Thyroid Disorders Community
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1139187 tn?1355710247

anyone else have these side effects from levothroxine?

Guys please help. For 6 months I have had every test known to mankind.  I have tried everything in order to feel better including having my gallblatter removed.

Recently a Doctor discovered my thyroid TSH level was wrong.  He prescribed me .25 of levothyroxine and then he decided to increase it to .50.  I have felt much better, but have some weird side effects including:

FLUSH in the face
Feeling of getting a head cold
Hard to get into a deep sleep
Small headache that comes and goes

Of course im hyper now, but compared to the way I felt before which I can only describe as near death, I feel much better.  

Has anyone else had these side effects after starting meds?

Also can we drink wine?

Thank You,

45 Responses
798555 tn?1292791151
Many have reported similar symptoms (head pressure and sleep issues) when increasing thyroid meds in general, not just levothyroxine.

That was a big jump - double the amount.

I dont know what sizes are available in between though. If the hyper feel from upping the dose does not go away, or is simply too irritating- ask the doc about alternating your old dose every other day with the new to gradually step up your dose per week.
Avatar universal
I agree go slower with increasing dose if you are having these symptoms! That is what I have to do. It is taking longer to get to where I need to be but..... patients will pay off I think! Or at least I hope! LOL!
1139187 tn?1355710247
what about dizziness?
1231278 tn?1282262705
Yes absolutely. All of the above.  I think I felt and slept better before being on Levothyroxine.
1139187 tn?1355710247
what about flushing?  face getting flush?
Avatar universal
I couldn't agree more...increase more slowly.  You can alternate doses, split pills, combine pills...anything to get an interim dose.  There's a standard 44 mcg dose.  You can get 37.5 by halving a 75 or halving both a 50 and a 25 and taking half of each.  You shouldn't have to feel hyper.  Slow and steady...
1139187 tn?1355710247
OK.  I went from .25 to .50 but i think im going to take it down to .25 again.  Today I had the worst case of vertigo. I drank some wine last night but cant imagine that is what is causing it.  

I went to the DR. and she told me i appeared to have a small infection, but I dont feel bad except dizziness and nausea.  Could it be this medicine?  Does anyone know how i went from being a healthy individual to suddenly having a thyroid problem?  

My TSH or whatever was .410
798555 tn?1292791151
OK, lets start over. I'm not sure you fully understand, as this is new to you.

All of the above advice is good advice from some experienced members. Going temporarily hyper from the med increase while your body adjusts (6 weeks) can include all of what you mentioned. I personally had all those symptoms not long ago, as I have in the past also. Many need to up doses in small increments, some dont, I think you do. It takes 6 weeks for your med to fully build up and take on the full effect in your body.

When you in this adjusting period, do yourself a favor and limit or stop your alcohol intake. You can booze up all you want once your symptoms and meds have leveled. Keep it simple.

I dont know the details of your infection - where or what- so no one can answer this for you without more info.

Hypo Thyroid happens. Do you have Hashimotos hypo thyroid from autoimmune antibodies? Need to find out- ask the doctor if they did antibody testing, common. Its usually not sudden. Takes a long slow process in most cases (years to become noticeable).

That tsh might be a little hyper for some. but to know for sure you need what is called Free T3 and Free T4 testing. Those are the actual hormones your thyroid is (was) responsible for producing.
1139187 tn?1355710247
I have the worst head cold and it all started when I began my treatment.  It started with flushing, not I have a full blown cold but with really weird symptoms.  Vertigo, stuffy head, congestion in sinus, sore neck.   Good times.
798555 tn?1292791151
You cant blame the head cold on levothyroxine dosing, but the other stuff - yes.

Vertigo, muscle soreness and the weird thing for men- the flushing feeling with hot and cold can happen with thyroid med adjustments.

Cold medicine can add to the confusion of what your symptoms are. Since you have a cold - dont combine alcohol with cold medicine, I know some one who died of sudden liver failure from this, there is a slight awareness now about acetaminophen and alcohol deaths.
1139187 tn?1355710247
I have finally been able to describe the "cold" feeling I get.  You know when something sends "shivers" to you?   This is the same feeling as the shivers, except it lasts for like 2 minutes.
Avatar universal
I'v bene hypo for two years.After myTSH was discoverted to  be 38 I was brought to normal levels in three months careful increases of dose.   Since then my tests have been normal except for FT3· in the lower third of the range. But I lose two to three hours sleep a night with hot flushes and cold skin. I have to get up and strip and wait to cool off inside. I dropped my dose from 100mg to 75 one months ago. Still get the hots. Any one have an answer?. Incidentally, if my test consistently show within normal range can I stop the levo? Was my thyroid damaged for life when TSH went up to 38 (by a 15-month treatmet with amiodarone without a test?
798555 tn?1292791151
Hot flashes are more likely when a hypo person is not recuieving enough thyroid med.

Thyroid med in not medication, its replacement hormone you need ever second. So it does not repair or fix anything, you need to continue to take it while checking your levels and adjusting dose if needed at least twice per year after levels have achieved a symptom free level.

Notice I said symptom free level, not 'normal range'. Can be two different things. Symptoms are very much about FT3 levels. Everyone has a range within the lab range that they feel best at. Why doctors cannot understand this continues to amaze me. So you might need a doctor that is willing to try to adust your level untill your symptoms are gone. . This does not need to be an endo, so far my experience with endos is not any better than regular doctors.

amiodarone - I know nothing about heart meds.
393685 tn?1425816122
Its tough to really suggest anything with you have already exhibited heart issues and trying to balance out your thyroid.

I think the best thing here oldie is to give you some facts to talk to your doctor and see what decision is best for you to make.

High T3 and low T3 is a strong hormone when it comes to heart issues and critical heart care. If your T3 level is too high then you can have a stroke by the hormone coming in way too much and if T3 is too low.. you are robbing the heart of what it needs to stay strong and could stroke there too. That is how sensitive T3 hormone is to the body.

In labs from what I remember with you - your FT3 is pretty low and in regular treatment you could most definately benefit from adding T3 meds in to see of your hypothyroidism symptoms disappear - but you have things that really caution this theory... age and the condition of your heart right now. I don't think anyone can tell you exactly what condition your heart is in to really know if T3 will be right or how much is too much to dose you by. This organ is so sensitive to T3 and needs to have it set right especially in cardiac illness to receive the right dose to be well.

So I believe your doctors are taking the safe route with you right now and only giving you the T4 medication depending on your body to convert into the right T3 to make things better for you. Unfortunately - you have not responded as well as everyone probably is banking on to make you feel better in your hypothyroid state.

Avatar universal
thank you lazymoose and stella. Summing up; 1. A TSH of 38  is high enougn to have permanently affected the production of T4 and this  must be permanently corrected by supplement. 2. the conversion of  T4 into  FT3 in the body is  an independent process and the use of supplementary T3 is questionable for heart patients. ( The sweats started last year when the  dose was 100, continued  when a cardio increased it  to 1.25mg levo and later when an endo  cut it out altogether for ten days). 4. Thyroiders just have to soldier on, trying this, trying that,hoping the next new trick will do it.t
Avatar universal
Good to hear from you again, but you remind me that my summer got away from me, and I promised you more research quite a while ago, but have failed miserably!

1.  It's not the high TSH that permanently affected the production of T4.  Supplemental meds simply replace the hormones your thyroid can no longer make.  They seldom change the underlying condition in any appreciable way.  Since your hypo is most likely amiodarone-related, you might eventually be able to reduce/eliminate thyroid meds.  The half-life of ami is very long, and I think everyone's guessing as to whether the effects of it on thyroid function can be permanent or not.  There are a couple of "temporary" forms of thyroiditis, and often meds are only prescribed until function returns.  However, with any "permanent" thyroid disease (e.g. Hashi's), permanent supplementation is required, regardless of how high TSH levels ever got.  TSH does not damage thyroid function.  How high it gets merely indicates how dysfunctional the hormone production/process has gotten.

2.  Yes, conversion is an independent process and happens mostly in the liver, although conversion sites are ubiquitous throughout the body.  T3 is tricky for heart patients for the reasons Stella cited above.  I've been susceptible to tachycardia all my life due to a congenital heart defect.  Thyroid meds wrought havoc with that condition.

4.  Although there is a little more science to it than that, you're not too far from right.  Lab values can help guide the direction of treatment, but more often than not, it's symptoms that direct.  

I hope things are going reasonably weill for you...

649848 tn?1534637300
Hi oldie, been a while ---- I get the night sweats, too, when I'm hypo.  The worse the hypo, the worse the sweats; I just went hypo not long ago and got an increase in my med, so now I'm "coming back" and the sweats are lessening......... the past week or so, I'm down to only losing an hour or so of sleep due to the sweats......It's really frustrating to lose several hours of the precious sleep we need simply because our bodies won't settle in with us......

I had a hysterectomy when I was 46 yrs old and for at least 12 yrs, my doctor tried to tell me the night sweats/hot flashes were menopause related.  Finally, one day, I said "look, we both know that menopause doesn't last for 12 yrs, there has to be something else going on".  He, reluctantly conceded, that there was probably something else going on, but did absolutely nothing to try to figure it out.....I later had to beg his NP for thyroid tests, which showed me hypo..... he's not my doctor anymore...lol

You are right, that we have to "soldier on" -- there are so many combinations of issues that there just is no "one size fits all" like so many doctors try to treat.  

I take a very low dose of T3 med, but if I increase it to bring up my levels, I get the really racy heart things going on, so I have to keep hoping that my dr will let me increase my T4 med and that I get enough conversion to keep pumping me up.  

It's like walking a tight rope sometimes; you lean too far left, you go hypo; lean too far right, you go hyper........a lot of it is really trial and error, so don't give up; you'll get the right combination eventually.
Avatar universal
I find this in a research doctors' trial/test report:

Our data indicate that each individual had a unique thyroid function. The individual reference ranges for test results were narrow, compared with group reference ranges used to develop laboratory reference ranges. Accordingly, a test result within laboratory reference limits is not necessarily normal for an individual

So what do we do now? Concentrate on our symptoms alone?
Avatar universal
You're preaching to the choir here...

I wrote a piece a while back that said just that (in a lot more words!).  I always say one hypo's heaven is another hypo's he//.

This doesn't mean we need to rely on symptoms ALONE.  By keeping a careful history of labwork, we can see a pattern developing of where each of us feels most comfortable.  That's why it's so important to get regular bloodwork (even when feeling well).  We each have to establish a personal history and find our own range.  Population ranges only define the playing field, and doctors have to realize that the whole field must be used until the patient is symptom-free.  For many, it's not good enough to simply get them into the bottom of the range and then tell them their symptoms are no longer "thyroid related".
Avatar universal
Amiodorone is known to affect (decrease) thyoid funciton. My Dad was on it for a while to help stabilize the electrical signals in cardiac function. It does do that, but it may cost some thyroid function as a tradeoff. Doctors know this if they're up on what's common side effects.

Thyroid hormone acts to speed up things in your body. Cardiologists and endocrinologists are going to be mucho careful in your case to increase your doses, since they may feel like they're playing with fire.

Unfortunately, the folks here are right about how long it takes your body to get used to a new dose....I wish it were faster, but it really does take that long...6-8 weeks or so.

So while you can't be dogmatic about a symptom you have for a week, if it continues, you can keep track of it and show your doctor which direction you're heading in.

Hot flashes can be a sign of too much or also not enough...so they alone aren't proof your meds are too high or too low.

The doctor depends on you to tell him your symptoms...Don't disappoint him by suffering in silence! Make sure he is aware of how you're feeling, even if you feel like a whiny complainer by doing so. Join the club! No one wants to complain, but if you get good at it, and by that I mean make sure he gets the info he needs in as condensed and credible a format as possible as often as he needs it to make good decisions. I tend to prefer putting important symptoms in writing and fax or emailing them to the doctors office. Why?

For one thing, most patients don't. Therefore my letter will stand out. Good.

Second, doctors can read fast and grasp it quick. This saves them time over hearing me say it in person. Once I come in, they already know my symptoms, so we can spend more time on diagnosis and treatment. Time in person at doctor's office is ridiculously short, so anything I can do to make it more productive in my favor is worth it.

Third, hate to say it, but we're in a litigious society. If I'm going to be ignored and undertreated, I don't want any possibility that any doctor can feel the slightest urge to ignore my symptoms. Having on file in my medical records all the symptoms I stated  means that if he cares about his financial well being, he'd also best care about my medical well being. It's not a threat. It's simply a fact that he  will be peripherally aware of.....this patient is organized, educated and may just be the type who will be willing to use legal action if necessary and has the documentation that lawyers love so much. I'm NOT a vindictive person and I'm very polite to my doctors. But we've all heard of people who were too mousy for their own good and ended up getting years of misery when they could have gotten treatment that might have saved them.....if only they spoke up earlier, louder and clearer.

Rant over now....
1139187 tn?1355710247
I went to see an endo yesterday.  He is another "top doc" in Dallas.  I told him about my inability to take any sort of medicine.  Told him that if i take "levo" or "synthroid" that 4 hours later I feel my body under attack and cannot function until it passes.  He told me that I am imaginging this and that there is no way this is possible.  Said that in his 27 years of practicing endocrinology he has never heard of this.  He told me that i needed a phychiatric evaluation.  I told him that I didnt want to hurt his feelings but I have already been down that road and the shrink told me that my symptoms are clearly medical.  I also asked him if he had hashimotos and he got highly offended and told me that I insulted him by asking him such a question.

I have not been on any medication for 5 days now.  I am completely exhausted, but cant figure out if its better or worse than when i was on the meds.  Either way its AWEFUL.

The ear ringing is the worst.  It comes and goes, but when it comes on there is a whole slew of symptoms with it.  I call them "attacks" because I also get bad back pain and total fatigue all at the same time.  Its not consistant.  One hour I feel pretty decent, the next hour I pray for death.  Its really bizarre.

Also some of my proteins came up weird during some basic cancer screening.  The
% lymph was high and the abs lymph was high as well.  
393685 tn?1425816122
Bruce - what makes you think you should take your medications?
Avatar universal
I would be looking at having ANA ds labs done...(anti nuclear ds) which determines if you have Lupus.
I also would suggest that you ask if theres any way possible that you are suffering from Angioedema Urticaria (you can be tested for it...its a skin test).

With Urticaria (Hives) not necessarily showing but large amounts of histamine being released, this causes the angiodema (swelling) and can cause all the symptoms you talk about in regards to the T4 med side effects.
Basically the immune system is 'attacking' anything it sees as 'foreign'...even if it isnt.

Ask for these tests...
ANA ds (serum)

The adrenal glands produce 4mg of histamine a day and if overproducing...then you can get all these symptoms as the histamine is attaching to the BAST CELLS.

Excessive histamine production is 'common' in Thyroid Disorders.
So everyone who suffers with Rhinyitis and also hay Fever, Tinitis, Ear Infections will find they MAY be producing too much Histamine.

1139187 tn?1355710247
I thought I was going into shock this morning. I felt as though I was unable to function at all....  My eyes were rolling back into my head and I wad shaking uncontollably.  I felt like a diabetic.

My wife got me .025 levo and abattivan.

I picked up .025 tirosints today.  Trying to start it tomorrow.
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649848 tn?1534637300
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