Thyroid: Am I taking too much medication?
Tuesday 13 February 2007
I have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland, and now have to take thyroxine tablets every day. I was started on a low dose, and this has gradually been increased because blood tests still show my levels to be low. The starting dose was 50mcg a day, and I am now up to 300mcg a day. Is there a maximum dose that is safe? And could I take a dose as high as 400mcg a day, if it were necessary?
Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:
Thyroxine therapy for an underactive thyroid gland is a form of hormone-replacement therapy. If your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone, you can take thyroxine, which is the synthetic form of thyroid hormone that is designed to replace what your body is unable to produce naturally.For most people with an underactive thyroid, it is relatively simple to find the right dose. Elderly people sometimes only need 50mcg (micrograms) a day (1,000mcg is the equivalent of one milligram). The most common dose is 100mcg a day, and occasionally I have seen a patient who needs 200mcg a day. The correct dose can be calculated by doing blood tests to look at the levels of thyroid hormone in the blood, and also the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). If you have too much thyroid hormone, TSH levels fall. If you are short of thyroid hormone, TSH levels go up as the body attempts to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormone. Patients are considered to be on the correct dose if their TSH level is normal. If your blood tests show that you appear to need more than 200mcg, there may be something odd going on, which needs further investigation by an endocrinologist. One possibility is that your body is resistant to the effects of thyroxine.
Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to email@example.com. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.
Life & Style blogs
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS Association doesn't yet know what to do with all of the money raised
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
The best gowns on the red carpet of 2014 Venice Film Festival
iPhone 6 'release date' firmed up in leaked photos of Apple smartphone
- 1 Students heading off to 'charity challenge' grounded at Gatwick after travel firm goes bust
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Like Jennifer Aniston, I am no less of a woman because I am childless
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...