It is important to be careful when choosing and using your thyroid medication. If you take too high of a dose--or too low--you can experience unwanted side effects. Side effects of thyroid medication can range from mildly uncomfortable to severe, so it is important to understand what side effects of thyroid medication are and what to do if you have them.
Identifying side effects of thyroid medication depends on which type of medication you are taking. Hyperthyroidism requires a thyroid-inhibiting medication, while Hypothyroidism requires taking a thyroid replacement hormone.
Some possible side effects of thyroid medication are:
Rapid heartbeat Heart palpitations Shortness of breath Dizziness Weight gain or loss Hair loss Temperature changes, such as feeling cold or hot when you normally do not.
If you are taking a thyroid-inhibiting medication, having side effects such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, feeling hot or dizziness could mean that your medication is too low. Your thyroid hormone is not being suppressed enough. Conversely, if you are experiencing coldness in your hands and feet, hair loss or weight gain, you may be taking too high of a dose. Your thyroid is being suppressed too much.
If you are taking a thyroid replacement hormone, the opposite is true. Having side effects such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, feeling hot or dizziness could mean that your medication is too high. You are receiving too much thyroid hormone. Conversely, if you are experiencing coldness in your hands and feet, hair loss or weight gain, you may not be receiving enough thyroid hormone.
If you suspect that you might be having side effects, consult your doctor immediately. The thyroid hormone has direct effects on your heart, brain and organ functions, so making sure that your thyroid is functioning properly is of the utmost importance. An imbalanced thyroid gland can lead to heart attack or heart failure if left untreated.
Have your blood tested at least every six months to check your levels of TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone. According to the Mayo Clinic, having a TSH test will tell you how your thyroid is functioning. If your doctor does not check your TSH levels, you should consider changing doctors.