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Thyroxine (Levothyroxine) is used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroxine is also used to treat congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism) and goiter (enlarged thyroid gland). It is also used with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy to treat thyroid cancer.

How it works

Thyroxine is in a class of medications called hormones. It works by replacing thyroid hormone that is normally produced by the body.

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Palpitations, Altered menstrual cycle, Altered behaviour, Mood changes, Anxiety, Diarrhoea, Hair loss, Headache, Hyperactivity, Increased appetite, Insomnia, Muscle weakness, Stomach cramp, Tachycardia, Heart beat irregular, Flushing, Warm sensation, Weight loss, Chills, Fever


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Expert advice

  • Food prevents proper absorption of the drug. Take thyroxine  on an empty stomach half an hour before breakfast. Keep a gap of 4 hours between thyroxine and antiacids, calcium or iron supplements and mulltivitamins.
  • Take special precaution and consult your doctor: If you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure or have had a heart attack, or condition that affects your adrenal glands, If you are over 50 years of age and have a long standing history of hypothyroidism.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG; test to measure the electrical activity of heart) is advised before starting treatment with levothyroxine, as changes induced by hypothyroidism may be confused with changes that occur due to decreased blood flow to heart (ischemia).

Frequently asked questions


Q. What is thyroxine?
Thyroxine is a hormone that is secreted by the follicular cells of thyroid gland.

Q. Is it an amine/ peptide or steroid hormone?
 Thyroxine is derived by iodination of tyrosine (amino acid) after biochemical synthesis. Thyroxine is neither a steroid nor amine nor peptide.
Q. Is eltroxin/thyronorm/synthroid same?
Yes. Eltroxin, thyronorm and synthroid contain levothyroxine sodium as main ingredient.
Q. Is eltroxin gluten free and still available?
Yes. Eltroxin is gluten free and available in India.
Q. Is thyronorm better than eltroxin?
No. Both the drug contain same active ingredient i.e. levothyroxine sodium.
Q. Is eltroxin used for hyperthyroidism?
No. It is not used for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. On the contrary, it is used for hypothyroidism.
Q. Is eltroxin dangerous?
No. Eltroxin is not dangerous but check with your doctor, if you observe any symptoms of possible side effects.
Q. Is thyronorm T3 or T4?
Thyronorm is a synthetic version of the thyroid gland hormone-Thyroxine (T4).
Q. Is thyroxine water soluble or hydrophobic?
Thyroxine is also insoluble in water (hydrophobic) and lipophilic in nature.

Content on this page was last updated on 15 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)