Generic Name: LEVOTHYROXINE SODIUM
Brand Name: Synthroid
- Substance Name(s):
Boxed Warning WARNING: Thyroid hormones, including SYNTHROID, either alone or with other therapeutic agents, should not be used for the treatment of obesity or for weight loss. In euthyroid patients, doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are ineffective for weight reduction. Larger doses may produce serious or even life threatening manifestations of toxicity, particularly when given in association with sympathomimetic amines such as those used for their anorectic effects. Levothyroxine sodium should not be used in the treatment of male or female infertility unless this condition is associated with hypothyroidism. In patients with nontoxic diffuse goiter or nodular thyroid disease, particularly the elderly or those with underlying cardiovascular disease, levothyroxine sodium therapy is contraindicated if the serum TSH level is already suppressed due to the risk of precipitating overt thyrotoxicosis (see CONTRAINDICATIONS ). If the serum TSH level is not suppressed, SYNTHROID should be used with caution in conjunction with careful monitoring of thyroid function for evidence of hyperthyroidism and clinical monitoring for potential associated adverse cardiovascular signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Drug Interactions Many drugs affect thyroid hormone pharmacokinetics and metabolism (e.g., absorption, synthesis, secretion, catabolism, protein binding, and target tissue response) and may alter the therapeutic response to SYNTHROID. In addition, thyroid hormones and thyroid status have varied effects on the pharmacokinetics and actions of other drugs. A listing of drug-thyroidal axis interactions is contained in Table 2. The list of drug-thyroidal axis interactions in Table 2 may not be comprehensive due to the introduction of new drugs that interact with the thyroidal axis or the discovery of previously unknown interactions. The prescriber should be aware of this fact and should consult appropriate reference sources (e.g., package inserts of newly approved drugs, medical literature) for additional information if a drug-drug interaction with levothyroxine is suspected. Table 2. Drug-Thyroidal Axis Interactions Drug or Drug Class Effect Drugs that may reduce TSH secretion – the reduction is not sustained; therefore, hypothyroidism does not occur Dopamine/Dopamine Agonists Glucocorticoids Octreotide Use of these agents may result in a transient reduction in TSH secretion when administered at the following doses: Dopamine (≥ 1 mcg/kg/min); Glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone ≥ 100 mg/day or equivalent); Octreotide (> 100 mcg/day). Drugs that alter thyroid hormone secretion Drugs that may decrease thyroid hormone secretion, which may result in hypothyroidism Aminoglutethimide Amiodarone Iodide (including iodine-containing radiographic contrast agents) Lithium Methimazole Propylthiouracil (PTU) Sulfonamides Tolbutamide Long-term lithium therapy can result in goiter in up to 50% of patients, and either subclinical or overt hypothyroidism, each in up to 20% of patients. The fetus, neonate, elderly and euthyroid patients with underlying thyroid disease (e.g., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or with Grave’s disease previously treated with radioiodine or surgery) are among those individuals who are particularly susceptible to iodine-induced hypothyroidism. Oral cholecystographic agents and amiodarone are slowly excreted, producing more prolonged hypothyroidism than parenterally administered iodinated contrast agents. Long-term aminoglutethimide therapy may minimally decrease T4 and T3 levels and increase TSH, although all values remain within normal limits in most patients. Drugs that may increase thyroid hormone secretion, which may result in hyperthyroidism Amiodarone Iodide (including iodine-containing radiographic contrast agents) Iodide and drugs that contain pharmacologic amounts of iodide may cause hyperthyroidism in euthyroid patients with Grave’s disease previously treated with antithyroid drugs or in euthyroid patients with thyroid autonomy (e.g., multinodular goiter or hyperfunctioning thyroid adenoma). Hyperthyroidism may develop over several weeks and may persist for several months after therapy discontinuation. Amiodarone may induce hyperthyroidism by causing thyroiditis. Drugs that may decrease T4 absorption, which may result in hypothyroidism Antacids – Aluminum & Magnesium Hydroxides – Simethicone Bile Acid Sequestrants – Cholestyramine – Colestipol Calcium Carbonate Cation Exchange Resins – Kayexalate Ferrous Sulfate Orlistat Sucralfate Concurrent use may reduce the efficacy of levothyroxine by binding and delaying or preventing absorption, potentially resulting in hypothyroidism. Calcium carbonate may form an insoluble chelate with levothyroxine, and ferrous sulfate likely forms a ferric-thyroxine complex. Administer levothyroxine at least 4 hours apart from these agents. Patients treated concomitantly with orlistat and levothyroxine should be monitored for changes in thyroid function. Drugs that may alter T4 and T3 serum transport – but FT4 concentration remains normal; and therefore, the patient remains euthyroid Drugs that may increase serum TBG concentration Drugs that may decrease serum TBG concentration Clofibrate Estrogen-containing oral contraceptives Estrogens (oral) Heroin / Methadone 5-Fluorouracil Mitotane Tamoxifen Androgens / Anabolic Steroids Asparaginase Glucocorticoids Slow-Release Nicotinic Acid Drugs that may cause protein-binding site displacement Furosemide (> 80 mg IV) Heparin Hydantoins Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – Fenamates – Phenylbutazone Salicylates (> 2 g/day) Administration of these agents with levothyroxine results in an initial transient increase in FT4. Continued administration results in a decrease in serum T4 and normal FT4 and TSH concentrations and, therefore, patients are clinically euthyroid. 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%. Drugs that may alter T4 and T3 metabolism Drugs that may increase hepatic metabolism, which may result in hypothyroidism Carbamazepine Hydantoins Phenobarbital Rifampin Stimulation of hepatic microsomal drug-metabolizing enzyme activity may cause increased hepatic degradation of levothyroxine, resulting in increased levothyroxine requirements. 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. Drugs that may decrease T4 5′-deiodinase activity Amiodarone Beta-adrenergic antagonists – (e.g., Propranolol > 160 mg/day) Glucocorticoids – (e.g., Dexamethasone ≥ 4 mg/day) Propylthiouracil (PTU) 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. In patients treated with large doses of propranolol (> 160 mg/day), T3 and T4 levels change slightly, TSH levels remain normal, and patients are clinically euthyroid. It should be noted that actions of particular beta-adrenergic antagonists may be impaired when the hypothyroid patient is converted to the euthyroid state. 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). Miscellaneous Anticoagulants (oral) – Coumarin Derivatives – Indandione Derivatives Thyroid hormones appear to increase the catabolism of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors, thereby increasing the anticoagulant activity of oral anticoagulants. Concomitant use of these agents impairs the compensatory increases in clotting factor synthesis. Prothrombin time should be carefully monitored in patients taking levothyroxine and oral anticoagulants and the dose of anticoagulant therapy adjusted accordingly. Antidepressants – Tricyclics (e.g., Amitriptyline) – Tetracyclics (e.g., Maprotiline) – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., Sertraline) Concurrent use of tri/tetracyclic antidepressants and levothyroxine may increase the therapeutic and toxic effects of both drugs, possibly due to increased receptor sensitivity to catecholamines. Toxic effects may include increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and CNS stimulation; onset of action of tricyclics may be accelerated. Administration of sertraline in patients stabilized on levothyroxine may result in increased levothyroxine requirements. Antidiabetic Agents – Biguanides – Meglitinides – Sulfonylureas – Thiazolidinediones – Insulin Addition of levothyroxine to antidiabetic or insulin therapy may result in increased antidiabetic agent or insulin requirements. Careful monitoring of diabetic control is recommended, especially when thyroid therapy is started, changed, or discontinued. Cardiac Glycosides Serum digitalis glycoside levels may be reduced in hyperthyroidism or when the hypothyroid patient is converted to the euthyroid state. Therapeutic effect of digitalis glycosides may be reduced. Cytokines – Interferon-α – Interleukin-2 Therapy with interferon-α has been associated with the development of antithyroid microsomal antibodies in 20% of patients and some have transient hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or both. Patients who have antithyroid antibodies before treatment are at higher risk for thyroid dysfunction during treatment. Interleukin-2 has been associated with transient painless thyroiditis in 20% of patients. Interferon-β and -γ have not been reported to cause thyroid dysfunction. Growth Hormones – Somatrem – Somatropin Excessive use of thyroid hormones with growth hormones may accelerate epiphyseal closure. However, untreated hypothyroidism may interfere with growth response to growth hormone. Ketamine Concurrent use may produce marked hypertension and tachycardia; cautious administration to patients receiving thyroid hormone therapy is recommended. Methylxanthine Bronchodilators – (e.g., Theophylline) Decreased theophylline clearance may occur in hypothyroid patients; clearance returns to normal when the euthyroid state is achieved. Radiographic Agents Thyroid hormones may reduce the uptake of 123I, 131I, and 99mTc. Sympathomimetics Concurrent use may increase the effects of sympathomimetics or thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones may increase the risk of coronary insufficiency when sympathomimetic agents are administered to patients with coronary artery disease. Chloral Hydrate Diazepam Ethionamide Lovastatin Metoclopramide 6-Mercaptopurine Nitroprusside Para-aminosalicylate sodium Perphenazine Resorcinol (excessive topical use) Thiazide Diuretics These agents have been associated with thyroid hormone and/or TSH level alterations by various mechanisms. Oral anticoagulants Levothyroxine increases the response to oral anticoagulant therapy. Therefore, a decrease in the dose of anticoagulant may be warranted with correction of the hypothyroid state or when the SYNTHROID dose is increased. Prothrombin time should be closely monitored to permit appropriate and timely dosage adjustments (see Table 2 ). Digitalis glycosides The therapeutic effects of digitalis glycosides may be reduced by levothyroxine. Serum digitalis glycoside levels may be decreased when a hypothyroid patient becomes euthyroid, necessitating an increase in the dose of digitalis glycosides (see Table 2 ).
Overdosage The signs and symptoms of overdosage are those of hyperthyroidism (see PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS ). In addition, confusion and disorientation may occur. Cerebral embolism, shock, coma, and death have been reported. Seizures have occurred in a child ingesting 18 mg of levothyroxine. Symptoms may not necessarily be evident or may not appear until several days after ingestion of levothyroxine sodium. Treatment of Overdosage Levothyroxine sodium should be reduced in dose or temporarily discontinued if signs or symptoms of overdosage occur. Acute Massive Overdosage This may be a life-threatening emergency, therefore, symptomatic and supportive therapy should be instituted immediately. If not contraindicated (e.g., by seizures, coma, or loss of the gag reflex), the stomach should be emptied by emesis or gastric lavage to decrease gastrointestinal absorption. Activated charcoal or cholestyramine may also be used to decrease absorption. Central and peripheral increased sympathetic activity may be treated by administering β-receptor antagonists, e.g., propranolol, provided there are no medical contraindications to their use. Provide respiratory support as needed; control congestive heart failure and arrhythmia; control fever, hypoglycemia, and fluid loss as necessary. Large doses of antithyroid drugs (e.g., methimazole or propylthiouracil) followed in one to two hours by large doses of iodine may be given to inhibit synthesis and release of thyroid hormones. Glucocorticoids may be given to inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3. Plasmapheresis, charcoal hemoperfusion and exchange transfusion have been reserved for cases in which continued clinical deterioration occurs despite conventional therapy. Because T4 is highly protein bound, very little drug will be removed by dialysis.
SYNTHROID (levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP) contain synthetic crystalline L-3,3′,5,5′-tetraiodothyronine sodium salt [levothyroxine (T4) sodium]. Synthetic T4 is identical to that produced in the human thyroid gland. Levothyroxine (T4) sodium has an empirical formula of C15H10I4N NaO4 • H2O, molecular weight of 798.86 g/mol (anhydrous), and structural formula as shown: Inactive Ingredients Acacia, confectioner’s sugar (contains corn starch), lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, povidone, and talc. The following are the color additives by tablet strength: Strength (mcg) Color additive(s) 25 FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake* 50 None 75 FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake 88 FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*, D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake 100 D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake* 112 D&C Red No. 27 & 30 Aluminum Lake 125 FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*, FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake 137 FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake 150 FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake 175 FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake, D&C Red No. 27 & 30 Aluminum Lake 200 FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake 300 D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake *Note – FD&C Yellow No. 6 is orange in color. Meets USP Dissolution Test 3 Chemical structure for Levothyroxine.
SYNTHROID (levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP) are round, color coded, scored and debossed with “SYNTHROID” on one side and potency on the other side. They are supplied as follows: Strength (mcg) Color NDC# for bottles of 90 NDC # for bottles of 100 NDC # for bottles of 1000 NDC # for unit dose cartons of 100 25 orange 0074-4341-90 0074-4341-13 0074-4341-19 — 50 white 0074-4552-90 0074-4552-13 0074-4552-19 0074-4552-11 75 violet 0074-5182-90 0074-5182-13 0074-5182-19 0074-5182-11 88 olive 0074-6594-90 0074-6594-13 0074-6594-19 — 100 yellow 0074-6624-90 0074-6624-13 0074-6624-19 0074-6624-11 112 rose 0074-9296-90 0074-9296-13 0074-9296-19 — 125 brown 0074-7068-90 0074-7068-13 0074-7068-19 0074-7068-11 137 turquoise 0074-3727-90 0074-3727-13 0074-3727-19 — 150 blue 0074-7069-90 0074-7069-13 0074-7069-19 0074-7069-11 175 lilac 0074-7070-90 0074-7070-13 0074-7070-19 — 200 pink 0074-7148-90 0074-7148-13 0074-7148-19 0074-7148-11 300 green 0074-7149-90 0074-7149-13 0074-7149-19 — Storage Conditions Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°-30°C (59°-86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. SYNTHROID tablets should be protected from light and moisture. Abbott Laboratories North Chicago, IL 60064, U.S.A. And Relabeled By: Dispensing Solutions Inc. 3000 West Warner Ave Santa Ana, CA 92704 United States
Geriatric Use Because of the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease among the elderly, levothyroxine therapy should not be initiated at the full replacement dose (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS , and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ).
INDICATIONS AND USAGE
Levothyroxine sodium is used for the following indications: Hypothyroidism As replacement or supplemental therapy in congenital or acquired hypothyroidism of any etiology, except transient hypothyroidism during the recovery phase of subacute thyroiditis. Specific indications include: primary (thyroidal), secondary (pituitary), and tertiary (hypothalamic) hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism. Primary hypothyroidism may result from functional deficiency, primary atrophy, partial or total congenital absence of the thyroid gland, or from the effects of surgery, radiation, or drugs, with or without the presence of goiter. Pituitary TSH Suppression In the treatment or prevention of various types of euthyroid goiters (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS ), including thyroid nodules (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS ), subacute or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), multinodular goiter (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS ) and, as an adjunct to surgery and radioiodine therapy in the management of thyrotropin-dependent well-differentiated thyroid cancer.
Pediatric Use General The goal of treatment in pediatric patients with hypothyroidism is to achieve and maintain normal intellectual and physical growth and development. The initial dose of levothyroxine varies with age and body weight (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION – Table 3 ). Dosing adjustments are based on an assessment of the individual patient’s clinical and laboratory parameters (see PRECAUTIONS – Laboratory Tests ). In children in whom a diagnosis of permanent hypothyroidism has not been established, it is recommended that levothyroxine administration be discontinued for a 30-day trial period, but only after the child is at least 3 years of age. Serum T4 and TSH levels should then be obtained. If the T4 is low and the TSH high, the diagnosis of permanent hypothyroidism is established, and levothyroxine therapy should be reinstituted. If the T4 and TSH levels are normal, euthyroidism may be assumed and, therefore, the hypothyroidism can be considered to have been transient. In this instance, however, the physician should carefully monitor the child and repeat the thyroid function tests if any signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism develop. In this setting, the clinician should have a high index of suspicion of relapse. If the results of the levothyroxine withdrawal test are inconclusive, careful follow-up and subsequent testing will be necessary. Since some more severely affected children may become clinically hypothyroid when treatment is discontinued for 30 days, an alternate approach is to reduce the replacement dose of levothyroxine by half during the 30-day trial period. If, after 30 days, the serum TSH is elevated above 20 mU/L, the diagnosis of permanent hypothyroidism is confirmed, and full replacement therapy should be resumed. However, if the serum TSH has not risen to greater than 20 mU/L, levothyroxine treatment should be discontinued for another 30-day trial period followed by repeat serum T4 and TSH testing. The presence of concomitant medical conditions should be considered in certain clinical circumstances and, if present, appropriately treated (see PRECAUTIONS ). Congenital Hypothyroidism (see PRECAUTIONS – Laboratory Tests and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ) Rapid restoration of normal serum T4 concentrations is essential for preventing the adverse effects of congenital hypothyroidism on intellectual development as well as on overall physical growth and maturation. Therefore, SYNTHROID therapy should be initiated immediately upon diagnosis and is generally continued for life. During the first 2 weeks of SYNTHROID therapy, infants should be closely monitored for cardiac overload, arrhythmias, and aspiration from avid suckling. The patient should be monitored closely to avoid undertreatment or overtreatment. Undertreatment may have deleterious effects on intellectual development and linear growth. Overtreatment has been associated with craniosynostosis in infants, and may adversely affect the tempo of brain maturation and accelerate the bone age with resultant premature closure of the epiphyses and compromised adult stature. Acquired Hypothyroidism in Pediatric Patients The patient should be monitored closely to avoid undertreatment and overtreatment. Undertreatment may result in poor school performance due to impaired concentration and slowed mentation and in reduced adult height. Overtreatment may accelerate the bone age and result in premature epiphyseal closure and compromised adult stature. Treated children may manifest a period of catch-up growth, which may be adequate in some cases to normalize adult height. In children with severe or prolonged hypothyroidism, catch-up growth may not be adequate to normalize adult height.
Pregnancy Category A Studies in women taking levothyroxine sodium during pregnancy have not shown an increased risk of congenital abnormalities. Therefore, the possibility of fetal harm appears remote. SYNTHROID should not be discontinued during pregnancy and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy is associated with a higher rate of complications, including spontaneous abortion, pre-eclampsia, stillbirth and premature delivery. Maternal hypothyroidism may have an adverse effect on fetal and childhood growth and development. During pregnancy, serum T4 levels may decrease and serum TSH levels increase to values outside the normal range. Since elevations in serum TSH may occur as early as 4 weeks gestation, pregnant women taking SYNTHROID should have their TSH measured during each trimester. An elevated serum TSH level should be corrected by an increase in the dose of SYNTHROID. Since postpartum TSH levels are similar to preconception values, the SYNTHROID dosage should return to the pre-pregnancy dose immediately after delivery. A serum TSH level should be obtained 6-8 weeks postpartum. Thyroid hormones cross the placental barrier to some extent as evidenced by levels in cord blood of athyreotic fetuses being approximately one-third maternal levels. Transfer of thyroid hormone from the mother to the fetus, however, may not be adequate to prevent in utero hypothyroidism.
Nursing Mothers Although thyroid hormones are excreted only minimally in human milk, caution should be exercised when SYNTHROID is administered to a nursing woman. However, adequate replacement doses of levothyroxine are generally needed to maintain normal lactation.
Boxed Warning WARNING: Thyroid hormones, including SYNTHROID, either alone or with other therapeutic agents, should not be used for the treatment of obesity or for weight loss. In euthyroid patients, doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are ineffective for weight reduction. Larger doses may produce serious or even life threatening manifestations of toxicity, particularly when given in association with sympathomimetic amines such as those used for their anorectic effects.
INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
Information for Patients Patients should be informed of the following information to aid in the safe and effective use of SYNTHROID: Notify your physician if you are allergic to any foods or medicines, are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, are breast-feeding or are taking any other medications, including prescription and over-the-counter preparations. Notify your physician of any other medical conditions you may have, particularly heart disease, diabetes, clotting disorders, and adrenal or pituitary gland problems. Your dose of medications used to control these other conditions may need to be adjusted while you are taking SYNTHROID. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood and/or urinary glucose levels as directed by your physician and immediately report any changes to your physician. If you are taking anticoagulants (blood thinners), your clotting status should be checked frequently. Use SYNTHROID only as prescribed by your physician. Do not discontinue or change the amount you take or how often you take it, unless directed to do so by your physician. The levothyroxine in SYNTHROID is intended to replace a hormone that is normally produced by your thyroid gland. Generally, replacement therapy is to be taken for life, except in cases of transient hypothyroidism, which is usually associated with an inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis). Take SYNTHROID as a single dose, preferably on an empty stomach, one-half to one hour before breakfast. Levothyroxine absorption is increased on an empty stomach. It may take several weeks before you notice an improvement in your symptoms. Notify your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms: rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, leg cramps, headache, nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, tremors, change in appetite, weight gain or loss, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, fever, changes in menstrual periods, hives or skin rash, or any other unusual medical event. Notify your physician if you become pregnant while taking SYNTHROID. It is likely that your dose of SYNTHROID will need to be increased while you are pregnant. Notify your physician or dentist that you are taking SYNTHROID prior to any surgery. Partial hair loss may occur rarely during the first few months of SYNTHROID therapy, but this is usually temporary. SYNTHROID should not be used as a primary or adjunctive therapy in a weight control program. Keep SYNTHROID out of the reach of children. Store SYNTHROID away from heat, moisture, and light. Agents such as iron and calcium supplements and antacids can decrease the absorption of levothyroxine sodium tablets. Therefore, levothyroxine sodium tablets should not be administered within 4 hours of these agents.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
General Principles The goal of replacement therapy is to achieve and maintain a clinical and biochemical euthyroid state. The goal of suppressive therapy is to inhibit growth and/or function of abnormal thyroid tissue. The dose of SYNTHROID that is adequate to achieve these goals depends on a variety of factors including the patient’s age, body weight, cardiovascular status, concomitant medical conditions, including pregnancy, concomitant medications, and the specific nature of the condition being treated (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS ). Hence, the following recommendations serve only as dosing guidelines. Dosing must be individualized and adjustments made based on periodic assessment of the patient’s clinical response and laboratory parameters (see PRECAUTIONS – Laboratory Tests ). SYNTHROID is administered as a single daily dose, preferably one-half to one-hour before breakfast. SYNTHROID should be taken at least 4 hours apart from drugs that are known to interfere with its absorption (see PRECAUTIONS – Drug Interactions ). Due to the long half-life of levothyroxine, the peak therapeutic effect at a given dose of levothyroxine sodium may not be attained for 4-6 weeks. Caution should be exercised when administering SYNTHROID to patients with underlying cardiovascular disease, to the elderly, and to those with concomitant adrenal insufficiency (see PRECAUTIONS ). Specific Patient Populations Hypothyroidism in Adults and in Children in Whom Growth and Puberty are Complete (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS – Laboratory Tests ) Therapy may begin at full replacement doses in otherwise healthy individuals less than 50 years old and in those older than 50 years who have been recently treated for hyperthyroidism or who have been hypothyroid for only a short time (such as a few months). The average full replacement dose of levothyroxine sodium is approximately 1.7 mcg/kg/day (e.g., 100-125 mcg/day for a 70 kg adult). Older patients may require less than 1 mcg/kg/day. Levothyroxine sodium doses greater than 200 mcg/day are seldom required. An inadequate response to daily doses ≥ 300 mcg/day is rare and may indicate poor compliance, malabsorption, and/or drug interactions. For most patients older than 50 years or for patients under 50 years of age with underlying cardiac disease, an initial starting dose of 25-50 mcg/day of levothyroxine sodium is recommended, with gradual increments in dose at 6-8 week intervals, as needed. The recommended starting dose of levothyroxine sodium in elderly patients with cardiac disease is 12.5-25 mcg/day , with gradual dose increments at 4-6 week intervals. The levothyroxine sodium dose is generally adjusted in 12.5-25 mcg increments until the patient with primary hypothyroidism is clinically euthyroid and the serum TSH has normalized. In patients with severe hypothyroidism, the recommended initial levothyroxine sodium dose is 12.5-25 mcg/day with increases of 25 mcg/day every 2-4 weeks, accompanied by clinical and laboratory assessment, until the TSH level is normalized. In patients with secondary (pituitary) or tertiary (hypothalamic) hypothyroidism, the levothyroxine sodium dose should be titrated until the patient is clinically euthyroid and the serum free- T4 level is restored to the upper half of the normal range. Pediatric Dosage – Congenital or Acquired Hypothyroidism (see PRECAUTIONS – Laboratory Tests ) General Principles In general, levothyroxine therapy should be instituted at full replacement doses as soon as possible. Delays in diagnosis and institution of therapy may have deleterious effects on the child’s intellectual and physical growth and development. Undertreatment and overtreatment should be avoided (see PRECAUTIONS – Pediatric Use ). SYNTHROID may be administered to infants and children who cannot swallow intact tablets by crushing the tablet and suspending the freshly crushed tablet in a small amount (5-10 mL or 1-2 teaspoons) of water. This suspension can be administered by spoon or by dropper. DO NOT STORE THE SUSPENSION. Foods that decrease absorption of levothyroxine, such as soybean infant formula, should not be used for administering levothyroxine sodium tablets (see PRECAUTIONS – Drug-Food Interactions ). Newborns The recommended starting dose of levothyroxine sodium in newborn infants is 10-15 mcg/kg/day . A lower starting dose (e.g., 25 mcg/day) should be considered in infants at risk for cardiac failure, and the dose should be increased in 4-6 weeks as needed based on clinical and laboratory response to treatment. In infants with very low ( 12 years but growth and puberty incomplete 2-3 mcg/kg/day Growth and puberty complete 1.7 mcg/kg/day a The dose should be adjusted based on clinical response and laboratory parameters (see PRECAUTIONS – Laboratory Tests and Pediatric Use ). Pregnancy Pregnancy may increase levothyroxine requirements (see PREGNANCY ). Subclinical Hypothyroidism If this condition is treated, a lower levothyroxine sodium dose (e.g., 1 mcg/kg/day) than that used for full replacement may be adequate to normalize the serum TSH level. Patients who are not treated should be monitored yearly for changes in clinical status and thyroid laboratory parameters. TSH Suppression in Well-differentiated Thyroid Cancer and Thyroid Nodules The target level for TSH suppression in these conditions has not been established with controlled studies. In addition, the efficacy of TSH suppression for benign nodular disease is controversial. Therefore, the dose of SYNTHROID used for TSH suppression should be individualized based on the specific disease and the patient being treated. In the treatment of well-differentiated (papillary and follicular) thyroid cancer, levothyroxine is used as an adjunct to surgery and radioiodine therapy. Generally, TSH is suppressed to < 0.1 mU/L, and this usually requires a levothyroxine sodium dose of greater than 2 mcg/kg/day. However, in patients with high-risk tumors, the target level for TSH suppression may be < 0.01 mU/L. In the treatment of benign nodules and nontoxic multinodular goiter, TSH is generally suppressed to a higher target (e.g., 0.1 to either 0.5 or 1.0 mU/L) than that used for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Levothyroxine sodium is contraindicated if the serum TSH is already suppressed due to the risk of precipitating overt thyrotoxicosis (see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS ). 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. Therefore, oral thyroid hormone drug products are not recommended to treat this condition. Thyroid hormone products formulated for intravenous administration should be administered.