Levothyroxine and weight loss are indeed correlated in that a common adverse effect of this drug is loss of appetite and weight. This medication is a synthetic of the hormone it strives to mimic — thyroxine. It is primarily used in the treatment of numerous thyroid conditions.
Of all conditions related to the thyroid, hypothyroidism is the most common ailment in which levothyroxine is prescribed. The prefix hypo generally means under or less, which translates hypothyroidism into not enough thyroid action. Specifically, this condition describes the inability of the thyroid to produce enough thyroid hormones. Levothyroxine, by simulating thyroxine, acts to fill the void of insufficient production.
The effects of hypothyroidism are broad and varied, ranging from insignificant to life threatening depending on the severity of diagnosis. Among the symptoms are fatigue, depression, and weight gain. Also often present in later stages are slowed speech, goiters, and abnormal menstrual cycles in females.
Levothyroxine and weight loss are directly related, meaning that, the higher the dose prescribed or administered, the more significant the weight loss effects. Weight loss is only one of the multitude of possible adverse effects surrounding levothyroxine use. Other such effects include abdominal pain, palpitations, and insomnia. Also common are agitation and mood swings, nausea, and appetite swings.
Appetite swings are both a cause and effect of levothyroxine and weight loss. Some argue that a decreased appetite may cause the weight loss, whereas other evidence supports theories that the weight loss caused by this synthetic hormone in turn causes a counteracting increase in appetite as the body attempts to sustain sufficient weight. Although both increased and decreased appetite are reported with the use of this drug, levothyroxine and weight loss are more strongly correlated than levothyroxine and weight gain.
Those experiencing any of the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism should consult with a medical professional to discuss this potential disorder. Hypothyroidism can dramatically affect a person's mental and physical health, often decreasing quality of life and impairing lifestyles. A physician or health care provider may run a variety of tests, including hormonal measurements to better determine if a person is suffering from a thyroid disorder.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment options may be weighed out and implemented. Before agreeing to any particular method of treatment, it is necessary to consider both benefits and risks of the proposed treatment. If one is willing to risk the potential for adverse effects in treating a thyroid disorder, then perhaps a prescription drug such as levothyroxine is a valid option.