Treatment of an underactive thyroid:
Thyroxine – the hormone levels are replaced with a medication called levothyroxine. Doses often star t small and are then adjusted, with blood tests ever y so often to check whether or not the dose is correct. Once you are established on the correct dose you will need to have a blood test annually to ensure that your dosage requirements have not changed.
Hypothyroidism in pregnancy – you will be referred to a specialist in pregnancy as your dosage needs are likely to increase during your pregnancy.
People with hypothyroidism are entitled to free prescriptions. Your GP surgery will give you a form to obtain a free prescriptions card.
Treatment of an overactive thyroid:
This depends on the cause and any treatment aims to reduce the levels of thyroid hormone back down to normal as well as controlling symptoms.
Carbimazole – this is a medication commonly used to treat an overactive thyroid and works to stop the thyroid gland producing thyroxine. However it does not neutralise or get rid of the thyroxine which has already been made so it takes
1-2 months to work. Carbimazole is often taken for 12-18 months before stopping, though it may need to be restar ted.
Rarely, carbimazole can af fect the white cells in your blood, which are involved in fighting infection. If you develop a sore throat or high fever while taking the medication you should see a doctor urgently who will arrange an urgent blood test to check the white blood cell levels.
Carbimazole is safe to take while breastfeeding, though an alternative medication called propylthiouracil is generally used during pregnancy.
Propranolol – while you are waiting for the carbimazole to take ef fect your doctor may prescribe the beta blocker medication, propranolol. This does not effect the amount of thyroid hormone in the body but it can help control symptoms such as palpitations, tremor and anxiety.
The cause will dictate treatment