Medical Q&As

Eltroxin - is it safe?

I have been taking a hormone tablet called Eltroxin for hypothyroidism. Can you tell me if there are any risks with regard to this, especially in light of the recent HRT findings?

Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is not producing sufficient amounts of thyroxine or thyroid hormone. Eltroxin is the commercial brand name for thyroxine that is produced by a particular pharmaceutical company and this drug is used as a hormone supplement if the thyroid gland is not producing sufficient amounts of thyroxine. In other words the Eltroxin you are currently receiving is simply replacing the thyroxine that you are lacking. Sometimes people may develop flushing, sweats or palpitations when taking this drug but these effects are usually related to taking too much thyroxine rather than being due to an intrinsic harmful side-effect. It is common practice to test a personís blood from time to time in order to ensure that they are receiving an adequate amount of thyroxine. If a person does not receive enough thyroxine they can gradually slide back into hypothyroidism whereas if too much is given a state akin to an over-active thyroid gland can be created. Your situation is quite different to the HRT study you refer to because you really do have to take thyroxine whereas for most women HRT is an optional treatment. If you were not to take thyroxine the health consequences for you could be serious. Thyroxine is essential to health because it controls our metabolism. Eltroxin is a very safe drug that has been available for many years and I would urge you to continue taking it. You can do so with complete confidence in its effectiveness and safety profile.