Levothroid Uses

Although Levothroid uses are primarily for the treatment of hypothyroidism and other thyroid problems, the medication can also be used off-label to treat depression (in conjunction with antidepressants). Levothroid works by boosting the body's thyroid hormones, but it should never be used to increase energy or cause weight loss in people without a thyroid problem.

Levothroid Uses: An Overview

Levothroid® (levothyroxine sodium) is a prescription medicine that is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring thyroid hormone. Levothroid is used to treat the following conditions:

Levothroid for Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a very important gland that produces hormones, known as thyroid hormones. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is a common disorder of the thyroid gland. It can occur as the result of two very different problems. It can occur due to problems that cause the thyroid to be underactive (such as an inflammation of the thyroid), or it can be caused by treatments for other thyroid problems, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Part of the thyroid is often intentionally destroyed (using surgery or other treatments) in an effort to treat cancer, nodules, or hyperthyroidism. However, it is common to destroy too much of the thyroid, leaving people with an underactive thyroid.
Either way, the end result is the same -- the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones, which can result in the following hypothyroidism symptoms:
  • Constipation
  • A decreased sex drive
  • Muscle cramps
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Skin that is dry, rough, and pale
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss.
As you can see, many of these symptoms can be subtle, and many people blame their symptoms on aging or stress, without realizing they have a thyroid problem. Levothroid works to boost the body's thyroid hormone levels, which can work wonders for the symptoms of hypothyroidism. However, do not expect results overnight; it often takes several weeks to notice any improvement. Levothroid should never be used to increase energy or cause weight loss in people without a thyroid problem.
It is important to understand that with Levothroid, more is not necessarily better. Taking too much will cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism, some of which can be quite dangerous. This is why your healthcare provider will carefully monitor you, using blood tests, to make sure you are not taking too much or too little Levothroid.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
The Zen of Cancer Caregiving - Recharge Your Batteries!