Below are the general guidelines for doing Levothyroxine. Note that these dosages may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis for individual patients. Always follow your prescribing physician’s instructions for taking Levothyroxine.
The following information comes from DailyMed, an FDA label information provider.
What if I miss a dose of Levothyroxine?
What if I overdose on Levothyroxine?
The signs and symptoms of overdosage are those of hyperthyroidism . In addition, confusion and disorientation may occur. Cerebral embolism, shock, coma and death have been reported. Seizures occurred in a 3-year- old child ingesting 3.6 mg of levothyroxine. Symptoms may not necessarily be evident or may not appear until several days after ingestion of levothyroxine sodium.
Reduce the levothyroxine sodium tablets dose or discontinue temporarily if signs or symptoms of overdosage occur. Initiate appropriate supportive treatment as dictated by the patient’s medical status.
For current information on the management of poisoning or overdosage, contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or www.poison.org.
Dosage and Administration
General Administration Information
Take levothyroxine sodium tablets with a full glass of water as the tablet may rapidly disintegrate.
Administer levothyroxine sodium tablets as a single daily dose, on an empty stomach, one-half to one hour before breakfast.
Administer levothyroxine sodium tablets at least 4 hours before or after drugs known to interfere with levothyroxine sodium tablets absorption.
Evaluate the need for dose adjustments when regularly administering within one hour of certain foods that may affect levothyroxine sodium tablets absorption.
Administer levothyroxine sodium tablets to infants and children who cannot swallow intact tablets by crushing the tablet, suspending the freshly crushed tablet in a small amount (5 to 10 mL or 1 to 2 teaspoons) of water and immediately administering the suspension by spoon or dropper. Do not store the suspension. Do not administer in foods that decrease absorption of levothyroxine sodium tablets, such as soybean-based infant formula.
General Principles of Dosing
The dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets for hypothyroidism or pituitary TSH suppression depends on a variety of factors including: the patient’s age, body weight, cardiovascular status, concomitant medical conditions (including pregnancy), concomitant medications, co-administered food and the specific nature of the condition being treated. Dosing must be individualized to account for these factors and dose adjustments made based on periodic assessment of the patient’s clinical response and laboratory parameters.
The peak therapeutic effect of a given dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets may not be attained for 4 to 6 weeks.
Dosing in Specific Patient Populations
Primary Hypothyroidism in Adults and in Adolescents in Whom Growth and Puberty are Complete
Start levothyroxine sodium tablets at the full replacement dose in otherwise healthy, non-elderly individuals who have been hypothyroid for only a short time (such as a few months). The average full replacement dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets is approximately 1.6 mcg per kg per day (for example: 100 to 125 mcg per day for a 70 kg adult).
Adjust the dose by 12.5 to 25 mcg increments every 4 to 6 weeks until the patient is clinically euthyroid and the serum TSH returns to normal. Doses greater than 200 mcg per day are seldom required. An inadequate response to daily doses of greater than 300 mcg per day is rare and may indicate poor compliance, malabsorption, drug interactions or a combination of these factors.
For elderly patients or patients with underlying cardiac disease, start with a dose of 12.5 to 25 mcg per day. Increase the dose every 6 to 8 weeks, as needed until the patient is clinically euthyroid and the serum TSH returns to normal. The full replacement dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets may be less than 1 mcg per kg per day in elderly patients.
In patients with severe longstanding hypothyroidism, start with a dose of 12.5 to 25 mcg per day. Adjust the dose in 12.5 to 25 mcg increments every 2 to 4 weeks until the patient is clinically euthyroid and the serum TSH level is normalized.
Secondary or Tertiary Hypothyroidism
Start levothyroxine sodium tablets at the full replacement dose in otherwise healthy, non-elderly individuals. Start with a lower dose in elderly patients, patients with underlying cardiovascular disease or patients with severe longstanding hypothyroidism as described above. Serum TSH is not a reliable measure of levothyroxine sodium tablets dose adequacy in patients with secondary or tertiary hypothyroidism and should not be used to monitor therapy. Use the serum free-T4 level to monitor adequacy of therapy in this patient population. Titrate levothyroxine sodium tablets dosing per above instructions until the patient is clinically euthyroid and the serum free-T4 level is restored to the upper half of the normal range.
Pediatric Dosage – Congenital or Acquired Hypothyroidism
The recommended daily dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets in pediatric patients with hypothyroidism is based on body weight and changes with age as described in Table 1. Start levothyroxine sodium tablets at the full daily dose in most pediatric patients. Start at a lower starting dose in newborns (0-3 months) at risk for cardiac failure and in children at risk for hyperactivity (see below). Monitor for clinical and laboratory response.
Table 1. Levothyroxine Sodium Tablets Dosing Guidelines for Pediatric Hypothyroidism
|AGE||Daily Dose Per Kg Body Weight a|
|0-3 months||10-15 mcg/kg/day|
|3-6 months||8-10 mcg/kg/day|
|6-12 months||6-8 mcg/kg/day|
|1-5 years||5-6 mcg/kg/day|
|6-12 years||4-5 mcg/kg/day|
|Greater than 12 years but growth and puberty incomplete||2-3 mcg/kg/day|
|Growth and puberty complete||1.6 mcg/kg/day|
|The dose should be adjusted based on clinical response and laboratory parameters.|
Newborns (0-3 months) at risk for cardiac failure: Consider a lower starting dose in newborns at risk for cardiac failure. Increase the dose every 4 to 6 weeks as needed based on clinical and laboratory response.
Children at risk for hyperactivity: To minimize the risk of hyperactivity in children, start at one- fourth the recommended full replacement dose, and increase on a weekly basis by one-fourth the full recommended replacement dose until the full recommended replacement dose is reached.
Pre-existing Hypothyroidism: Levothyroxine sodium tablets dose requirements may increase during pregnancy. Measure serum TSH and free-T4 as soon as pregnancy is confirmed and, at minimum, during each trimester of pregnancy. In patients with primary hypothyroidism, maintain serum TSH in the trimester-specific reference range. For patients with serum TSH above the normal trimester-specific range, increase the dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets by 12.5 to 25 mcg/day and measure TSH every 4 weeks until a stable levothyroxine sodium tablets dose is reached and serum TSH is within the normal trimester-specific range. Reduce levothyroxine sodium tablets dosage to pre-pregnancy levels immediately after delivery and measure serum TSH levels 4 to 8 weeks postpartum to ensure levothyroxine sodium tablets dose is appropriate.
New Onset Hypothyroidism: Normalize thyroid function as rapidly as possible. In patients with moderate to severe signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, start levothyroxine sodium tablets at the full replacement dose (1.6 mcg per kg body weight per day). In patients with mild hypothyroidism (TSH <10 IU per liter) start levothyroxine sodium tablets at 1.0 mcg per kg body weight per day. Evaluate serum TSH every 4 weeks and adjust levothyroxine sodium tablets dosage until a serum TSH is within the normal trimester specific range.
TSH Suppression in Well-differentiated Thyroid Cancer
Generally, TSH is suppressed to below 0.1 IU per liter, and this usually requires a levothyroxine sodium tablets dose of greater than 2 mcg per kg per day. However, in patients with high-risk tumors, the target level for TSH suppression may be lower.
Monitoring TSH and/or Thyroxine (T4) Levels
Assess the adequacy of therapy by periodic assessment of laboratory tests and clinical evaluation. Persistent clinical and laboratory evidence of hypothyroidism despite an apparent adequate replacement dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets may be evidence of inadequate absorption, poor compliance, drug interactions or a combination of these factors.
In adult patients with primary hypothyroidism, monitor serum TSH levels after an interval of 6 to 8 weeks after any change in dose. In patients on a stable and appropriate replacement dose, evaluate clinical and biochemical response every 6 to 12 months and whenever there is a change in the patient’s clinical status.
In patients with congenital hypothyroidism, assess the adequacy of replacement therapy by measuring both serum TSH and total or free-T4. Monitor TSH and total or free-T4 in children as follows: 2 and 4 weeks after the initiation of treatment, 2 weeks after any change in dosage, and then every 3 to 12 months thereafter following dose stabilization until growth is completed. Poor compliance or abnormal values may necessitate more frequent monitoring. Perform routine clinical examination, including assessment of development, mental and physical growth and bone maturation, at regular intervals.
While the general aim of therapy is to normalize the serum TSH level, TSH may not normalize in some patients due to in utero hypothyroidism causing a resetting of pituitary-thyroid feedback. Failure of the serum T4 to increase into the upper half of the normal range within 2 weeks of initiation of levothyroxine sodium tablets therapy and/or of the serum TSH to decrease below 20 IU per liter within 4 weeks may indicate the child is not receiving adequate therapy. Assess compliance, dose of medication administered and method of administration prior to increasing the dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets.
Secondary and Tertiary Hypothyroidism
Monitor serum free-T4 levels and maintain in the upper half of the normal range in these patients.
How is Levothyroxine supplied?
Levothyroxine is typically supplied in bottles of 28-, 30-, 60-, 90-, and 100-tablet numbers.