advice for patients with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism

Last reviewed 01/2020

The following advice should be given to the patients who are diagnosed recently with hypothyroidism:

  • inform that it will take at least a week after initiating therapy for the patient to start feeling better
  • there will be no noticeable effect if one dose is missed
  • take a double dose on the day after a missed tablet (except in active ischaemic heart disease and atrial fibrillation)
  • in patients who present with muscle weakness, stiffness, or cognitive defects that it may take up to six months to fully resolve the symptoms
  • Levothyroxine should be taken on an empty stomach to maximise absorption
  • treatment is life long and a yearly measurement of TSH level is necessary and the dose may be adjusted accordingly
  • in the UK, patients with hypothyroidism are eligible for a medical exemption certificate for prescription charges (1)