Levothyroxine Sodium (Page 3 of 7)

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Levothyroxine sodium tablets are contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)] .

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Cardiac Adverse Reactions in the Elderly and in Patients with Underlying Cardiovascular Disease

Over-treatment with levothyroxine may cause an increase in heart rate, cardiac wall thickness, and cardiac contractility and may precipitate angina or arrhythmias, particularly in patients with cardiovascular disease and in elderly patients. Initiate levothyroxine sodium tablets therapy in this population at lower doses than those recommended in younger individuals or in patients without cardiac disease [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), and Use in Specific Populations (8.5)] .

Monitor for cardiac arrhythmias during surgical procedures in patients with coronary artery disease receiving suppressive levothyroxine sodium tablets therapy. Monitor patients receiving concomitant levothyroxine sodium tablets and sympathomimetic agents for signs and symptoms of coronary insufficiency.

If cardiac symptoms develop or worsen, reduce the levothyroxine sodium tablets dose or withhold for one week and restart at a lower dose.

5.2 Myxedema Coma

Myxedema coma is a life-threatening emergency characterized by poor circulation and hypometabolism, and may result in unpredictable absorption of levothyroxine sodium from the gastrointestinal tract. Use of oral thyroid hormone drug products is not recommended to treat myxedema coma. Administer thyroid hormone products formulated for intravenous administration to treat myxedema coma.

5.3 Acute Adrenal Crisis in Patients with Concomitant Adrenal Insufficiency

Thyroid hormone increases metabolic clearance of glucocorticoids. Initiation of thyroid hormone therapy prior to initiating glucocorticoid therapy may precipitate an acute adrenal crisis in patients with adrenal insufficiency. Treat patients with adrenal insufficiency with replacement glucocorticoids prior to initiating treatment with levothyroxine sodium tablets [see Contraindications (4)].

5.4 Prevention of Hyperthyroidism or Incomplete Treatment of Hypothyroidism

Levothyroxine sodium tablets have a narrow therapeutic index. Over- or undertreatment with levothyroxine sodium tablets may have negative effects on growth and development, cardiovascular function, bone metabolism, reproductive function, cognitive function, emotional state, gastrointestinal function, and glucose and lipid metabolism. Titrate the dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets carefully and monitor response to titration to avoid these effects [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)] . Monitor for the presence of drug or food interactions when using levothyroxine sodium tablets and adjust the dose as necessary [see Drug Interactions (7.9) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)] .

5.5 Worsening of Diabetic Control

Addition of levothyroxine therapy in patients with diabetes mellitus may worsen glycemic control and result in increased antidiabetic agent or insulin requirements. Carefully monitor glycemic control after starting, changing, or discontinuing levothyroxine sodium tablets [see Drug Interactions (7.2)] .

5.6 Decreased Bone Mineral Density Associated with Thyroid Hormone Over-Replacement

Increased bone resorption and decreased bone mineral density may occur as a result of levothyroxine over-replacement, particularly in post-menopausal women. The increased bone resorption may be associated with increased serum levels and urinary excretion of calcium and phosphorous, elevations in bone alkaline phosphatase, and suppressed serum parathyroid hormone levels. Administer the minimum dose of levothyroxine sodium tablets that achieves the desired clinical and biochemical response to mitigate this risk.

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

Adverse reactions associated with levothyroxine sodium tablets therapy are primarily those of hyperthyroidism due to therapeutic overdosage [see Warnings and Precautions (5) , and Overdosage (10)] . They include the following:

  • General: fatigue, increased appetite, weight loss, heat intolerance, fever, excessive sweating
  • Central nervous system: headache, hyperactivity, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, emotional lability, insomnia
  • Musculoskeletal: tremors, muscle weakness, muscle spasm
  • Cardiovascular: palpitations, tachycardia, arrhythmias, increased pulse and blood pressure, heart failure, angina, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory: dyspnea
  • Gastrointestinal: diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevations in liver function tests
  • Dermatologic: hair loss, flushing, rash
  • Endocrine: decreased bone mineral density
  • Reproductive: menstrual irregularities, impaired fertility

Seizures have been reported rarely with the institution of levothyroxine therapy.

Adverse Reactions in Children: Pseudotumor cerebri and slipped capital femoral epiphysis have been reported in children receiving levothyroxine therapy. Overtreatment may result in craniosynostosis in infants and premature closure of the epiphyses in children with resultant compromised adult height.

Hypersensitivity Reactions: Hypersensitivity reactions to inactive ingredients have occurred in patients treated with thyroid hormone products. These include urticaria, pruritus, skin rash, flushing, angioedema, various gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), fever, arthralgia, serum sickness, and wheezing. Hypersensitivity to levothyroxine itself is not known to occur.

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

7.1 Drugs Known to Affect Thyroid Hormone Pharmacokinetics

Many drugs can exert effects on thyroid hormone pharmacokinetics and metabolism (e.g., absorption, synthesis, secretion, catabolism, protein binding, and target tissue response) and may alter the therapeutic response to levothyroxine sodium tablets (see Tables 2-5 below).

Table 2. Drugs That May Decrease T4 Absorption (Hypothyroidism)

Potential impact: Concurrent use may reduce the efficacy of levothyroxine sodium tablets by binding and delaying or preventing absorption, potentially resulting in hypothyroidism.

Drug or Drug Class

Effect

Calcium Carbonate

Ferrous Sulfate

Calcium carbonate may form an insoluble chelate with levothyroxine, and ferrous sulfate likely forms a ferric-thyroxine complex. Administer levothyroxine sodium tablets at least 4 hours apart from these agents.

Orlistat

Monitor patients treated concomitantly with orlistat and levothyroxine sodium tablets for changes in thyroid function.

Bile Acid Sequestrants

- Colesevelam

- Cholestyramine

- Colestipol

Ion Exchange Resins

- Kayexalate

- Sevelamer

Bile acid sequestrants and ion exchange resins are known to decrease levothyroxine absorption. Administer levothyroxine sodium tablets at least 4 hours prior to these drugs or monitor TSH levels.

Other Drugs:

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Sucralfate

Antacids

- Aluminum & Magnesium Hydroxides

- Simethicone

Gastric acidity is an essential requirement for adequate absorption of levothyroxine. Sucralfate, antacids and proton pump inhibitors may cause hypochlorhydria, affect intragastric pH, and reduce levothyroxine absorption. Monitor patients appropriately.

Table 3. Drugs That May Alter T4 and Triiodothyronine (T3) Serum Transport Without Affecting Free Thyroxine (FT4) Concentration (Euthyroidism)

Drug or Drug Class

Effect

Clofibrate

Estrogen-containing oral contraceptives

Estrogens (oral)

Heroin / Methadone

5-Fluorouracil

Mitotane

Tamoxifen

These drugs may increase serum thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) concentration.

Androgens / Anabolic Steroids

Asparaginase

Glucocorticoids

Slow-Release Nicotinic Acid

These drugs may decrease serum TBG concentration.

Potential impact (below): Administration of these agents with levothyroxine sodium tablets results in an initial transient increase in FT4. Continued administration results in a decrease in serum T4 and normal FT4 and TSH concentrations.

Salicylates (> 2 g/day)

Salicylates inhibit binding of T4 and T3 to TBG and transthyretin. An initial increase in serum FT4 is followed by return of FT4 to normal levels with sustained therapeutic serum salicylate concentrations, although total T4 levels may decrease by as much as 30%.

Other drugs:

Carbamazepine Furosemide (> 80 mg IV) Heparin

Hydantoins

Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

- Fenamates

These drugs may cause protein-binding site displacement. Furosemide has been shown to inhibit the protein binding of T4 to TBG and albumin, causing an increase free T4 fraction in serum. Furosemide competes for T4-binding sites on TBG, prealbumin, and albumin, so that a single high dose can acutely lower the total T4 level. Phenytoin and carbamazepine reduce serum protein binding of levothyroxine, and total and free T4 may be reduced by 20% to 40%, but most patients have normal serum TSH levels and are clinically euthyroid. Closely monitor thyroid hormone parameters.

Table 4. Drugs That May Alter Hepatic Metabolism of T4 (Hypothyroidism)

Potential impact: Stimulation of hepatic microsomal drug-metabolizing enzyme activity may cause increased hepatic degradation of levothyroxine, resulting in increased levothyroxine sodium tablets requirements.

Drug or Drug Class

Effect

Phenobarbital

Rifampin

Phenobarbital has been shown to reduce the response to thyroxine. Phenobarbital increases L-thyroxine metabolism by inducing uridine 5’-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) and leads to a lower T4 serum levels. Changes in thyroid status may occur if barbiturates are added or withdrawn from patients being treated for hypothyroidism. Rifampin has been shown to accelerate the metabolism of levothyroxine.

Table 5. Drugs That May Decrease Conversion of T4 to T3

Potential impact: Administration of these enzyme inhibitors decreases the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3, leading to decreased T3 levels. However, serum T4 levels are usually normal but may occasionally be slightly increased.

Drug or Drug Class

Effect

Beta-adrenergic antagonists

(e.g., Propranolol > 160 mg/day)

In patients treated with large doses of propranolol (> 160 mg/day), T3 and T4 levels change, TSH levels remain normal, and patients are clinically euthyroid. Actions of particular beta-adrenergic antagonists may be impaired when a hypothyroid patient is converted to the euthyroid state.

Glucocorticoids

(e.g., Dexamethasone ≥ 4 mg/day)

Short-term administration of large doses of glucocorticoids may decrease serum T3 concentrations by 30% with minimal change in serum T4 levels. However, long-term glucocorticoid therapy may result in slightly decreased T3 and T4 levels due to decreased TBG production (See above).

Other drugs:

Amiodarone

Amiodarone inhibits peripheral conversion of levothyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) and may cause isolated biochemical changes (increase in serum free-T4, and decreased or normal free-T3) in clinically euthyroid patients.

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