How Long After Eating Can I Take Levothyroxine (And Why)?

Exact Answer: At least 4 hours

Sold under brand names such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Unithroid, Levothyroxine is a drug that can only be sold if a prescription is submitted. It is sold in three different types including a capsule that must be taken orally, a tablet that must be taken orally, and a solution that is supposed to be injected.

The drug Levothyroxine is prescribed to treat a condition known as hypothyroidism. This condition takes place when there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone that is being produced by the thyroid gland. Also, it can help treat the thyroid gland if it becomes enlarged or swollen. This condition is known as goiter. Also, the drug can help treat few kinds of thyroid cancer.

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How Long After Eating Can I Take Levothyroxine?

ObjectiveDuration
When do you take Levothyroxine before eating?30-60 minutes before eating
When do you take Levothyroxine after eating?At least 4 hours

Levothyroxine is a drug that comes under the family of medications known as hormones. Levothyroxine is a drug that is prescribed to treat conditions such as hypothyroidism, goiter, and thyroid cancer. Because patients might have thyroid glands that do not work properly and do not release enough thyroid hormone, this drug helps release the thyroid hormone that is necessary for the body.

Levothyroxine oral tablets are available in three different dosages: 25 μg, 50 μg, and 100 μg. Depending on each person’s health condition, symptoms, age, and hormone levels, the dosage differs. Typically, doctors prescribe adults with a dosage between 50 μg and 100 μg, only taken one time per day. But this dosage tends to increase to up to 200 μg a day, over the course of several weeks, according to the doctor’s diagnosis.

The thyroid hormone is responsible for controlling growth and levels of energy. So if there is a deficiency in the levels of thyroid hormone, it can severely affect the body and cause undesirable complications.

Eating

Thyroid hormone levels may be reduced due to natural complications, or when the thyroid gland is damaged from medication or radiation, or if the thyroid gland itself is removed with surgery.

Levothyroxine must be taken at least thirty minutes to a whole hour before eating. This is why it is best to take this medicine before breakfast. In addition, you may also take Levothyroxine at least four hours after eating. If you do not take Levothyroxine before breakfast, then you will be advised to take the drug 4 hours after dinner. After this, eating food or snacks is strongly frowned upon, as this can affect absorption.

Why Does It Take That Long To Take Levothyroxine After Eating?

You must either take Levothyroxine 30-60 minutes before a meal or 4 hours after eating a meal because this waiting period allows for optimal absorption of the drug into the bloodstream of the patient.

If you eat right after taking Levothyroxine or take Levothyroxine right after eating, it can result in drastically reduced absorption of the drug into the bloodstream.

Waiting 4 hours after a meal to take Levothyroxine also helps prevent fluctuations or sudden changes in the thyroid hormone levels, thus preventing symptoms from reappearing.

Foods such as soybeans, coffee, and those that contain a higher fiber content are major parts of breakfast. In addition, foods that contain more calories, protein, calcium, and fat are also concerning. These types of foods can interfere significantly with the absorption of Levothyroxine into the bloodstream.

Levothyroxine

Side effects that are common after taking Levothyroxine include weight loss, high appetite, headaches, anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, sensitivity to heat, hyperactivity, irritability, difficulty sleeping, weak muscles, vomiting, stomach cramps, hair loss, tremors, diarrhea, change in the menstrual cycle, and more. Most of these symptoms are temporary and would disappear after a few days or weeks of taking the drug.

But Levothyroxine can have dangerous side effects as well. These include heart attacks, heart failure, abnormal rhythm of heart, and extremely fast heartbeat. In rare cases, you may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, excessive fatigue, swollen limbs, sudden weight gain, and general uneasiness in the upper torso. If you do notice these symptoms, it is important to immediately notify a health professional, as this can very quickly lead to a life-threatening emergency.

Conclusion

This we can understand that one must take Levothyroxine at least 30-60 minutes before a meal, breakfast. In addition, the person must wait at least 4 hours or more after eating, dinner, to take the dosage of Levothyroxine.

It is important to take the drug at the same every day, without fail. This is to avoid and prevent unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects and to primarily increase the absorption of the drug into the gut.

Regarding the schedule of intake, dosage, or the form of Levothyroxine that should be taken, one must always consult a doctor or any health professional before consuming.

References

  1. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2018/1015/p532
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/thy.2013.0661
  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/0YWR-8DRV-HHP4-UE2E

Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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23 thoughts on “How Long After Eating Can I Take Levothyroxine (And Why)?”

  1. The fact that Levothyroxine can cause heart attacks and heart failure is so frightening. It’s almost prohibitive of ever wanting to consider taking this medication.

    1. I understand your fear, Hall. It’s important to remember that these side effects are rare, but it’s always a good idea to discuss concerns with your healthcare provider.

  2. The information about the dosages and how they are determined was fascinating, I had no idea there were different thresholds based on health and age.

    1. It’s really interesting, isn’t it? Knowing how specific dosages are determined can definitely provide peace of mind.

  3. Levothyroxine seems like such a complex medication with so many associated challenges. This article has really shed some light on its intricacies.

    1. I completely agree, Elliot. While it may seem complex, understanding it is the first step to managing it effectively.

    2. This article really did an excellent job at breaking down the complexities of Levothyroxine. Great source of information.

  4. The extensive detail about the side effects and potential dangers of Levothyroxine is quite unsettling. It’s good to be informed, but it’s also anxiety-inducing.

    1. I completely understand, Hunter Ross. Knowledge is power, but there’s also a fine line when it comes to health-related anxiety. Always good to balance between awareness and fear.

  5. I’m still astounded by how long it takes for Levothyroxine to be absorbed after eating. It seems both inconvenient and vital at the same time.

    1. I understand your sentiment, Amurphy. Sometimes, necessary inconveniences are just a part of managing health.

  6. I never knew Levothyroxine had so many different uses. This information has been very informative and enlightening.

  7. It’s absurd that you have to wait so long after eating to take Levothyroxine. Seems inconvenient and counterintuitive.

    1. I’ve always found it rather comical how specific the restrictions are for taking Levothyroxine. But if it’s necessary, it’s what we have to do!

    2. I can see how it might seem that way, Jackson13. But it’s all in the interest of the medication working effectively.

  8. I’m so relieved to have more information on Levothyroxine, I have been needing to take this drug and now I know more about it. Thank you for providing such detailed information!

    1. I’m glad you found the information helpful, Owood. It’s great that you’re educating yourself on the medication you need to take.

  9. The side effects of Levothyroxine seem so serious, it makes me reluctant to take it despite the necessity. I appreciate the detailed information, but now I’m uneasy about taking it.

    1. I understand your concern, Ian16. It’s always good to weigh the risks and benefits with any medication. Maybe talk to your doctor if you’re feeling uneasy.

  10. The detailed information on when to take Levothyroxine in relation to meals was informative and helpful. It’s good to know specifics and reasoning behind it.

    1. Avatar of Summer Robinson
      Summer Robinson

      You’re right, Duncan. Having a detailed understanding about the timing of medication can really make a difference in its effectiveness.

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