Hypothyroidism is primarily treated using levothyroxine, which is a synthetic T4 hormone, and is given in oral form. The function of levothyroxine is to restore thyroid hormone levels to normal conditions so as to relieve the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Within a week or two of treatment, usually changes in symptoms will feel better. In addition, treatment using levothyroxine will also lower cholesterol levels so that it can lose weight. Treatment using levothyroxine is usually given to the patient for life, but the dose can be adjusted by the doctor while monitoring the hormone levels of TSH on a regular basis.
Some things to consider during treatment using levothyroxine are:
- The dose of levothyroxine should be appropriate. Excessive doses of levothyroxine may cause the patient to experience side effects such as increased appetite, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and body shakiness.
- Patients with severe coronary heart disease and hypothyroidism should notify the doctor of any health condition at the time of levothyroxine therapy. The doctor will give levothyroxine gradually with a small dose at the beginning of therapy. The dose of levothyroxine will be increased gradually so that the heart can adjust its work by increasing the metabolic rate due to this drug.
- Do not stop to take levothyroxine even though the symptoms of hypothyroidism have subsided and improved. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may reappear if the patient stops taking the drug.
- Absorption of levothyroxine by the body can be affected by several things, especially food consumed. Therefore, doctors should be informed if patients taking levothyroxine also consume the following foods and medicines:- Iron or multivitamin supplements contain iron.-Cholestyramine (a cure for hypercholesterolemia).-Aluminum hydroxide (ulcer medicine).-Supplement calcium.
For pregnant women who have hypothyroidism, it should be noted that the dose of levothyroxine is likely to increase by about 30%. Also during pregnancy and lactation periods, iodine AKG in women will increase from 0.15 mg / day to 0.24-0.29 mg / day. The American Thyroid Association recommends intake of iodine for pregnant and lactating women is 0.25 mg / day in the form of potassium iodide salt (KI). As in patients who are not pregnant hypothyroidism, levotiroksin given to pregnant women should not be consumed along with iron supplements.
Some of the side effects of hypothyroidism treatment using levothyroxine are:
- Can trigger an adrenal gland crisis, especially for people with untreated adrenal gland disorders.
- Can interfere with heart work if levothyroxine treatment is done aggressively, especially in patients who also suffer from heart disease. To avoid this, the dose of levothyroxine should be given in small amounts at the start of a slowly elevated treatment.
- Expected to trigger osteoporosis, especially in patients who have the risk and history of osteoporosis.
- Impaired vision, pseudotumor disorders of the brain, and psychological disorders. However, these side effects are rare.
In patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, it is strongly recommended to increase the intake of iodine through food. This is because the provision of levotiroksin for patients with subclinical hypothyroidism will doubtfully give a good effect, but it can cause harmful side effects.