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Taking Levothyroxine at Breakfast: An Option for Thyroid Patients?


Updated June 04, 2014

Taking Levothyroxine at Breakfast: An Option for Thyroid Patients?

Researchers studied whether taking levothyroxine with breakfast, versus on an empty stomach, would allow a patient to maintain targeted thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. The study had hypothyroid patients taking levothyroxine randomized into two groups. One took their levothyroxine with breakfast, the other group took their medication while fasting.

The study found that the TSH level was for patients taking their medication with breakfast was higher (2.89) vs. those who fasted (1.9). mIU/L, p=0.028). The researchers concluded that taking levothyroxine with food is more likely to cause a variable TSH level, and therefore patients who take their thyroid medication with food need to be followed more closely.

According to the researchers, when patients need to maintain a specific targeted TSH -- for example, in thyroid cancer patients after surgery whose goal is to maintain a suppressed TSH -- taking levothyroxine while fasting is recommended.

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Perez, Camila, et. al. "Serum Thyrotropin Levels Following Levothyroxine Administration at Breakfast," Thyroid, Volume 23, Number 7, 2013

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