Liothyronine Side Effects

Some side effects of liothyronine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

For the Consumer

Applies to liothyronine: oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, liothyronine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking liothyronine:

  • Arm, back or jaw pain
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in menstrual periods
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chest tightness or heaviness
  • cold clammy skin
  • confusion
  • decreased urine output
  • diarrhea
  • dilated neck veins
  • dizziness
  • extreme fatigue
  • fainting
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • fever
  • hand tremors
  • headache
  • increased bowel movements
  • irregular breathing
  • irritability
  • leg cramps
  • lightheadedness
  • menstrual changes
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • sensitivity to heat
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • swelling of face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
  • troubled breathing
  • trouble sleeping
  • vomiting
  • weak pulse
  • weight gain
  • weight loss
  • wheezing

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to liothyronine: compounding powder, intravenous solution, oral tablet

General

Liothyronine is generally well tolerated. Side effects associated with liothyronine therapy typically result from therapeutic overdosage and include manifestations of hyperthyroidism such as weight loss, increased appetite, diarrhea or increased bowel frequency, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, tremor, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, palpitations, hypertension, tachycardia, chest pain, and menstrual irregularities.

Cardiovascular

Cardiac function was evaluated in twenty patients requiring TSH suppression for either thyroid goiter or following thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine therapy for thyroid cancer and in twenty age- and sex-matched controls. TSH suppression was associated with an increased incidence of premature ventricular beats, an increased left ventricular mass index, and enhanced left ventricular systolic function. The clinical significance of these changes remains to be determined.

Cardiovascular side effects of thyroid hormone therapy have included palpitations, hypertension, tachycardia, and angina, all of which may be exacerbated in patients with underlying cardiovascular disorders. In the treatment of myxedema coma/precoma, cardiovascular side effects associated with the use of intravenous liothyronine have included arrhythmia (6%), tachycardia (3%), cardiopulmonary arrest (2%), hypotension (2%), and myocardial infarction (2%). Angina, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and phlebitis have occurred in approximately 1% or fewer of patients.

Endocrine

Endocrine side effects of thyroid hormone therapy have included changes in symptom presentation for diabetes and adrenal cortical insufficiency. Treatment measures of these conditions may require adjustment.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects of thyroid hormone therapy have rarely included seizures during initiation of therapy. In the treatment of myxedema coma/precoma, twitching has been reported in approximately 1% or fewer of patients treated with intravenous liothyronine.

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects of thyroid hormone therapy have included transient hair loss during the initial months of therapy. Rarely, allergic skin reactions have been reported with liothyronine.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects of thyroid hormone therapy have included an increased risk of osteoporosis. However, data from long-term studies are conflicting.

A study evaluated the effect of long-term thyroid hormone therapy on bone mineral density in 196 women (mean age, 74.4 years) compared to a control group comprised of 795 women (mean age, 72.1 years). The mean daily thyroxine dose was 1.99 mcg/kg (range, 0.3 to 6.6 mcg/kg) and the mean duration of therapy was 20.4 years (range, less than 1 to 68 years). Women taking daily doses of 1.6 mcg/kg or more had significantly lower bone mineral density levels at the ultradistal radius, midshaft radius, hip, and lumbar spine compared to controls. However, estrogen use appeared to negate the adverse effects of thyroid hormone on bone mineral density.

Higher rates of femur fractures have been found in males (p=0.008) prescribed long-term thyroid hormone therapy as compared to controls in a case-control analysis of 23,183 patients from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database.

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