heart attack
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Kidney or liver disease
What are some common side effects of thyroid hormones?
The adverse effects you experience from thyroid hormones will depend on several factors including the medication and dose. Some side effects of thyroid hormones include:
- Fast heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Heat intolerance
More rarely, thyroid hormones can cause severe adverse reactions, including:
- Serious, life-threatening allergic reactions
- Chest pain, arrhythmias, heart attack, and other heart problems
- Worsening glycemic control in diabetics
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
This is not a complete list of side effects and we encourage you to consult with your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects.
Who should not take thyroid hormones?
Thyroid hormones should not be used for weight loss in obese patients. They should also be avoided if you have:
- Uncorrected adrenal insufficiency
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiac arrhythmias or other serious heart problems
What are some drug interactions with thyroid hormones?
The use of thyroid hormones with certain foods or medications can affect how they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. Make sure your healthcare provider is aware of all the over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking, including:
- Antacids, foods, or supplements that contain calcium
- Bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine
- Proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole
- Anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital
- Oral contraceptives
- Foods such as soybeans, papaya, and grapefruit
Why should you take thyroid hormones on an empty stomach?
The absorption of thyroid hormone medications in your stomach is reduced when taking it along with calcium, iron, and certain foods or drugs. To avoid this, you should take your medication on an empty stomach 30-60 minutes before eating.
How long does it take thyroid hormones to work?
Most people will see an improvement in the symptoms of hypothyroidism within 2 weeks of beginning replacement therapy.
What is the difference between Synthroid and levothyroxine?
Synthroid and levothyroxine contain the same active ingredient, levothyroxine. Levothyroxine is considered the generic form of Synthroid. However, because there can be small differences in the amount of T4 in each medication, you should not switch from brand to generic formulations or vice versa without discussing it with your doctor.
What is the most common thyroid medication?
The most common thyroid medication is levothyroxine sodium, a synthetic version of thyroxine (T4). Thyroxine acts just like the thyroid hormone your body naturally produces.
How do you treat high levels of thyroid hormones?
If you develop an overactive thyroid due to conditions such as Grave’s disease, some medications can be used to slow down the production of thyroid hormones to prevent permanent damage. Examples include PTU (propylthiouracil) and Tapezole (methimazole).
Can you use thyroid hormones while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Thyroid hormones are generally considered safe and have not shown an increased risk of major birth defects or miscarriages when used during pregnancy. While thyroid hormones are found in breast milk, it is considered safe to use during lactation.
How much do thyroid hormones cost?
Thyroid hormones are very expensive with an average cost of around $5,000 per year.
You can purchase Thyroid hormones for $49 per month from NiceRx if eligible for assistance. Prices at the pharmacy vary by location, strength, and quantity, as well as your insurance status.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.