These medicines are taken by mouth.
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.
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
Experts disagree on how well TSH
suppression therapy works on noncancerous (benign) thyroid nodules. Ask your
doctor if this treatment is right for you.
TSH suppression therapy can cause many
side effects. The side effects usually go away after your doctor has determined
the right amount of medicine for you. Side effects can include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Experts disagree about the use
of TSH suppression therapy for noncancerous nodules. It is generally not
recommended for people who are older than 60 or for
postmenopausal women. Talk to your doctor about
whether it is right for you.
Your doctor will watch you closely
during treatment to make sure you are not receiving too much TSH suppression
medicine, which can lead to
Generic versions of
levothyroxine are available. The American Association of Clinical
Endocrinologists and the Thyroid Society for Education and Research believe
that generic levothyroxine is both safe and effective. Talk to your doctor
before you switch brands or suddenly stop taking your medicine.
TSH suppression therapy can increase your risk of heart and bone
problems, especially if you have heart disease or
osteoporosis. If you have heart disease, this kind of
medicine can make chest pain or problems with your heart rhythm worse. It can
also increase your chances of
heart attack. If you have osteoporosis, TSH
suppression therapy can further weaken your bones.
should stop TSH suppression therapy if your nodule gets larger. A
biopsy sample should be done, or surgery should be
Let your doctor know all the medicines you are
taking—both prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines. Some
medicines can affect the way thyroid suppression medicines work. You should see
your doctor more often to make sure you are taking the correct dose of TSH
suppression medicine if:
If you are pregnant or if you take
estrogen (estrogen replacement therapy, or ERT),
hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or birth control
pills (oral contraceptives), you may need to increase your dose of TSH
suppression medicine. If you have recently stopped taking ERT, HRT, or birth
control pills, you may need to decrease your dose of TSH suppression medicine.
You may also need to decrease your dose of TSH suppression medicine after
childbirth. Talk to your doctor about the right amount of medicine for
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
March 28, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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