Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid is a condition in which the thyroid gland is unable to produce or secrete sufficient amount of thyroid hormone required by the body.
On being diagnosed with this condition, hormone replacement medication is prescribed to balance the thyroid hormone levels. But, do you know there are some common mistakes that you might be doing which may be adversely affecting the absorption of medicine resulting in frequent dosage change.
Here are few things to keep in mind with your thyroid medications:
1.Time of medication: Hypothyroidism medicine as you probably know is taken early morning, but what we generally miss is the time gap that you should maintain with food. It is recommended not to have any kind of food 4 hours prior to the medicine. After the medicine, avoid having anything for minimum 30 minutes to an hour. Any kind of food or beverages such as tea or coffee also interferes with the absorption of the hormone. So, having your medicine with your morning cup of tea or coffee is strictly not advisable.
2.Taking thyroid medicine with other medicines: Many medicines alter the absorption of thyroid medicine. Avoid having any other medicines along with thyroid medicine. Cholesterol drugs, antacids, calcium and iron supplements are known to affect the absorption of thyroid medicine. Try to maintain a gap of 4 hours with thyroid medicine.
3.Starting/Stopping any medication: According to many leading endocrinologists, some medicines such birth control pills or any other hormonal medications affect the way the medicine is absorbed by the body. So, in case you are starting any such medicine, you should inform your doctor about your thyroid medications so that the dosage can be adjusted. It is also better to inform your doctor if you stop having any such regular medicine as the thyroid medication dosage may be adjust again as needed.
4.Switching different brands of medicine: Most of us, do not think twice about switching over to a different brand with the same composition if we find it cheaper or if the regular brand is not available. But, changing brands may affect the absorption of thyroid hormone and hence cause fluctuation of thyroid levels in your body. It is better to stick to one brand which is working for you or consult your doctor before switching.
5.Avoid overdosing/skipping: There are times when you might forget to take your medication. In such a case, do not take medication at any other time during the day. Some endocrinologists suggest you take a double dose next day morning because most thyroid medicines take a while to be fully absorbed. However, there is no clear evidence or guideline which states that this is the best practice and some doctors are not in favour of double dosing. So it is always advisable to keep a reminder for taking your medication and avoid skipping your medication.
6.Food and medication: There are certain foods which affect the absorption of hormones such as foods like milk, cheese, spinach, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and soy products. Limit your intake of such foods.
7.Weight change: If you are on hormone replacement therapy for thyroid dysfunction, your body’s requirement would change with the change in your weight. If you are losing weight or gaining weight, keep a check on your thyroid levels by getting tested periodically as per your doctor’s instructions so the dosage can be monitored.
8.Storage of medicine: It might not seem to be important but storing your medicines properly is always recommended. For thyroid medication, keep it in cool dry, dark place. If exposed to excessive heat, light or moisture, the effectiveness of the medicine is affected. Avoid keeping it on a window sill, leaving it in the car or keeping it in your bathroom cabinet.
9.Natural supplements: Many people start natural supplements to balance the hormones along with the existing medication. Beware, lots of natural supplements are loaded with thyroid hormones which are not mentioned on the label. You are actually unknowingly taking the same hormones resulting in excessive dosage.
Watching out for these common mistakes can help you maintain your thyroid levels with fewer fluctuations.