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
City traders pay £200 for a quick hangover cure
Stephen Hawking: NHS is Britain's finest public service and must be preserved from commercial interests
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
The Pirate Bay is back — but key staff have left to start a rival site
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cancer treatment to her scientist father over the dinner table
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 3 Jewish community urged to boycott Cornwall village after residents vote for 'Hitlers Walk' sign to be reinstated
- 4 Benedict Cumberbatch's Alan Turing gay-rights campaign snubbed by Prince William and Kate Middleton
- 5 Kim Sears responds to swearing controversy with 'parental advisory' T-shirt at Andy Murray's Australian Open final
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...