I have been on levothyroxine for about 3-4 months. I have a chesty cough that brings up phlegmThought was allergies or cold but have been on anti biotics twice now and cough does not go away. is worse at night-at times wake up choking(horrible scary feeling) HAs this happened to anyone else? I am ready to stop taking this pill
Levothyroxine - could this cause a chesty cough with phlegm?
Question posted by tazz715 on 7 July 2013
Last updated on 7 September 2021 by MzLegz
I’ve been on levothyroxine for two weeks and I developed this cough almost immediately coughing up phlegm that get worst at night. It get so bad that I can feel it rattling in my chest. I went last week and had X-rays and lab done thinking that it maybe pneumonia or my asthma but had good results. I’ve been on cough syrup for about a week now with no change. I was also on antibiotics for a week after surgery. I was diagnosed with GERD and a sliding Hiatal Hernia years ago that maybe a contributing cause. I was just curious to know if anyone else was experiencing these symptoms after taking this medication.
In July I took a cough and was choking on phlegm. Was given, steroids, antibiotics, inhalers and an x-ray ,which was clear. I then realised in December that my levothyroxine tablet was change from Accord brand to Teva
Brand which has 2 extra ingredients in it. 2 weeks after going back to Accord Brand my cough was very slight. I think I now have an allergy to levothyroxine, I have taken 75mg of it for 20+ years.
I decided to reduce it to 50mg and it has made quite a difference. My doctor is aware I have done this. I am having blood checked next week. I feel no different on lower dose.
I was on blood pressure drugs for years. Doctor stopped them 3 months ago to see if that was the problem . I have never gone back on them. Didn’t need them, which makes you question if thyroid medication is necessary. I will know next week.
Hi i have exactly the same symptoms, I am taking the same medication 75mg per day, I have been taking this medication for 3 years now but these symptoms started around 4 months ago and is getting worse!
Hi, I am 73 yrs old and have been on thyroid meds for hypothyroidism for 50 yrs! Levothyroxine for about 15 yrs. Never a problem. In last 2 yrs been diagnosed with polymyalgia and RA, 2 autoimmune diseases and I suspect this may be affecting my thyroid gland. 3 mos ago, started being short of breath, splitting headaches and high BP(200/100... AND MUCH congestion, coughing and mucus. I started reducing my meds to half (50mcg) which helped but problem persisted. Dr did new tests which showed what it always does..thyroid was good. (Even when I was taking half??) Trial and error with every single thing I take, and now after having NO thyroid meds for 3 weeks, and I have NO problems! I was probably near death with that high a BP, now it's down for first time in 3 months. I have researched this online for all this time and find NO cases like mine. HOW could my thyroid gland now be working? I can only assume it is something to do with the autoimmune issue.
Just before this all occurred, I had a flare-up of the polymyalgia rheumatica..which led to the Rheumatoid Arth. being in remission! I will post updates as time goes by. But I think YES, the congestion is related to the thyroid becoming overactive..just don't ask me why.
Ask your doctor to try you on Nature-Throid instead. It is a natural desiccated thyroid hormone pill which is devoid of any fillers, making it hypoallergenic. It has worked successfully for me for hypothyroidism for years!
I meant to say it uses hypoallergenic fillers, making it devoid of allergic responses.
This is something I had been meaning to research for quite some time as I just grew used to this symptom thinking it’s dust and pollen or lactose intolerance. But it’s year round (for 15 years now), I was diagnosed w hypothyroidism at age 30. I’ve found that a lot of people note the throat-clearing phlegm symptom. After thoroughly researching allergies and hypothyroidism I do believe it is levothyrixine. I don’t see any other hypo med being reported with this symptom. I found that there are 3 ingredients in levothyroxine that contain allergens that I know I’m sensitive to. That’s acacia (Found in plants and bush), lactose (what’s in dairy) and cornstarch (which reacts as a gluten intolerance). I’m surprised this has not been looked at by doctors as it wouldnt require an endocrinologist expertise. I will be suggesting a hypoallergenic form of the medication when I go to the dr next - such as lenothroid or Unithroid.
I just may finally stop having to clear my throat 24/7 and stop annoying everybody around me. I’ve just been living with it as my new norm - assumed it was my cats or dust as I don’t eat dairy and I’ve grown up with cats my entire life and my eyes aren’t irritated.
There is a natural desiccated thyroid medication called Nature-Throid. It could be the medication you are looking for to avoid allergic responses.
My comment = "pending approval". Really?
Try Nature-Throid. Anything positive I say about this medication obviously but with no good reason, makes my comment "pending approval"? Although I have taken Nature-Throid successfully for almost 20 years for my hypothyroidism.
Ask your doctor about it.
Yes! I am having this same issue. Coughing, lots of phlegm and breathing issues that go away when I stop the Levothyroxine! The problem is that I need to take something as I am very hypothyroid. I’m going to look into an alternative for this drug.
Yes- this happened to me. Chronic cough, fatigue, neck, ear and jaw pain, knee pain. Am stopping and switching to Armoir. I have been on two rounds of antibiotics for this “cold” and have never had this problem before. I am a healthy, active person that exercises daily, practices good sleep hygiene and nutrition
I have had the same issues. Have been on the medication for 2 - 3 months. I have been sick for 2 months. Never have I ever had a cold this long. Excess phlegm, coughing , breathing issues. Had to visit the doctor twice and all the medication I received did not take care of the issue. Of course the doctor does not think that it's the medication so I took myself off and within a few days I started feeling better. I could not take it anymore . I may be one of a few that this medicine does this to , but for me I'm done. Good luck to you
I have the very same issue. Began levothyroxine and after 2-3 weeks developed the cough. It will not for away. Especially at night. Tickle in throat, then cough up phlegm. Will continue for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Is your cough coming from your chest or your throat? I have had some awful problems with phlegm too - it's frothy and clear. I have other medical problems but over the past few months my levothyroxine has had to be reduced to check whether it is that which is causing breathlessness and bad cough. It's a dry cough and is not in chest (I have had x-rays and scans to check). I also had realy dry itchy skin on the trunk of my body. Not saying it is the levothyroxine but in my case it does seem to be the case. As the dose has been reduced the cough has become much better. There was a time when I was coughing almost 24/7.
Hi. I think you would be best to go to an endocrinologist if you have not done so. The dry skin is thyroid and you are not getting enough levothyroxine. I suggest you have your medications reviewed.
The dry cough needs a pulmonologist because it tends to be a symptom of other problems.
The reduction of medication is rarely effective except for someone who is unable to use synthetic hormone. It then must be replaced. Whatever the other issues you have are a big part of this.
cough was from chest. I ended up getting some amoxicillin from dentist and after a few days cough finally went away, I had that cough for months though, exact same phlegm. I to have other medical problems (copd) but that is not what it was. the doctor upped my dosage of levothyroxine. so I really don't know what was going on but am glad the cough is finally gone.
Hello pippt. Thanks for the additional input. Please follow up with a doctor.
The levothyroxine was increased because of your general symptoms of hypothyroid. It does not cause congestion and you can check the side effects for the medication on the site above under medications search.
The COPD does harbor chest congestion. If it is clearing up on amoxicillin it is because you have a pneumonia. Bacterial. This is common with COPD. Unfortunately the COPD cannot be healed.
Two different events are occurring with you. I understand how that can be confusing. Your physician is very important right now. See if you can go to respiratory therapy classes. You will learn a lot about your COPD and avoid infections like you have. You will also meet others with your condition.
Thanks for taking time to reply. I do have heart problem so see a Cardiologist who tells me my cough is not heart related. My thyroxine levels are checked often as I have to see various consultants and have had appointments with a Respitory Consultant who thought it may be Ramapril that was causing it as lung function tests etc all okay, but later visits to other departments said the coughing would have not improved if it was the Ramipril. After having thyroxine medication reduced to 50mg from 75mg I did seem to feel better and cough began to get a little better. (I was taking 100mg at one time).
The Respitory Consultant and Nuerologist both thought my levels were too high - I don't understand the readings T3/4 but there was another reading of 36 which apparently is far too high. The max should be about 25. I am now down to 23 for this reading. I really don't know the answer to the cough and nobody else seems to be sure!
Ok. Have they done a bronch? Pulmonologist look at you? Recent breathing eval? There is a reason. They checked your sinus? Keep at it. Glad to hear you have a line up of doctors. Hope you are better soon.
My Endo does not go by the T4 T3 because he says it is a snapshot for the day. The composite over time is what he is more concerned about. He is one heck of a doctor and lead director for endocrinology for the hospital system. Which is big. He says the real info is how the body works over time. Thought you should know another opinion.
Thanks once again. I will chat to my GP about COPD, seeing a pulmonologist and sinus problems. I think I have been to about 5 departments at the hospital over the past year! I had to go to Papworth for an ICD a few years ago and had half of my thyroid removed last year. I have therefore also been to ENT. I also got odema when my thyroid levels were high and could hardly walk because my breathlessness was so bad. The reduction in the thyroid medication seemed to help (as did water tablets at the beginning).
Once I cough up the phlegm I stop coughing and on some days I cough hardly at all. All these problems seenm to have started since I started with Levothyroxine but I cannot say if this medication is to blame of course. I will follow up your helpful suggestions and post outome. Thanks again
Thanks. Please see what is what with your doctors. You wouldn't believe how many doctors I have. What you do to get well is keep trying... Karen
Hello. Kaismama is correct. You are describing Pneumonia. Please see someone right away. left untreated can be very dangerous. I am not a doctor, but I have had a number of various types of pneumonias.
Thyroid medication is a hormone your body needs to function. As she said, without it you will have severe response that can be fatal. Since this has been a short time on thyroid medication, you may not have fully adapted to it. But it does not cause this type of illness. In fact it helps maintain the health of your body.
Please see a doctor right away. If you have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, you may have to seek an ER. Let us know what the doctor finds, if you get a chance. Wishing you wellness and fast recovery. Karen
Its not the med doing it. There are things that can cause sinus or lung infections that would not respond to antibiotics, because they aren't bacteria. Your dr needs to culture the mucous you're coughing up and find out what's going on. Has he done a chest x-ray? The thyroid replacement is needed. Your body needs the thyroid hormone to function.
underactive thyroid, allergies, cough, levothyroxine
- Levothyroxine uses and safety info
- Levothyroxine information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side effects of Levothyroxine (detailed)
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