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Description of L-Triiodothyronine

Brand Name(s): Cytomel, L-Triiodothyronine

Generic Name Liothyronine

What are liothyronine tablets?

LIOTHYRONINE (Cytomel®) is for people whose thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Replacing thyroid hormone can improve symptoms of thyroid deficiency such as slow speech, lack of energy, weight gain, hair loss, dry thick skin and unusual sensitivity to cold. Liothyronine also helps to treat a condition called goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland. Liothyronine tablets may also be used as a diagnostic agent. Generic liothyronine tablets are not available.

Liothyronine injection (Triostat®) is used for the treatment of myxedema coma or precoma, a serious form of thyroid hormone deficiency. The injection is not normally used in an outpatient setting. Generic liothyronine injection is not available.

What should my health care professional know before I take liothyronine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • angina
  • diabetes mellitus or insipidus
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • low levels of pituitary hormone
  • dieting or on a weight loss program
  • previous heart attack
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to liothyronine, other thyroid hormones, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

How should I take this medicine?

Take liothyronine tablets tablets by mouth 30—60 minutes before a meal (on an empty stomach) with a full glass of water. The doses should be taken at regular intervals as indicated on the medication label. Do not take your medication more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with liothyronine?

  • amiodarone
  • antacids
  • calcium supplements, like Tums® and many others
  • carbamazepine
  • cholestyramine
  • colestipol
  • digoxin
  • female hormones, including contraceptive or birth control pills
  • ketamine
  • medicines for colds and breathing difficulties
  • medicines for diabetes
  • medicines for mental depression
  • medicines or herbals used to decrease weight or appetite
  • phenobarbital or other barbiturate medications
  • phenytoin
  • prednisone or other corticosteroids
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • soy isoflavones
  • sucralfate
  • theophylline
  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking liothyronine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • difficulty breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • excessive sweating or intolerance to heat
  • fast or irregular heartbeat or pulse rate
  • nervousness
  • skin rash or hives
  • swelling of ankles, feet or legs

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • changes in appetite
  • changes in menstrual periods
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • irritability
  • leg cramps
  • nausea, vomiting
  • tremors
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss

What should I watch for while taking liothyronine?

If you are taking liothyronine for an underactive thyroid, it may be several weeks before you notice an improvement. Check with your prescriber or health care professional if your symptoms do not improve or if you develop any of the above side effects. It may be necessary for you to take this medicine for the rest of your life; do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

Thyroid hormones can affect blood sugar levels. If you also have diabetes, you may need to adjust the dose of your diabetic medicine once you are stabilized on liothyronine. Careful monitoring of blood glucose is often necessary.

You may lose some hair during the first few months while using liothyronine. With time, this usually corrects itself.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking liothyronine.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store tablets at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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