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Updated 11 February 2013

Levothyroxine + Liothyronine

Both levothyroxine and liothyronine are synthetic thyroid hormones, and this combination is used when treating a person with an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism).

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The Levothyroxine and Liothyronine combination is the active ingredient of Diotroxin.

General information

Both levothyroxine and liothyronine are synthetic thyroid hormones, and this combination is used when treating a person with an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) - a condition in which the thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. The resultant lowered metabolism include symptoms such as weight gain, a slow heart rate, constipation, dry skin, sensitivity to the cold, dry and brittle hair and nails, and in some cases fluid accumulation and retention in body tissue. This medication may also be used to treat patients with an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) or to treat certain types of thyroid cancer.

At the start of treatment with the levothyroxine and liothyronine combination your heart may beat more rapidly as your metabolism increases - if you have heart disease it may cause angina - chest pain due to lack of oxygen to the heart muscle - or even trigger a heart attack. Your doctor may request regular blood tests during the early stages of treatment to measure the levels of levothyroxine in your body.

The combination of levothyroxine and liothyronine does not cure hypothyroidism, but merely keeps it under control. For it to be effective, it has to be taken on a daily basis, often as a life-long treatment.

Treatment with this medication needs to be introduced gradually, and increased slowly, to prevent adverse effects.

How does the levothyroxine and liothyronine combination work?

The combination of Levothyroxine and Liothyronine works by substituting and increasing the level of thyroid hormone in the human body.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3

Available as: the combination of Levothyroxine and Liothyronine is available as tablets

What does it do? The combination of Levothyroxine and Liothyronine increase the level of thyroid hormone in the body.

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is the combination of levothyroxine and liothyronineavailable as a generic? no

Is the combination of levothyroxine and liothyronineavailable as a generic? yes

User information

Onset of effect: it may take a few weeks for the full beneficial effect to be reached.

Duration of action: up to 21 days.

Dietary advice: this medication should best be taken on an empty stomach.

Stopping this medicine: do not discontinue treatment without consulting you prescriber; Symptoms may recur.

Prolonged use: few problems are expected when the recommended dose is taken. Your doctor may request regular blood tests to measure the levels of Levothyroxine in your body and also your thyroid function.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a heart disease
  • you have diabetes
  • you have an overactive thyroid gland
  • you have high blood pressure
  • you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: this drug is possibly safe to use. You should however consult your doctor prior to use.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: this medication is safe use.

Infants and children: a reduced dose is needed.

The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly and dosage adjustment may be needed.

Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

diarrhoea

x

x

palpitations

x

x

chest pain

x

x

flushing

x

x

sweating

x

x

muscle cramps

x

x

weight loss

x

x

anxiety

x

x

agitation

x

x

change in appetite

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

amiodarone

thyroid activity may be affected and dose of the combination of levothyroxine and liothyronine may need to be adjusted

warfarin

increased risk of bleeding

drugs used for treating epilepsy

reduced effect of the levothyroxine and liothyronine combination

propranolol

reduced effect of propranolol

cholestyramine

reduced effect of the levothyroxine and liothyronine combination

oral antidiabetic drugs

possible reduced effect of antidiabetic drugs; dose needs adjustment

phenylbutazone

may affect levothyroxine blood lest results

rifampicin

reduced effect of the levothyroxine and liothyronine combination

sucralfate

reduced effect of the levothyroxine and liothyronine combination

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a heart disease, diabetes, an overactive thyroid gland, or if you have high blood pressure.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include a rapid heartbeat, palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
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