Thyroid medication side effects will depend on the condition being treated, but they most commonly include rapid heart rate, palpitations, dizziness, intolerance to the cold or heat, hair loss, and weight changes. These issues can either mean that the medication dosage is too high or too low. In most cases, these problems can be corrected by changing the dosage until thyroid function is normal and symptoms have subsided.
There are two main issues associated with the thyroid gland. The first is hypothyroidism, which means that the thyroid is not producing enough hormones and is performing slowly or sluggishly. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite problem, meaning the thyroid produces too many hormones and is considered hyperactive. Both can have severe effects on the body, because the thyroid helps to regulate the hormonal balance of various systems and organs.
Thyroid medication side effects can include symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as weight loss or feelings of being hot, when it speeds up thyroid function too much or too rapidly. Most of the time this only requires the patient switch to a lower dosage. Other times, medication dosage may need to be increased if symptoms of a sluggish thyroid persist.
The same can happen with hyperthyroid medications. Sometimes the thyroid becomes too sluggish or slow and patients can put on weight and experience fatigue and intolerance to cold. Correcting the dosage may work for most thyroid medication side effects, but sometimes an entirely new medication may be needed. Some patients may need to try several options before the best one is found.
If thyroid medication side effects do not subside even with proper dosage adjustments, another condition may be to blame. Patients should seek the advice of a medical professional if side effects are prolonged, do not change even with treatment, or worsen over time. There are a wide variety of conditions which may cause symptoms similar to common thyroid medication side effects.
Most medications have to be taken for several weeks before they take full effect, so an immediate cessation of symptoms should not be expected. Symptoms of the thyroid condition may continue for several days or weeks but should slowly subside or lessen over time. Most patients tolerate thyroid medications fairly well, and some side effects may not require dosage alterations since their body often adjusts to the medication and symptoms subside on their own. Routine testing is necessary to ensure proper thyroid function during treatment.