PrescriptionGiant is a FREE prescription savings program that can save you up to 75% on your prescriptions with or without insurance!

Thyroid Extract (Generic Thyroid)

Actual product appearance may differ slightly.

Click the CARD below to print or take a screenshot on your mobile phone or tablet. There is no need to download another app!

If you would like to personalize your card enter your full name in the member name field below the card at this link and click the Update button.


It’s used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.

While thyroid extract can be effective for some individuals, it carries certain risks:

  • Inconsistent Dosage: The potency of thyroid extract can vary between batches and manufacturers, making it difficult to maintain a consistent dosage.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to components of thyroid extract, leading to adverse reactions such as rashes, itching, or swelling.
  • Overdose: Taking too much thyroid extract can lead to hyperthyroidism, causing symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, and weight loss.
  • Interference with Medications: Thyroid extract can interact with other medications, particularly those for blood thinning or heart conditions, potentially leading to adverse effects or reduced efficacy of either medication.
  • Inconsistent Hormone Levels: Unlike synthetic thyroid hormones, which provide a consistent dosage, thyroid extract contains a mix of hormones and may not adequately regulate thyroid levels in some individuals.
  • Long-term Effects: Prolonged use of thyroid extract may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis or heart rhythm abnormalities.

Due to these risks, many healthcare providers prefer prescribing synthetic thyroid hormone replacements like levothyroxine, which offer more precise dosing and are generally well-tolerated. However, some individuals may still prefer or respond better to thyroid extract, and it can be a viable option under close medical supervision. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting or changing any thyroid medication regimen.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Thyroid extract, also known as desiccated thyroid or thyroid hormone replacement therapy, is typically prescribed to individuals with hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism, energy levels, body temperature, and heart rate.

Thyroid extract is prescribed to supplement the deficient thyroid hormone levels in individuals with hypothyroidism. It contains both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are the two main hormones produced by the thyroid gland. By providing these hormones, thyroid extract helps restore normal thyroid hormone levels in the body, thereby alleviating the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

How should this medicine be used?

Here are some general guidelines for how thyroid extract is typically used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of thyroid extract varies depending on factors such as the severity of hypothyroidism, age, weight, and individual response to the medication. Healthcare providers will determine the appropriate starting dose based on these factors and may adjust the dosage as needed through regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and symptoms.
  • Administration: Thyroid extract is usually taken orally, in the form of tablets or capsules. It’s typically taken once daily, preferably on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast. This allows for optimal absorption of the medication. However, specific instructions may vary, so it’s essential to follow the healthcare provider’s recommendations.
  • Consistency: To ensure consistent blood levels of thyroid hormones, it’s important to take thyroid extract at the same time each day. Missing doses or taking doses inconsistently can lead to fluctuations in hormone levels and may affect the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and symptoms is essential to assess the effectiveness of treatment and make any necessary adjustments to the dosage. Healthcare providers may recommend periodic blood tests to measure levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3).
  • Adverse Effects: While thyroid extract can be effective for some individuals, it may cause adverse effects or interactions with other medications. It’s important to report any unusual symptoms or side effects to a healthcare provider promptly. These may include symptoms of hyperthyroidism (e.g., rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness) or allergic reactions.
  • Long-Term Use: Thyroid extract is typically used as a long-term treatment for hypothyroidism. It’s important to continue taking the medication as prescribed, even if symptoms improve, unless otherwise instructed by a healthcare provider.
  • Consultation: Before starting or making any changes to thyroid extract treatment, individuals should consult with a healthcare professional. This ensures that the medication is being used safely and effectively and that any potential concerns or questions are addressed.

Overall, thyroid extract should be used under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare provider to ensure optimal management of hypothyroidism and minimize potential risks.

Other uses for this medicine

Some alternative uses or off-label applications have been explored in the past, though these are not widely accepted or recommended. Some of these potential alternative uses may include:

  • Thyroid Support: Some individuals may use thyroid extract as a dietary supplement for general thyroid support or to alleviate symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism. However, the efficacy and safety of using thyroid extract for this purpose are not well-established, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before using it in this manner.
  • Weight Loss: Due to its effects on metabolism, there have been anecdotal reports of using thyroid extract for weight loss. However, this is not a recommended or safe approach, as improper use of thyroid hormones can lead to serious health risks, including hyperthyroidism and heart problems.
  • Energy and Fatigue: Some individuals may use thyroid extract to boost energy levels or alleviate fatigue. However, these effects should be achieved through proper management of thyroid function under the supervision of a healthcare provider, as excessive thyroid hormone supplementation can lead to adverse effects.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding special precautions for using thyroid extract, individuals should follow these guidelines:

  • Medical History: Before starting thyroid extract treatment, inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have, especially heart disease, diabetes, or adrenal gland problems.
  • Medication Interactions: Thyroid extract can interact with other medications, including blood thinners, heart medications, and certain antidepressants. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your healthcare provider before using thyroid extract. Proper management of thyroid function is crucial during pregnancy and lactation, and adjustments to thyroid medication may be necessary.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and symptoms is essential to ensure that the medication is effectively managing hypothyroidism without causing adverse effects. Follow-up appointments and laboratory tests may be scheduled as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Adverse Reactions: Be aware of potential adverse reactions to thyroid extract, such as symptoms of hyperthyroidism (e.g., rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness) or allergic reactions. Report any unusual symptoms or side effects to your healthcare provider promptly.

By following these precautions and guidelines, individuals can safely and effectively use thyroid extract for the treatment of hypothyroidism under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding special dietary instructions:

  • Consistency: Try to take thyroid extract at the same time each day, preferably on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast. This helps ensure consistent absorption of the medication.
  • Avoid Certain Foods and Supplements: Some foods and supplements can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption or affect thyroid function. These include high-fiber foods, soy products, iron supplements, calcium supplements, and certain antacids. It’s best to take thyroid extract separately from these items, ideally a few hours apart, unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare provider.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget a dose of thyroid extract:

  • Take it as soon as you remember: If you realize you missed a dose and it’s not too close to your next scheduled dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do not double dose: Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects or complications.
  • Follow-up with your healthcare provider: If you frequently forget doses, or if you have concerns about missed doses affecting your treatment, discuss this with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on how to manage missed doses and may adjust your treatment plan if necessary.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Thyroid extract, like any medication, can potentially cause side effects. These side effects can vary from person to person and may depend on factors such as the individual’s dosage, sensitivity to the medication, and overall health status. Some common side effects of thyroid extract may include:

  • Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism: Taking too much thyroid extract can lead to symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including:
    • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
    • Palpitations
    • Sweating
    • Nervousness or anxiety
    • Weight loss
    • Tremors
    • Insomnia
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to components of thyroid extract, which can manifest as:
    • Skin rash or hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling, particularly of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Cardiovascular Effects: Thyroid extract can affect cardiovascular function and may lead to:
    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
    • Chest pain (angina)
    • Heart palpitations
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal side effects, such as:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle Weakness or Cramps: Thyroid extract can sometimes cause muscle weakness or cramps, particularly if the dosage is too high.
  • Headaches: Headaches are a possible side effect of thyroid extract, though they are less common.
  • Insomnia: Some individuals may experience difficulty sleeping or insomnia when taking thyroid extract, especially if the dosage is too high or if the medication is taken too close to bedtime.
  • Hair Loss: In some cases, thyroid extract may contribute to temporary hair loss or thinning, though this side effect is relatively rare.

It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and some individuals may tolerate thyroid extract well without any adverse reactions. However, if you experience any concerning or persistent side effects while taking thyroid extract, it’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider promptly. They can assess your symptoms and determine whether any adjustments to your treatment are necessary.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal of thyroid extract medication:

  • Storage:
    • Store thyroid extract at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.
    • Keep the medication in its original packaging or container to protect it from degradation.
    • Do not store thyroid extract in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink, where it may be exposed to moisture.
  • Disposal:
    • Dispose of expired or unused thyroid extract properly according to local regulations or guidelines.
    • Do not flush thyroid extract down the toilet or pour it down the drain unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
    • Consult with your pharmacist or local waste disposal authority for proper disposal methods, such as medication take-back programs or community drug disposal sites.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an emergency or suspected overdose of thyroid extract, seek immediate medical attention or contact your local poison control center.
  • Symptoms of thyroid extract overdose may include symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as rapid heartbeat, palpitations, sweating, nervousness, or tremors.
  • It’s essential to inform healthcare providers of the exact dosage of thyroid extract taken and any other medications or supplements being used.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow all instructions provided by your healthcare provider and pharmacist regarding the use of thyroid extract.
  • Attend regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider for monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and overall treatment effectiveness.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any changes in your medical condition, medications, or symptoms.
  • Be aware of potential interactions between thyroid extract and other medications, supplements, or herbal products, and consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
  • Do not adjust your dosage of thyroid extract without consulting your healthcare provider, as changes in dosage should be made based on careful monitoring and evaluation of thyroid function.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about the proper use, storage, disposal, and potential risks associated with thyroid extract, you can ensure safe and effective treatment for hypothyroidism under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Copyright © 2023