How long after taking thyroid medication can I eat?

In this article we are going to answer how long after taking thyroid medication can I eat, what is the most common thyroid medication, why you need levothyroxine, when is the best time of the day to take thyroid medication, and what to avoid when taking thyroid medication. 

How long after taking thyroid medication can I eat?

When you are taking thyroid medication you need to wait about 45 to 60 minutes after taking it before you eat. If you take the thyroid medication with food or don’t wait enough after taking the medication to eat it won’t be absorbed correctly. 

The general recommendation for people on thyroid medication treatment is to take the medication first thing in the morning. If you are taking thyroid medication at night it is recommended to not eat anything 4 hours before taking the medication. 

What is the most common thyroid medication?

The most common type of thyroid medication used is levothyroxine sold under different names or brands such as Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint, Unithroid, or Unithroid direct. Levothyroxine is a man-made hormone that substitutes the thyroid hormone known as thyroxine. 

Why do you need thyroid medication?

The most common medical condition why levothyroxine or thyroid medication is used is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland is underactive and you do not produce enough thyroid hormone. Undertreated hypothyroidism can have serious symptoms in the long run such as

  • Obesity
  • Joint Pain
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • General health problems 

Other signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, puffy face, hoarseness, muscle weakness, high blood cholesterol, thinning hair, depression, impaired memory, and an enlarged thyroid gland. 

Treatment includes taking thyroid medication based on age, health, thyroid hormone levels, and weight. About 4 to 6 weeks after taking medication you will have your thyroid hormone levels checked to verify if the dose you are taking is correct. 

When is the best time of the day to take thyroid medication?

The best time of the day to take thyroid medication is once you wake up on an empty stomach and it should be around the same time every day. You should avoid eating or drinking any type of food or drink 45 to 60 minutes after you take the medication. 

However, in a study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, 90 patients were compared with morning intake of levothyroxine vs levothyroxine taken at bedtime. The results show that levothyroxine taken at bedtime improved thyroid hormone levels. The general quality of life and plasma lipid levels showed no difference. 

Bottom line, according to the results, there is not enough evidence if it is best to take thyroid medication at bedtime but it should be considered by clinicians. 

What to avoid when taking thyroid medication?

Apart from taking thyroid medication on an empty stomach, you need to avoid certain medications and food. Some medications to avoid when taking thyroid medication include

  • Antacids
  • Calcium supplements
  • Cholesterol medication
  • Iron supplements 
  • Iodine supplements: if you are taking iodine supplements you must talk to your doctor because it can interfere with your thyroid function and thyroid medication. 

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, all these medications and supplements must be taken 4 hours apart from thyroid medication because they can interfere with the correct absorption of the medication. All other medications not mentioned above can be taken 45 minutes apart from thyroid medication. 

Food that must be eaten in small quantities and apart from thyroid medication include food high in calcium such as kale, milk, cheese, yogurt, and spinach. According to the Journal of Nutrition, food high in calcium and soy can impart thyroid hormone absorption. 

If you need more information about food and drug interaction of thyroid medication follow this link. 

Conclusion

This link answered how long after taking thyroid medication can I eat, what is the most common thyroid medication, why you need levothyroxine, when is the best time of the day to take thyroid medication, and what to avoid when taking thyroid medication. 

Citation

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/avoid-hypothyroidism-medication-mistakes/#:~:text=Taking%20Your%20Thyroid%20Medication%20With,first%20thing%20in%20the%20morning.

https://www.uclahealth.org/medical-services/surgery/endocrine-surgery/conditions-treated/thyroid/how-should-i-take-thyroid-hormone

​​https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/776486

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