Thyroid UK
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HELP i may need antibiotics

are they safe to take with levothyroxine

i have a bad hidradenitis flare up under left armpit and the pain is horrendous

ive had a dr tell me a few weeks ago i didnt need levothyroxine and to stop taking but after giving my tsh level here and being told my levels were high i continued to take, ive even had a repreat scrip signed

now i know im going to get the 3rd degree today if i see the nurse (who told me this page knows nothing as your not dr's and know nothing and that the dr who told me to stop knew what she was talking about) is going to give me antibiotics and tell me i cant take with thyroxine

i dont think its infected but looking quite feirce (ive had an infection before and literally watched the redness spread down my arm over a couple of hours)

please help.........i may just try the heat ect today to get it to burst and go to walk in tomorrow where i canb tell them what i can and cant take

20 Replies

Personally I would follow my doctor's advice rather than this forum's or a nurse's. These forums are really good sometimes but a doctor's reputation is at stake if they misinform. They are highly qualified and paid handsomely and are also seeing and examining you face to face. You don't really know anything about the people who are advising you on here.

Don't get me wrong - Its good to learn as much as possible and I have been given some brilliant advice which has made me think hard about how I present myself to the doctors - but you shouldn't be ignoring the advice of health professionals in favour of the advice you get from here.


hi TildaT i understand what your saying but it was 2 different dr's, i have one prescribe me thyroxine saying my levels were very high TSH 10.1 and after allmost 2 weeks my feet swelled due to the weather and i called for advice and had a different dr take my call as the other was on holiday and she said my levels were fine and i didnt need the thyroxine, ive looked on other sites too and seen my levels were high, i like to take my advice from the dr who gave them to me as i feel i can trust her rather than a dr who needs second opinions on most things and hand out signed blank prescriptions, i even had a repeat signed which tells me that i do need the thyroxine or that drs dont check before signing, im hoping to see the dr that gave me the meds soon to discuss dosage as im only on 25mcg


Definitely go with the first GP - your levels sound all wrong to me but I'm only just learning about this stuff. I think if you are hyperthyroid then you should be referred to an endocrynologist at your nearest hospital? Stick to one GP you trust if you can.


Hello Mandy and Tilda T

I have been so ill, it has affected my marriage, children, relationships, career, health, state of mind.

I would normally support the above comment, but I joined this site because I just didn't feel confident in the knowledge of the GPs even though they recommended the little Dr Toft book! I have spent hours researching my condition and am MORE uptodate than the surgery - as they just can't possibly devote this amount of time to every condition and complaint; yet they wouldn't agree to refer me to a specialist. (see my profile) I have had discussions about this with them. 3 years later with discussions from this site, friends with HypoT, my own research AND a very expensive Consultant that confirmed everything I have found out and battled for - I found I was right! 2 GPs and 2 Clinician Nurses I believe have advised me poorly that has affected my health and at times my mental health. Feel free to read my profile. Sorry but I am now looking for a surgery where they understand even the true basics of Thyroid.

Consultant now tells me due to my thyroid being thrashed under-treated correctly for so long, I'll be lucky to get another 12mths function from it. No way will I return to my GPs - looking for another as we speak. Yes they certainly do have their reputation to think of but as any Thyroid complaint is so complex medically and career wise it is much safer to stay within the poor guidelines and have a 'low complaints risk' poorly patient than risk supporting the individual and meeting their needs. Hope you all have signed the petition?

Good luck please keep us informed.


Hi Poppy Rose. Sorry you have had a rough time with doctors.

I do understand that GPs aren't usually brilliant enough to understand all there is to know about the thyroid. My husband is reading a book by a GP about the Miracle of Vitamins and tells me that Levothyroxine I've been taking for ten years may well have caused my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

As it happens I am now on a cytotoxic drug for this horrible disease (RA) and it's doing my head in knowing who to believe. So I've pinned my colours to my GP surgery's mast because I live on a Scottish island where there is really no choice about surgeries or GPs and mine seem reasonably good. But they are just generalists so I try and weave a path between forums such as this and the RA HU and reading up about the thyroid and about Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RA is a misnoma for many of us).

I could never raise the funds to go private as it would involve traveling off the island and my two autoimmune diseases are too complicated to see a private specialist when I'm currently under an NHS rheumatologist. So I go with my GPs advice - but with some healthy scepticism thrown in. They know I do my research and I hope this keeps them a bit more on their toes but of course it can make them complacent too. You can't get your life more turned upside down than finding out that you have RA - it's like getting told you have a long term incurable cancer - some of the drugs are chemo drugs including the one I'm on. It really is a shaker and few people who don't have inflammatory arthritis know the half of it. At least you have a choice of GP surgery - I hope you find a good one with more enlightened attitudes than mine - I can't even get my T3 or Vitamin D taken!


PS yes I signed the petition!


Shipman was highly qualified - and paid handsomely.


Well that's indisputable!


Hi Mandy, A TSH of 10.1 is high and you almost certainly need to be taking thyroxine. Avoid that second doctor like the plague (I have one like that in my practice, doesn't seem to have a clue about anything!). It shouldn't matter that you are taking thyroxine when on antibiotics - most people produce thyroxine naturally, are they meant to stop this while they take antibiotics?! Some antibiotics can interfere with absorption of thyroxine but if you need them it is better to take the whole course as prescribed - normally it is only for a few days. 25mcg is a very small dose, hopefully your doctor will be increasing this and testing your blood regularly until you feel well. You should be aiming to get your TSH to around 1 or even below but the most important thing is how you feel.


Hi, I would and have taken the antibiotics, they should prescribe one that is safe anyway as they would with any other condition. ??!! My low immunity means that even with dental infections I a have been m so ill and the dentist has prescribed it anyway - so why on earth would a GP not be knowledgeable enough?


im hoping to get it to burst on its own today but really needed to hear that they would be safe if i was given them, i dont like taking antibiotics as i dont feel they work for the condition unless there is an underlying infection, i have a good drawing ointment on at the moment and its at the feeling like im being stuck with a red hot poker stage and its normally like that when its ready to burst, i dont feel any sicker in myself but if need be i will go to either the walk in or A/E, i think it seems more worse as its decided to brew upon a new spot so the area isnt so weak so takes longer to pop..........ive been antibiotic free for 2 years now and im hoping to stay that way


If you do take antibiotics make sure you take some probiotics with it, this is what my doctor advised me.

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I have just read that if on levothyroxine it would be wise to take your antibiotics 6 hours apart. I don't know what one you are taking but I suppose they are all similar.


mandy, you should start hotpacks immediately when there is a flare up and as warm as you can stand. Also omega 3 supplements help keep the sebum a little more fluid so they don't block the sweat glands.

As far as medical advice, it is pretty evident that when it comes to thyroid problems, there are advances from research that many doctors do not or cannot evaluate. You know the NHS comes on very strong to doctors who do not follow them. Naturally what you have been told comes from that source. Conventional medicine is excellent with surgical procedures and infections but chronic diseases are not their strong point. Members here become very well versed, not because they are stating their own opinions but opinions of medical people who have studied the condition. In other words, they have become specialists. In fact these wonderful people offer their good advice for free which makes them even more useful to people who often are suffering from the effects of their doctors!!!!!!!

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thanks for all the replies, its good to know that if needed i could take antibiotics allthough 6 hours between would be hard unless i was on 3 a day...........HS burst early hours this morning but i have a feeling it may be a double one as was quite huge and its still very painful but that could be from where its burst its a weird feeling, i have manuka honey here so will be using that and hope it clears it up with the need of antibiotics


Hi Mandy, that sounds really nasty. I had psoriasis in my armpits for an 8 year period so i know how painful this area can get. It is actually under control now since taking levo.

My hypothyroidism got missed for over 15 years by many hospital consultants some i saw on a weekly basis!

10 is really high, you must feel very hypothyroid :-(

What clinched my diagnosis was my out of the blue high cholesterol, which does increase with hypothyroidism. Get it checked if you haven't already. Hugs.


Hi Helcaster, ive suffered mildly sine i was 16 but only 1-3 flares a year, ive been reaaly bad the last 6ish years, this one has been the worst ive had for along time, did see a dermotologist about 3 years ago whos words were 'lose weight and it will clear up as ive never seen a skinny person suffer with it', little does she know there are many skinny people who do suffer, i wanted to slap her but left calmly. I found out in 2011 that i had a high thyroid from a blood test to see if there was a reason why i had HS but the dr wasnt concerned,i asked for another about 6 weeks ago as ive been gaining weight fast,trouble with shortness of breath and feeling exhausted and this time were told my levels were 10.1 and needed medication, i didnt think to ask what my levels were in 2011 but i feel i was about a year into being hypo then as the weight and exhaustion has been a problem for about 3 years, i kind of tried blaming depression as mum passed away 3 years ago. I have been to the dr several times with my breathing and weight only to be told to diet, kind of like they wasnt really interested. I do know when i was diagnosed hypo the dr did say my cholesterol was ok but my blood sugars needed checking


Hi Mandy,

Sorry it's taken so long to reply. How is it now?

It's such a shame you had that missed opportunity to get treated. Being hypo can really affect your skin. I saw a dermatologist that missed diagnosing me, she had even done the blood tests, but just told my doctor to prescribe B12!

You must be feeling very poorly indeed, and it's all too easy to blame depression for your symptoms. I hope you had a lot of support when your mum died, so sad for you.

Hugs XX


Hi Helcaster, my arm finally popped on its own thankfully, still weeping a little but the pain is gone, just sore now from constant dressing changes, dont know whats worse the boils or the skin being ripped off with dressing changes, the derm did make me quite angry and i never went back to see her again, i should have made a complaint really, yes i had lots of support when mum passed, it was expected but happened kind of overnight, was lkie she was ok one minute and gave up the next, unfortunatly my sister and i had a falling out over money, i was given money to cover funeral ect and the rest was to be shared out, they all wanted it shared before everything was paid for so we worked what was needed and shared the rest.........i was then accused of stealing.........families huh

thanks for asking after me


Oh dear, this always seems to happen after the death of a loved one. I'm sure this added much more distress for you, so sorry Mandy.

Thank goodness the wretched thing popped and you're finding relief. Let's hope it dries up fast and heals well. Is manuka honey on it any good? At least it tastes good if it doesn't help lol!

Hugs, XX


thankyou, hopefully it willdry up soon but these can take days weeks or months of draining before they finally dry up, i only put the manuka on when it was really painful incase of infection but my nurse used to give me tubes of it in 2011 when i was getting infection after infection, i remember going to A/E and begging them to stick a needle in my arm and they said they couldnt do it as would be too painful, i told them i didnt care about the pain i just needed the pressure off, still refused so i had a right go at the nurse and stormed out, went to the walk in centre the next day and was told i needed extra antibiotics and that id be fine (didnt matter that i couldnt move my arm at all and the red(infection) was spreading down my arm) next day i made emergency appointment with the nurse at my doctors, she looked at me and i broke down she asked to have a look and as soon as she seen the infection spreading she got the doctor in who took one look helped me lift my arm and said 'i can try and take the pressure with a needle and if that fails ill cut it but its so bad we wont be able to numb it' i said 'do what you have too' he stuck me with the needle and drained 15ml easily and the relief was so good, over the days it continued to drain and the infection cleared and that was with the help of manuka honey, i can still remember the pain today. It was then i had the blood test come back saying my thyroid was high but not a concern............i keep wondering just how high it was back then x


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