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Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Suppression Therapy

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
desiccated thyroid Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, Westhroid
Generic Name Brand Name
levothyroxine Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid
liothyronine Cytomel
Generic Name Brand Name
liotrix Thyrolar

These medicines are taken by mouth.

How It Works

Thyroid-stimulating hormone suppression therapy reduces the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your body. When you limit the amount of TSH in your body, your thyroid gland stops growing. This may mean that your nodules will also stop growing.

Why It Is Used

When your body makes less TSH, there is less thyroid growth and perhaps less nodule growth. TSH suppression therapy may be used if you have a nodule or nodules that are growing but are not cancerous. TSH suppression therapy may keep them from getting too large.

How Well It Works

Experts disagree on how well TSH suppression therapy works on noncancerous (benign) thyroid nodules. Ask your doctor if this treatment is right for you.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Anxiety or irritability.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Abnormal heart beats.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
Last Revised March 14, 2013

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