Thyroid Disorders Community
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What happens if I quit taking levothyroxine?

I was diagnosed with Graves at 27. In a years time I had a complete thyroidectamy(?). I have been taking levothyroxine ever since. What would happen to me if I just quit taking the medicine all together? I hate taking a pill everyday and sometimes to get refills for up to a week. Just curious......
211 Responses
425199 tn?1313072597
It's very dangerous to quit taking your thyroid medication. It is replacing what your thyroid used to do, and it is necessary.
Avatar universal
When the levels of thyroid hormones become very low, the symptoms get worse and can result in a serious condition called myxedema coma. Myxedema coma is a rare but life-threatening condition. People with hypothyroidism who are in or near a coma should be taken to an emergency department immediately.

Myxedema Coma Causes
If you have hypothyroidism, then any of the following can contribute to myxedema coma:

Infections, especially lung and urine infections
Heart failure
Drugs, such as phenothiazines, amiodarone, lithium, and tranquilizers, and prolonged iodide use
Not taking prescribed thyroid medications

393685 tn?1425816122
Simply - your body eventually will shut down.

This is fatal and will cause death if your medication is not taken
Avatar universal
Your TSH will go sky high and you will feel like dying. Trust me, I didn't take any meds for 6 weeks after total thyroidectomy (as many people here have experienced) and my level got so high I could not focus my eyes. It's about as close as you can get to actually WANTING to die because you just want relief for how bad you actually feel. My aunt had a thyroidectomy when she was 11 years old and a few years ago, when she was in her 40's, she decided she was sick of taking a pill everyday and wanted to see what would happen. About 2 months along with no meds she was driving down the road and had to pull over and for about 30 minutes she did not know who she was or where she was going. They took her to the hospital and she was a mess. SO, don't stop taking your pills. It may be a pain but it could mean your life.
Avatar universal
To stop taking your thyroid hormone medication is very dangerous.  The chemicals in the medication is used to help the pituitary and other parts of the endocrine system produce hormones without the thyroid.  Even though you don't have yor thyroid anymore, you still need the hormones to be able to have simple things such as energy, to grow(for children), and feel emotions.  So, don't stop taking the pills.
212753 tn?1275076711
Everyone is right . No pill = death. Its not a big deal to take a little pill everyday so you can have a good quality of life and be healthy. Would you quit taking your insulin if you were diabetic? Its like that So take your pill and dont worry about it and get on with living. there are a lot worse things that could be wrong with you.
Love Venora
87651 tn?1259606003
Not trying to be harsh, but to say you are just tired of taking a pill sounds a bit ridiculous to me. Taking my pill is like taking a little bit of heaven everyday! I know that this pill is going to do good things for me in time to come. Please, take the pill unless you really want problems. You think taking one pill is a pain in the butt?? Imagine not taking it and then finding yourself in the ER and going home to even more meds because you didnt want to take a pill.. like meds for your heart etc.. just doesnt make sense! :)
Avatar universal
i was prescribed 25mcg of thyroxine. i think it is giving me pain in my upper and lower
legs?  should i quit it for a week and see how i feel?
Avatar universal
If I don't take my Levoxyl for 2 or more days I start to feel tired and run-down. If you are sick of taking one pill each day, think of this: I take 12.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
Hey cotton, did you ever find out about that pain in your chest? I still have my thyroid but the Dr said it's under active. Now I'm taking 50mcg of levothyroxine and i'm having panic attacks, feeling nervous, losing weight and having trouble sleeping. I heard that sometimes the thyroid can just stat working again. I'm worried that now i'm hyper instead of hypo. I just had my blood tested this morning. Havnt had it checked in about 5 months before that. Dr says it takes 2 days for results.
Avatar universal
I still have my thyroid but the Dr said it's under active. Now I'm taking 50mcg of levothyroxine and i'm having panic attacks, feeling nervous, losing weight and having trouble sleeping. I heard that sometimes the thyroid can just stat working again. I'm worried that now i'm hyper instead of hypo. I just had my blood tested this morning. Havnt had it checked in about 5 months before that. Dr says it takes 2 days for results.
Avatar universal
i agree it is dangerous to stop taking your meds.
but, i was hypothyroid for many years the doctor had assumed, and i didn't die.....i don't think you just up and die....
assuming your thyroid doesn't produce any t-4 or t-3 or whatever then yeah dying after going into a coma or having heart implications is very possible.
many people's thryoid is still producing , just not enough to be within the normal range............so i think the more accurate answer in this case is that your health would drastically decline in a matter of weeks or months and probably stabilize to some sub-normal health zone.......think slow death........
i have to take 175 levothyroxine everyday. i know what i felt like years before i was diagnosed, i had anxiety attacks from hell, not all to be attributed to the thyroid thing, but it almost surely complicated matters.
that is all i have to say

649848 tn?1534637300
This is a very old post; however, the original poster had a TT, which means she had no thyroid to produce any hormone at all.  In her case, as in the case of one whose thyroid has completely died off, not taking the pill would quite likely cause one to die.  

There are a lot of us who most likely were hypo for a long time before diagnosis and we didn't die, but you never know what's going to happen.  I believe that I swung between hyper and hypo for at least 20 yrs before my thyroid stopped working and I became totally hypo.  At the time of my diagnosis, a holter monitor showed that my heart rate was dropping as low as the low to mid 30's when I slept; even when I was up and about, my heart rate rarely got much over 50 bpm.  If my condition had gone undiagnosed much longer, I might easily have died.  

Taking that pill (or in my case - 2 pills) every day is a small price to pay.  
Avatar universal
I see no difference when I dnt take my pill fr a couple of days, I either forget or I just dnt take them... When I do take them I try to take them in the morning but,(btw,I'm 16), I have alt of other important things to do in tha mrning that I just forget somtimes but I'm still slightly overweight and seem to be losing hair I dnt know y tho... And I dnt like that...but just nt wanting to tale it,well that's just laziness...
Peese out take ur pillz!!
649848 tn?1534637300
If you would take your medication daily like you are supposed to, you might be better able to lose weight because your metabolism would be better; plus your hair would not fall out so bad.  By not taking your medication regularly, you are not helping yourself to get well.

Avatar universal
i have had my whole thyroid removed due to cancer im 26 this was last year...i was left for 2 weeks until i got my first tablet as the hospital said i do not need it lol!!!(stupid)...them 2 weeks was hell i could not get up outta bed,could not work..i felt awful,so im very aware tat if you do not take ur tablets ur life is never going to be the same or even end ur life .... sooo please take ya pills peeps,, its not alot to ask 2-3 tablets a day is nothing. steph
Avatar universal
I'm 23 and was born without a thyroid gland. My dosage of levothyroxine has been increasing gradually throughout my lifetime. I'm now on 200mcg.

However, not realising the importance of taking my medication daily, I skipped days of not taking them and I think it lasted for 2 weeks during my A-Levels at the age of 17 before I went into a myxedema coma during the night. My body went into complete shock and an uncontrollable shake; it felt like I was in an ice box. I tried to call out for my parents but nothing would come out of my mouth. I had no energy left in me. I tried to reach for my mobile phone to call my mum or dad in the other room, but I couldnt even lift my arms out from under the duvet as I felt like ice. I was so scared - I'm not sure how long this lasted, but it felt like an eternity with trying to struggle to move or get out of the bed. I thought I was going to die as my body just shook uncontrollably. Eventually, thinking I needed help asap, I somehow managed to throw myself out of the bed with the duvet around me and with hardly any energy, I crawled into my parents room. After asking me the last time I took my medication, they gave it to me straight away, as well as a hot water bottle and my body started to calm down. They told me I was ice cold, how my lips were blue and my face was white. After that, my immune system must have totally broken down as I had a kidney, urine and bladder infection and was out of action for a long time. It took my body months to recover, and my A-Levels results suffered terribly as I couldn't finish them.

So, taking a little pill every day is not THAT hard, as I well know. You take them for a reason, not just for fun. They're a necessary way of life.
Avatar universal
What if you have an underactive thyroid and you are suppost to be taking 200mg of levothyroxine each day when your 17 and havnt had it for 2 months??
what happens??
649848 tn?1534637300
You would most likely be very sick by now!!  Why aren't you taking the med?  It is necessary for your body to function properly.  
Avatar universal
It is a long story but I cant take them when im stressed but i seem to be fine anyway im just tiered all the time so i dont think it makes much diffrence anyway
1602382 tn?1297669723
I've taken Levothroxine since I was 18. I discovered I had it when I dragged through the day all the time and gained a bunch of weight...Many doctors told me to stop partying and get a good nights rest, and to not eat an unhealthy diet...by the way I was only like 125-130 pounds when they told me that. The third doctor asked me if I'd ever had my thyroid checked and sure enough my levels were REALLY bad. I've had insurance since I was 18 but now at 22 I have a job without insurance and have been rationing my last week of pills from my last refill for two weeks now. I'm not sure how to get more without paying more than I can afford...what do I do???
Avatar universal
if you live in the UK you can get a medicial exsemtry card and all your proscripitions will be free i have one, theyl give it to you cause its a life long condition.  You should ask your G.P about it.
Avatar universal
omg! you guys are so naive i got diagnosed from a dumb *** doctor who said i had a thyroid problem when i don't and causes serious problems with my body i couldn't even walk from levoxyl. levoxyl will ruin you it will cause your eyes to bulge out of your head its a very unneeded medication every doctor uses ******* thyroid as an excuse
do not take an prescription medication for that your thyroid controls everything in your body. I'm skinnier off that **** then i was on it goes to show all bull crap take natural stuff
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