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liothyronine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: liothyronine (LYE oh THYE roe neen)
Brand Name: Cytomel, Triostat

What is liothyronine?

Liothyronine is a man-made form of a hormone that is normally produced by your thyroid gland to regulate the body's energy and metabolism. Liothyronine is given when the thyroid does not produce enough of this hormone on its own.

Liothyronine treats hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone). Liothyronine is also used to treat or prevent goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), and is also given as part of a medical tests for thyroid disorders.

Liothyronine should not be used to treat obesity or weight problems.

Liothyronine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about liothyronine?

Since thyroid hormone occurs naturally in the body, almost anyone can take liothyronine. However, you may not be able to use this medication if you have a thyroid disorder called thyrotoxicosis, or an adrenal gland problem that is not controlled by treatment.

Before taking liothyronine, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, angina (chest pain), coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, or problems with your pituitary or adrenal glands.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. You may need to take thyroid medication for the rest of your life.

Call your doctor if you notice any signs of thyroid toxicity, such as chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats, feeling hot or nervous, or sweating more than usual.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking liothyronine?

Since thyroid hormone occurs naturally in the body, almost anyone can take liothyronine. However, you may not be able to use this medication if you have a thyroid disorder called thyrotoxicosis, or an adrenal gland problem that is not controlled by treatment.

To make sure you can safely take liothyronine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • heart disease, angina (chest pain);

  • coronary artery disease;

  • congestive heart failure;

  • any type of diabetes; or

  • problems with your pituitary or adrenal gland.

FDA pregnancy category A. Liothyronine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. However, tell your doctor if you become pregnant, since your dose needs may be different during pregnancy.

Small amounts of liothyronine can pass into breast milk, but this is not expected to harm a nursing baby. However, do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take liothyronine?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Liothyronine is usually taken once daily. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

If you are switching to liothyronine from any other thyroid medication, stop using the other medication before you start taking liothyronine.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. You may need to take thyroid medication for the rest of your life.

Call your doctor if you notice any signs of thyroid toxicity, such as chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats, feeling hot or nervous, or sweating more than usual.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using liothyronine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include headache, sweating, diarrhea, irregular menstrual periods, confusion, weakness, swelling in your hands or feet, fast heart rate, chest pain, feeling short of breath, fainting, or feeling nervous, restless, or irritable.

What should I avoid while taking liothyronine?

Do not change brands or change to a generic product without first asking your doctor. Different brands of liothyronine may not work the same. If you get a prescription refill and your new pills look different, talk with your pharmacist or doctor.

If you also take cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran) or colestipol (Colestid), avoid taking these medications within 4 hours before or after you take liothyronine.

Avoid taking an antacid within 4 hours before or after you take liothyronine. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb liothyronine.

Liothyronine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects may include temporary hair loss (especially in children).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Liothyronine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypothyroidism:

Mild Hypothyroidism:
-Initial dose: 25 mcg orally once a day; may be increased by up to 25 mcg every 1 or 2 weeks
-Maintenance dose: 25 to 75 mcg/day

Congenital Hypothyroidism:
-Initial dose: 5 mcg orally once a day; increase in 5 mcg per day increments every 3 to 4 days until desired response is achieved

Use: For use as replacement or supplemental therapy in patients with hypothyroidism of any etiology, except transient hypothyroidism during the recovery phase of subacute thyroiditis; this category includes cretinism, myxedema, and ordinary hypothyroidism in patients of any age (pediatric patients, adults, the elderly), or state (including pregnancy); primary hypothyroidism resulting from functional deficiency, primary atrophy, partial or total absence of thyroid gland, or the effects of surgery, radiation, or drugs, with or without the presence of goiter; and secondary (pituitary) or tertiary (hypothalamic) hypothyroidism

Usual Adult Dose for Myxedema:

Initial dose: 5 mcg orally once a day
-Following initial dose: May be increased by 5 to 10 mcg per day every 1 or 2 weeks; when 25 mcg/day is reached, dose may be increased by 5 to 25 mcg every 1 to 2 weeks until satisfactory response is attainted
Maintenance dose: 50 to 100 mcg/day

Usual Adult Dose for Myxedema Coma:

Initial dose: 25 to 50 mcg IV once

Patients with known or suspected cardiovascular disease:
-Initial dose: 10 to 20 mcg IV once

Comments:
-Initial and subsequent doses should be based on continuous monitoring of the patient's clinical condition and response to therapy.
-At least 4 hours should be allowed between doses to adequately assess response and no more than 12 hours should elapse between doses to avoid fluctuations in hormone levels.
-Exercise caution when adjusting dose due to potential of large changes to precipitate adverse cardiovascular events.
-Decreased mortality has been reported in patients receiving at least 65 mcg/day in the initial days of treatment; however, limited clinical experience with total daily doses above 100 mcg.

Use: For the treatment of myxedema coma/precoma

Usual Adult Dose for Thyroid Suppression Test:

75 to 100 mcg orally per day for 7 days

Comments:
-Radioactive iodine uptake is determined before and after administration of the thyroid hormone.
-If thyroid function is under normal control, the radioiodine uptake will drop significantly after treatment.
-Administer cautiously to patients in whom there is a strong suspicion of thyroid gland autonomy, in view of the fact that the exogenous hormone effects will be additive to the endogenous source.

Use: For use as a diagnostic agent in suppression tests to differentiate suspected mild hyperthyroidism or thyroid gland autonomy

Usual Adult Dose for Goiter:

Initial dose: 5 mcg orally once a day
-Following initial dose: Increase by 5 to 10 mcg per day every 1 or 2 weeks; when 25 mcg/day is reached, dose may be increased by 12.5 or 25 mcg per day every 1 to 2 weeks until satisfactory response is attainted
Maintenance dose: 75 mcg orally once a day

Use: For use as pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppressants, in the treatment or prevention of various types of euthyroid goiters, including thyroid nodules, subacute or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's) and multinodular goiter

Usual Adult Dose for TSH Suppression:

Initial dose: 5 mcg orally once a day
-Following initial dose: Increase by 5 to 10 mcg per day every 1 or 2 weeks; when 25 mcg/day is reached, dose may be increased by 12.5 or 25 mcg per day every 1 to 2 weeks until satisfactory response is attainted
Maintenance dose: 75 mcg orally once a day

Use: For use as pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppressants, in the treatment or prevention of various types of euthyroid goiters, including thyroid nodules, subacute or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's) and multinodular goiter

Usual Geriatric Dose for Hypothyroidism:

Initiate at 5 mcg orally once a day and increase by no more than 5 mcg increments at 2 week intervals

Use: For use as replacement or supplemental therapy in patients with hypothyroidism of any etiology, except transient hypothyroidism during the recovery phase of subacute thyroiditis; this category includes cretinism, myxedema, and ordinary hypothyroidism in patients of any age (pediatric patients, adults, the elderly), or state (including pregnancy); primary hypothyroidism resulting from functional deficiency, primary atrophy, partial or total absence of thyroid gland, or the effects of surgery, radiation, or drugs, with or without the presence of goiter; and secondary (pituitary) or tertiary (hypothalamic) hypothyroidism

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypothyroidism:

Congenital Hypothyroidism:
-Initial dose: 5 mcg orally once a day; increase in 5 mcg per day increments every 3 to 4 days until desired response is achieved
-Maintenance dose: Infants a few months old may require only 20 mcg/day for while patients at 1 year may require 50 mcg/day; above 3 years, the full adult dosage may be necessary.

What other drugs will affect liothyronine?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • an antidepressant;

  • birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);

  • epinephrine (EpiPen) or norepinephrine (Levophed);

  • insulin or oral diabetes medication;

  • medications that contain iodine (such as I-131);

  • salicylates such as aspirin, Nuprin Backache Caplet, Kaopectate, Pamprin Cramp Formula, Pepto-Bismol; or

  • steroid medication such as prednisone.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with liothyronine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about liothyronine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01.

Date modified: October 13, 2017
Last reviewed: October 31, 2012

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