Why can`t Levothyroxine come in a patch?

I`m on Levothyroxine tablets at the moment, & I find it a pain having to wait up to 1 hour before I can have so much as a cup of coffee after taking the tablets. Eostrogen & heart medication can be taken in a skin patch, so why can`t thyroid meds be taken the same way?

13 Replies

  • I've wondered that, you know. I think that basically they don't really want us to be OK, because if they did, we would never have to take things like cholesterol and heart medication, or anti-depressants, or pain killers, or asthma medication. If you find it a pain to take them in the morning, then take them at night last thing.

    When your thyroid is working properly it produces thyroxine during the night and converts some to T3 so you are ready for action in the morning. Many find that taking the thyroxine at night makes it more effective, as the comments on this poll show:


    Despite this many still take their thyroxine in the morning, in many cases because that's what they have been told to do by the doctor and the patient leaflet. I suppose in the long-term it does not really matter so long as it works for the individual, but if morning is difficult, then why not try a change? It's not long before you get used to the change

  • Similar question here:




  • I am so pleased I read this, I've only just joined the group and am at that stage where I'm just getting used to following the posts and navigating to linked info.

    I was unaware that levothyroxine tablets could be taken at anytime other than morning before breakfast and thought I had to wait half an hour before fluid or food intake which has always posed a real problem for me due to the attention problems I have with ADHD and Aspergers. However, I was rushed into hospital last November with what turned out to be pneumonia and they gave me my pills often with or during breakfast sometimes even directly after so I assumed that I was being pedantic and couldn't remember where I had got the impression I had to wait. Since I came home I have done the same thing as hospital and had not made the link of my increasing symptoms with this possibility because there are.so many other things going on at the moment including taking stimulant medication for adult ADHD.

    I'm going to return to my previous regimen and see if it helps me become less symptomatic again and I'll ask if there is any reason I can't take them at night instead. I agree that it would be so much easier if it was delivered into the system by patch seems an obvious direction for companies to take to ease problems of sufferers but presumably it makes production far more expensive otherwise it would have already happened replacing tablets altogether, with or without our approval

    Thank you once again for providing this insight!

    Aurora x

  • This is an extract re food v levo and you can read the whole answer here:-


    January 30, 2002

    Question: I’m hypothyroid and take Armour Thyroid twice a day. My question is about the right time to take it in relation to when I eat. Should I take it two, three, or four hours after I eat? I've read all those times in different places. Thank you very much for your time—and your great website!

    Dr. Lowe: As a rule, our patients take thyroid hormone only once per day. An advantage of this one-per-day schedule is that it’s easier to find a window for good intestinal absorption—when the stomach or small intestine doesn’t contain food.

    Most of our patients wait at least one hour after taking thyroid hormone before they eat. Or they wait at least two hours after eating before they take thyroid hormone. The two hour wait is a rough estimate of the time it takes for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine. It’s worth noting, however, that several factors can increase the time a patient should wait before taking thyroid hormone.

  • I was taking levo at breakfast with breakfast for 32 years having never been told differently.

    I was OK most of the time for 20 years doing that. I have recently changed to taking it at night (when I joined here) but I cant say one way or another if it has made any difference as I have had so many other things going on as well. But for 20 years I was OK taking it in the morning!!!!


  • Hi Levo very cheap, patches cost more!


  • Possible that the molecules are too large to be absorbed through skin too

  • A consult consultant told me about a year ago that patches were in development/being trialled and he thought it could available in 5 years!

  • I am in Australia, and take Eutroxsig. On their instructions, it says to swallow tablets with a glass of water and "to take on an empty stomach, either one hour before food such as breakfast or three hours after any food". I always have my cup of tea after taking the tablets, and have done for over 20 years! So, my answer would be for you to enjoy your coffee!

  • I think you can take it sublingually (ie just put it under your tongue and let it dissolve). The Stop The Thyroid Madness website suggests that for T3 and natural desiccated thyroid, so I don't see why it wouldn't work for thyroxine. I take my NDT that way! Given that T3 and NDT have to be taken several times a day it would mean that you couldn't eat or take iron supplements, etc. if you had to swallow them :)

  • hi

    only substances that are fat soluble/ of a steroidal shape can pass through the skin ( the cell membranes are mainly made up of fats mainly cholesterol ) and so hormones such as oestrogen and substances like nicotine which have that shape can do so. thyroxine is basically a protein /derived from the amino acid tyrosine )and so cannot easily be absorbed. the cell membranes do contain protein particles that act as passageways but the substances have to " fit the lock " to pass through -thyroxine must not be the right shape

  • I've said before on here that I stick my two levo pills (one 100 mcg, one 25 mcg) under my tongue when I get up in the morning, instead of swallowing them, and when they have dissolved I then have a big cup of tea (which I need in order to swallow two paracetamol I need for my back). This must be working as my recent blood test showed a satisfactory T4 level! So I agree with Zabby about taking it sublingually, and with Steliz about enjoying your coffee!

  • It wouldn't surprise me if patches are being developed as t4 is a hormone it shouldn't be any more difficult than the contraceptive patch.

    My cynical side immediately thinks if they were available they are probably too expensive for the gps budget so getting them prescribed would be a different matter. ;)

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