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Medications for Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)

Other names: Low Thyroid; Thyroid, Underactive

What is an Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)?

An underactive thyroid is also known as hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones to keep your metabolism and other body processes functioning at a good level.

Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland that is located on the front part of your lower neck. It controls your metabolism, which is essentially how the cells in your body use energy gained from food. Low thyroid levels cause your metabolism to become sluggish, which in turn lowers your body temperature, slows your heart rate, and decreases the rate in which you burn calories.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be vague and may be confused with other conditions. More common symptoms include:

  • Greater sensitivity to cold
  • A slow heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland.

One in every 3000 to 4000 babies are born with hypothyroidism. This is called congenital hypothyroidism and occurs because the thyroid gland does not develop or function properly. It is usually permanent and life-long. Symptoms may not be obvious and may include:

  • Poor feeding
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • A weak or hoarse cry
  • Constipation
  • Little or no growth
  • Poor muscle tone (floppy infant)
  • Persistent jaundice
  • Puffy face or a swollen tongue
  • Stomach bloating.

How is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

Make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect your thyroid levels may be low, or if your baby has symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Your doctor will examine your neck and inspect your thyroid gland which may be enlarged.  Your heart rate may be checked as well as your knee and ankle reflexes to see if they respond more slowly.

Blood tests that measure the levels of thyroid hormones and serum TSH will be ordered, and possibly other tests such as those for cholesterol which is often abnormal in people with hypothyroidism. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on the results of all these tests.

How is Hypothyroidism Treated?

Hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the missing thyroid hormones with oral synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine, liothyronine, or liotrix.

Regular blood tests are needed to make sure that you are taking the right dose for your body, as the dosage can vary among people. Pregnant women may need higher dosages of thyroid hormone during pregnancy, and some foods and medications can affect the absorption and levels in the blood of replacement thyroid hormones.

Drugs Used to Treat Underactive Thyroid

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Popularity
levothyroxine A N 331 reviews
6.2

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Brand names:  Synthroid, Levoxyl, Tirosint, Euthyrox, Novothyrox, Unithroid, Levo-T, Tirosint-Sol …show all

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Synthroid A N 80 reviews
6.2

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Armour Thyroid A N 101 reviews
7.3

Generic name: thyroid desiccated systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Levoxyl A N 16 reviews
6.9

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Cytomel A N 26 reviews
7.0

Generic name: liothyronine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Tirosint A N 41 reviews
6.9

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Nature-Throid A N 23 reviews
6.3

Generic name: thyroid desiccated systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

thyroid desiccated A N 226 reviews
5.8

Generic name: thyroid desiccated systemic

Brand names:  Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, Westhroid, NP Thyroid, WP Thyroid …show all

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Westhroid A N 2 reviews
10

Generic name: thyroid desiccated systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

liothyronine A N 49 reviews
6.6

Generic name: liothyronine systemic

Brand names:  Cytomel, Triostat

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Euthyrox A N Add review
0.0

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Novothyrox A N Add review
0.0

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Unithroid A N 1 review
10

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Levo-T A N 1 review
0.0

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Tirosint-Sol A N Add review
0.0

Generic name: levothyroxine systemic

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

NP Thyroid A N 70 reviews
2.9

Generic name: thyroid desiccated systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Triostat A N Add review
0.0

Generic name: liothyronine systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

WP Thyroid A N 13 reviews
6.0

Generic name: thyroid desiccated systemic

Drug class: thyroid drugs

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Topics under Underactive Thyroid

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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Further information

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