Levothyroxine is not considered addictive, although signs and symptoms of levothyroxine withdrawal may occur if a person suddenly stops taking this medication. Some of these signs and symptoms can be serious or even life-threatening, so it is incredibly important never to stop taking this medication without the direct supervision and guidance of a prescribing medical provider.
How Long Do Levothyroxine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Levothyroxine withdrawal symptoms may last as little as a few days or as long as long as six weeks, according to various research. Many factors influence how long a levothyroxine withdrawal period lasts, including how quickly a person comes off the medication.
Symptoms of levothyroxine withdrawal can range from mild to severe, and may include:
- Panic attacks
- Altered hormone levels
- A worsening of other hypothyroid symptoms, including pale or dry skin, weakness, decreased heart rate, and brittle nails
Anyone can experience levothyroxine withdrawal symptoms, but people who are more at risk include:
- Elderly individuals
- Anyone who suddenly stops taking the medication
- People with other underlying medical conditions, including liver and kidney disease
The best treatment option for levothyroxine withdrawal is to simply avoid it. Patients can do so by carefully lowering the amount of this medication if necessary, instead of suddenly not taking it anymore. If you miss a dose of your levothyroxine, talk to your medical provider—but do not double up on your dose the next time you’re supposed to take it.