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when does levothyroxine start working?

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Old 01-21-2005, 10:07 AM   #1
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scaredincollege HB User
when does levothyroxine start working?

i have been taking levothyroxine at .05 mg for the past month since I was Dx with hashi's hypothyroidism. I have noticed no results and continue to gain weight. When does the medicine start working?

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Old 01-21-2005, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

im on the same thing but .1. Ive only been on it for 4 days and I was woundering the same thing. I think I feel a bit better already but I still have symptoms. I cant wait to feel all better!

Old 01-21-2005, 04:21 PM   #3
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

Hi Turt and Scared. Welcome!
It takes anywhere from four to six weeks to get into your system at the cellular level. That's also about the time it takes for you to notice changes in your symptoms. You may see some improvements before. I hope you do. This can take a long time to regulate. You may or may not need your dosage increased. If you do, there's another four to six week wait to see if the meds are working for you. It takes time and patience, especially (IMO) with Hashi's.
If you haven't yet, read the stickys at the top of the page. They're very informative. Also, research your options for hormone replacement. Levothyroxine (name brands Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid) is the most commonly prescribed med for hypothyroidism but there are other options should these not work for you. As you read these posts and do your own research, you'll find a lot of information that your doctor may not even know unless he/she specializes in thyroid disorders.
You're both in a really good place here. People genuinely care about one another. There are some awesome people here with great information.
When I was getting really frustrated with my doctor and how long it took for me to get a diagnosis and then proper treatment, the people here helped me get through the rough spots. They understood like no one else could what I was going through and how I was feeling.
Please go through the information here and keep us posted on how you're doing.
Here's to good health!
Live, Love, Laugh.

Last edited by LuvMyLilDoggie; 01-21-2005 at 04:24 PM.

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Old 01-22-2005, 04:05 PM   #4
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

I can tell you I started to feel a difference about a month into it. Whenever my doc changes my dose he won't check my blood for at least 2 months. In his opinion it takes that long to see and notice the change. I don't know if you are seeing an Endocrinologist or not but I am a firm believer of specialists. I started my thyroid issues with a GP and boy did he screw me up. My endo is awesome and right on track with my dosage.

Old 01-22-2005, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

I LOVE THIS SITE! Your answer was more than just a time. It went into great detail. I am new at hypo(only been on levothyroxine for 5 days now). I thought i was starting to fel better but from time to time i get hit with some syptoms. Good to know it takes that long so I dont give up hope to easy. Its amazing to go through all the threads and no matter how many times the same questions come up there are people that respond to them. When I am more informed and feeling better I am going to try to help as many people with there questions as possible. You people are comendable for what you do!

Old 01-23-2005, 03:51 PM   #6
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scaredincollege HB User
Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

Thank you so much for your replies. I go in a couple of weeks to get my blood tested. Maybe they will increase my dosage.

Old 08-19-2006, 12:54 PM   #7
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

HI everyone, nice group of people posting in here

I am recently on cortef. Was on prednisone for 10 years, I just switched over 2 months ago.

My thryroid has been hypo in the past. I am very convinced dispite the TSH test results (0.52), that I am once again hypo.
The TSH test has never worked for me as the results do not show how the T4 and T3 are doing and usually my T4/T3 do not respond to my TSH output.

I have had LOW TSH and LOW T4, so "no doctor I am not borderline hyper" !

Anyway, I have demanded a T4/T3 test and this will prove my assumptions.

I started on synthroid this morning as I have some from a couple years ago, I took 50 mcg.
How long does it take to at least feel 'something' ?
Thank you and Bless you all

Old 08-19-2006, 01:05 PM   #8
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

Yes, you are so right about the TSH test not being appropriate for thyroid evaluation. It can be low in secondary hypothyroidism, illness, and stress.

When I first started on synthroid years ago, it took a couple of weeks to start feeling better. It can really differ for everyone how long it takes to start feeling better.

Remember you need the Ft4 and Ft3. These are the frees and are the best test to show the actual circulating thyroid hormones. I feel best with the frees in the upper part of their ranges. You just have to find the setpoint in the range that you feel your best.

Hope you start feeling better soon.
** RAI ablation for Graves disease 2004**

Old 08-19-2006, 11:12 PM   #9
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

My story so far is here: [url][/url]

We're unique, but most cases of hypothyroidism are similar to mine, underactive thyroid, undiagnosed for a long time, tons of symptoms, took quite awhile to feel this bad, will take awhile to heal. Not only the medication is needed, but time to adjust to each dose increase, and time to heal. Most with underactive thyroid disorder (hypothyroidism) just need to do the bloodwork, take the medicine near the same time every day, wait about the same amount of time before eating or drinking anything but water, as well as any other doctor instructions about other medications. Most of us will get proper treatment even if the doctor only orders the TSH labs, but there will be a percentage who go through that procedure and don't get well for one reason or another.

At this point in the process, I feel reasonably confident I'm not going to be one of those exceptions, that I will get to a point within the next four months or so where I have found the correct dose and will then need to test far less often, that I will get to feel much better than I did for many, many years. I hope so and I hope that for you, too. If my doctor says we're done and I find that isn't true, I'll start talking to him about that. I expect that would be the time for him to start ordering other tests to find out what else might be wrong, but I'm hoping I won't need to cross that bridge and I know the odds are for me, since most hypos don't.

If you end up needing several increases, don't be surprised if a new dose makes you feel worse again for awhile. If you study how the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and liver work together to try to supply the body with the correct amount of hormone, it becomes easy to understand why there might be some confusion at first when you start adding more T4.

How quickly and well you can adjust to the change depends on why the thyroid was underactive in the first place, whether the thyroid can (along with the T4 your pill supplies) produce enough T4 itself and how well the liver functions to convert T4 to the T3 needed by your body.

With each dose increase, I get somewhat of a relapse in symptoms and then gradually start to feel better. Each period between labs I seem to have a longer "feel good" period each day, so I am encouraged by each increase. By time for the next lab, judging from the last round, I expect to be feeling very good, even though the doctor may decide I need yet another increase.

Old 08-20-2006, 04:56 AM   #10
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Re: when does levothyroxine start working?

The folks who aren't responding to T4 drugs or are taking a very long time to respond might want to lobby their doctors for a change in meds or for some additional T3 meds such as Cytomel. I really don't understand why doctors think it OK to let people suffer for months while they figure out the correct doses.

I would think after 4-6 weeks on Synthroid with little change adding a small dose of Cytomel could bring relief from symptoms much quicker. Many people's bodies do not convert the T4 in Synthroid to T3 which is what has to happen to feel better. Adding a pure T3 drug like Cytomel would help in most cases, IMO. Changing from Synthroid to Armour (a T4-T3 combination) would also help many, but modern doctors aren't very fond of the old-fashioned Armour product.

If your doctor is one of those he might be willing to supplement your Synthroid with a small amount of Cytomel.

At the beginning I said "I don't understand..." but actually I do, sort of. Doctors are afraid to overdose someone who is hypo with the fast-acting T3 drugs. If they give too much T4 the process of becoming hyper happens slowly. If they give too much T3 you can go hyper in a matter of hours. But since Cytomel comes in doses as small as 5mcg I would argue giving that amount is still a conservative and safe approach for someone who is slow to respond to T4 drugs.

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