Generic Name: liothyronine (lye-oh-THYE-roh-neen)
Brand Name: Cytomel

Cytomel, used alone or with other medicines, should not be used to treat obesity or for weight loss. Large doses may cause serious or life-threatening situations, particularly when used with other medicines that reduce the appetite.


Cytomel is used for:

Treating low thyroid function. It is also used to treat or prevent different types of goiters, as an aid to diagnose certain thyroid conditions, or to treat patients who are allergic to other thyroid medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Cytomel is a thyroid hormone. It works by replacing or supplementing the natural thyroid hormones in the body.

Do NOT use Cytomel if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Cytomel
  • you have had or are having a heart attack or you have untreated thyrotoxicosis (a condition characterized by chest pain, increased heartbeat, pounding in the chest, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, and nervousness)
  • you have certain uncorrected adrenal gland problems

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using Cytomel:

Some medical conditions may interact with Cytomel. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are planning to have surgery
  • if you are taking blood thinners
  • if you have heart disease, angina or chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, an overactive thyroid, a long-standing condition of underactive thyroid, or myxedema (a condition characterized by chest pain, increased heart rate, pounding in the chest, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, and nervousness)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Cytomel. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Estrogen or birth control pills because they may decrease Cytomel's effectiveness
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), digitalis glycosides (eg, digoxin), ketamine, tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or vasopressors (eg, norepinephrine) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Cytomel
  • Insulin or any other medicine for diabetes (eg, glyburide) because their effectiveness may be decreased by Cytomel

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Cytomel may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Cytomel:

Use Cytomel as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Cytomel by mouth with or without food.
  • Cytomel works best if it is taken at the same time each day.
  • Take Cytomel at least 4 hours apart from calcium salts (eg, calcium carbonate), cholestyramine, or sucralfate.
  • Continuous use of Cytomel for a few weeks may be necessary to relieve symptoms of your condition.
  • If you miss a dose of Cytomel, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Cytomel.

Important safety information:

  • Check with your doctor if you experience trembling or shaking of hands, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, headache, change in appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, increased sweating, increased sensitivity to heat, increased heart rate, chest pain, or shortness of breath. These symptoms may mean that your dose needs to be adjusted. Do not adjust your dose or stop taking Cytomel without checking with your doctor.
  • Cytomel will be taken for life, except in the cases of temporary low thyroid activity associated with thyroid inflammation or if you are taking Cytomel on a trial basis.
  • If you are taking blood thinners when you start taking Cytomel, lab tests will be required to determine a dose adjustment in the blood thinners.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Cytomel before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Diabetes patients - Cytomel may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Lab tests, including thyroid function tests, may be performed while you use Cytomel. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Cytomel with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • CHILDREN may experience a partial loss of hair during the first few months that they take Cytomel. This effect is usually temporary. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Cytomel while you are pregnant. Cytomel is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Cytomel, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Cytomel:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Partial, temporary hair loss in children.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in appetite; changes in menstrual periods; changes in weight; chest pain; diarrhea; difficulty breathing; excessive sweating; headache; inability to tolerate warm or hot room/weather conditions; increased heart rate; irregular heartbeat; leg cramps; nervousness; pounding in the chest; shortness of breath; tremor; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include diarrhea; fast heart rate; nervousness; stomach cramps; trouble sleeping; weight loss.

Proper storage of Cytomel:

Store Cytomel at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Cytomel out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Cytomel, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Cytomel is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Cytomel or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Cytomel. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Cytomel. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Cytomel.

Issue Date: November 5, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.002
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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