General Question

Kayak8's avatar

For those who have taken synthroid (thyroid hormone replacement therapy), how long did it take before you had more energy (if any improvement was noted)?

Asked by Kayak8 (16407 points ) September 15th, 2012

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17 Answers

DigitalBlue's avatar

My husband takes synthroid, and I’ll answer as an observer. I didn’t really notice that he had more energy, he still seems tired and he sleeps very deeply. He says (and has always said) that he can’t tell the difference, but I will say that sometimes there is a delay in getting his script refilled, and when he goes without his medication I can see a huge difference in him. I can just see in his face that something is “off,” and he won’t eat for long periods of time and is very confused and just “fuzzy.”
I’m not sure if this is helpful, but if my husband were answering he would likely say that he didn’t/doesn’t notice any change – but I do.

bookish1's avatar

I’ve been on levothyroxine/Synthroid since I was a little kid, so I have trouble remembering how I felt before that, with low levels. But I can tell you that even if you and your doctor have hit upon the right dosage, the change in symptoms can be gradual. I’ve had endocrinologists tell me that it’s not that serious if I skipped a day or two, so using reverse logic, I’d say that the effects of the synthroid won’t be immediate, but you will probably feel better in a month or more. Best of luck to you, and here’s hoping you’re on the right dose.

marinelife's avatar

I switched to levothyroxine after reading about some problems with Synthroid. I am still not happy with my results. I am seriously (after doing a lot of reading) thinking of trying Armour.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s periodically for me, because my thyroid gland is intact, and actually works every once in awhile. I have a lot of ups and downs.

augustlan's avatar

When I first started taking it, almost 30 years ago, they had to fiddle with the dosage for a while. I felt marginally better fairly soon after they got it right, but I have never regained the energy levels I had before I went hypo-thyroid in the first place. As @DigitalBlue says, though, I notice a big difference whenever I’ve gone without my thyroid meds for too long. By day 3, I am pretty much a useless, brainless, lump.

*I took Synthroid for years, but take levothyroxine now. Same difference.

Kayak8's avatar

I was prescribed levothyroxine (chemical/generic name for Synthroid, I just used Synthroid in the Q to simplify). So if levothyroxine is the generic of Synthroid, I am puzzled by the perceived difference between the two in responses above. I feel like I am missing something . . . Going to look up Armour now. . .

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Hypothyroidism runs in my family, and I was diagnosed with it at a young age, so like @bookish1, I also don’t remember what it was like before. I’ve been on the same dosage for honestly 25 or 30 years. I’m lucky. Levothyroxine works just fine for me.

I get my levels checked annually, and it’s always in the normal range.

serenade's avatar

I have no natural thyroid function and have taken Synthroid for 20 years. Recently, I decided to experiment with not taking it, so when I started taking again I was starting from very deep in the hole. My doctor had me take my most recent prescription for six weeks before doing initial bloodwork. Now that the results have come back, he’s modified my prescription slightly and said don’t come back for three months. This is to give you an idea of the timelines involved.

I agree with @augustlan that my experience has been that I don’t see an increased energy level (or a return to whatever was normal before). It’s rare for me not to be a little tired all the time. What I believe to be true, however, is that you can increase energy with some supplemental practices that mostly amount to diet and exercise. This is difficult for me to do, because I start out behind the curve with less than ideal health and motivation. I guess the bottom line is that it takes extra effort to stay on the same plane.

Mary Shomon has some books about practices (diet, exercise and other) that are purported to alleviate the deficit described above.

I’ve long been frustrated by the whole Synthroid vs. levothyroxine question. It’s been difficult to get an answer beyond “we don’t recommend the generic.” The best I’ve been able to get is that the absorption of the active ingredient is better with Synthroid because the fillers used for the generic can vary from batch to batch and (I guess) can result in different types of binding (I suppose like calcium can bind to the active ingredient, which is why you shouldn’t take the pill with dairy). I’ve also been told (as a result of my most recent experiment with not taking it) that taking generic is better than taking nothing.

Beyond all of that, I have found that I have the most energy and focus when I am engaged in something that I truly love. That gave me the biggest surge of energy by far, and it also required lots of energy to do. It doesn’t seem to last very long outside of that activity, but it is a night and day difference.

laureth's avatar

Taken levothyroxine for what, four or five years now? Haven’t noted any difference whatsoever.

JLeslie's avatar

When my TSH got down to 3. You have to know and watch your own numbers and get to know when you feel best. I’m best between 2–3. Most endocrinologist like patients between 1–2.

When you first start they will try you on a dose, retest in 6–8 weeks, and then change the dose again if need be. Then they should test you again in 6–8 weeks to see where you are and if you need your dose changed again. Once you are between 1–4 they will either leave the dose the same, or maybe change by one pill one day a week to move you just slightly one direction or the other based on how you feel and other symptoms. In my opinion then you should be tested again in 6–8 weeks. Then you can try every 3–6 months, and if you are very stable every 6 months to a year. They also should check your T3 and T4 free.

Anyway, how you feel has everything to do with where your hormone level is at, and for many people it takes 2–6 months to get it right, and some longer. It partly depends how high your TSH was to begin with, and how aggressive your doctor is with the starting doses.

Some people are not very symptimatic, so they don’t feel much different.

My TSH was very very high when I was diagnosed, around 95, and within a month of medication my heart rate was faster (which was good, it had been too slow) I felt like I could take in more oxygen, my blood pressure went back to normal, and a lot of my spacey feeling went away. But, feeling tired and needing more sleep took 3–4 months, until my TSH went down below 4.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, about generics. I am allergic to synthroid. I have been “stable” on generics. I am actually difficult to stablilize, but it has nothing to do with the dose in the pill being inconsistent or not. Adjusting my dose always has the same thing happen to my hormones. If the pill was inconsistent then taking the same dose over time would produce different reactions, but I always have the same reaction to dosage. I took Levoxin for a while, I didn’t like it, the pill fell apart too fast; and have taken Unithroid for years. I just switched to armour to give it a try. The thing about generic is you must make sure you get the same manufacturer every time, so you get their dosage from that manufacturer. Generics can vary up to 20% in dosage from the brand, that is a huge difference when it comes to thyroid hormone, so you can’t switch up brands, or even different generics without having to retest your blood in 6–8 weeks and see if you need to change your dose on the new generic.

I found this that basically restates what I have described above. Your script bottle should say the manufacturers name, and getting a 90 day supply can be an additional safeguard because it more likely all pills are from the same batch.

JLeslie's avatar

Sorry for multiple posts, but I think I was unclear about one thing. If you stay with the same generic and manufacturer, your medication should work just as wel as synthroid. You should not need any more testing than if you were on synthroid. Some doctors believe the dosage varies in the generics, even they don’t understand the problem with generics is not the particular pill, it is if the pharmacy swaps you out from one generic to another when you fill a new script or refill.

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serenade's avatar

@JLeslie, that’s the first reasonable straight answer I’ve ever heard beyond “because I said so.” Thank you.

JLeslie's avatar

You’re welcome.

robinalainap's avatar

Can I take energy pills with Levothyroxine?

YARNLADY's avatar

@robinalainap You need to check with your medical provider for the answer to that. It depends on the type of energy pill you are talking about, your general state of health, and various other factors only you provider can determine.

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