Liothyronine is a replacement or supplement thyroid hormone.
You will need regular blood tests to check your thyroid levels, particularly at the beginning of this treatment.
If you experience any side-effects, speak with your doctor, as your dose may need adjusting.
|Type of medicine||Thyroid hormone|
|Used for||Underactive thyroid gland|
|Also known as||Liothyronine sodium|
If you have an underactive thyroid gland, it means that your thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This is a condition known as hypothyroidism. Liothyronine restores the balance of thyroid hormone in your body, as it is similar to thyroxine, the hormone which your body produces naturally. Liothyronine works quickly, so it is given when a fast action is needed.
Before taking liothyronine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking liothyronine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have heart problems such as angina, or high blood pressure.
- If you know you suffer from adrenal insufficiency (this is where your adrenal gland is unable to produce enough of the hormone cortisol).
- If you have diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) or diabetes insipidus.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take liothyronine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about liothyronine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take liothyronine exactly as your doctor has told you. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take and when to take them. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
- It is usual for your doctor to give you a small dose (½ -1 tablet) when you first take liothyronine, and then for your dose to be gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablets daily, taken spaced out throughout the day. This allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition and avoids unwanted symptoms.
- Take liothyronine tablets with a drink of water. You can crush them if it makes it easier for you to swallow them. They can be taken before or after meals.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember, if this is within 2 or 3 hours of your usual time. If you do not remember until after this time, skip the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. You will need regular blood tests to check your thyroid levels in the early stages of your treatment.
- Continue to take these tablets unless your doctor tells you to stop.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as these tablets may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
- If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking liothyronine.
Can liothyronine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome, as your dose of liothyronine may need to be adjusted.
|Possible liothyronine side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know|
|Palpitations or chest pain||Let your doctor know about this|
|Feeling restless, flushing, sweating, difficulty sleeping, fever, loss of weight, cramps, temporary loss of hair||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
How to store liothyronine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
- Manufacturer's PIL, Liothyronine 20 micrograms tablets; Mercury Pharma Group, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 16/10/2012||Document ID: 1420 Version: 25||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.