Thyroid help

Hi please can someone help me . I was diagnosed with underactive thyroid two years ago . I started on 25 mg of levithyroxin actavis then discovered I was taking it incorrectly. Since this Christmas I have been ill with constant ear throat urinary infections shingles plus vertigo . I now have all the side effects listed in the tablets . I am extremely exhausted weak and dizzy . Is there a possibility I could be intolerant to levothyroxine or on too high a dosage ? I am only 37 lost my job due to the vertigo and not able to go to work . Please can someon offer any advice .

33 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum, Angie56.

    It's very unlikely that you are overmedicated on 25mcg Levothyroxine. It's such a small dose that you are more likely to be under medicated which may be why you are experiencing the symptoms you describe.

    If you post your recent thyroid blood results with the lab ref ranges (the figures in brackets after your results) members will advise whether you are optimally medicated.

  • Sorry I'm actually on 50mg of levothyroxine and my tsh was 3 and t4 was 16


  • Angie, you are undermedicated. TSH of people on medication is usually comfortable just above or below 1.0. Scroll down to Guidelines and Treatment Options to read Dr. A. Toft's comments in Pulse Magazine

    If you want a copy of the article to show your GP email

  • I don't know how I can get medication changed Louise as I have seen an Endocrinologist privately and she was no help at all just said I could have Chronic fatigue though my GP is finally listening and is going to check my cortisol levels . Why do u think I'm under medicated and is that why I am so ill and losing so much weight !! Thanks so much for all your advice Louise I really appreciate it .:)

  • Angie, I'm not Louise. Louise works directly for TUK. :)

    I think you are under medicated because your TSH is 3.0. It should be just above or below 1.0. If you get the article I linked to above from Louise, you can take it to your GP to show him and ask him to increase your dose.

  • So sorry about that . Do you think if I get dose increased it will take away the vertigo and weakness as I cannot do anything or go anywhere and sleep all the time except at nite as I can't sleep then . I used to be a very active out going girl now I can do nothing and I'm wondering is this going to be my life as endocrinologists think I'm fine and ENT say it's a virus . Many thanks

  • You are definitely undermedicated and even a 50mcg dose is usually a starting dose. 25mcg is normally for increments of levo till you reach a level which suits you.

    I will give you a link and read the question/answer on date November 28, 2003:-

    This is also for your information as we have to read and learn as much as possible in order to recover our health.

    When you have a blood test for your thyroid gland, do not take levothyroxine before it, take it afterwards. Have the test as early as possible as our TSH is highest then. Also ask for Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate to be tested as we are usually deficient.

    Always get copies of your blood test results, with the ranges (labs differ) for your own records and so that you can post them for comments.

    Take note of the levothyroxine you are using. If you think it is causing problems (you will have problems with any if you aren't taking sufficient) ask the chemist for another. There are several by other pharmaceutical companies.

    You have probably found out that sometimes Endocrinologists and doctors are not the best people to treat thyroid gland dysfunctions by dismissing clinical symptoms in favour of TSH result.

  • Hi there , thanks so much for reply. Please could you tell me do you mean other brands of levothyroxine that I could get ? It's the vertigo and weakness tiredness that's the worst I just can do nothing all I want is to be well and feel young again :)

  • Until you are on an optimum dose your vertigo/dizziness may not subside. Dizziness can also be a side effect of levothyroxine too:


    Blurred or double vision


    eye pain

    lack or slowing of normal growth in children

    limp or walk favoring one leg

    pain in the hip or knee


    severe headache

    I don't know all of the different types of generic levothyroxine. There are no brands in the UK at present. There used to be Eltroxin a Brand name. In the USA it is called Synthroid. in UK it is made by Mercury Pharma (Amdipharm). Activis and a couple of other companies.

  • Angie, if Actavis (also sold as Almus in Boots and Lloyds) doesn't suit ask your pharmacist for Mercury Pharma or Wockhardt. The latter is only available in 25mcg.

  • Angie, a dose increase will certainly help with any symptoms which are solely due to undermedication. Frequent ENT and urinary infections and susceptibililty to viruses often cease a few weeks after being optimally medicated. Muscle weakness and dizziness can be due to undermedication too. Ask your GP for B12 and folate to be tested as B12 deficiency can also cause dizziness and muscle weakness.

    I think you need further investigations to find out why you have vertigo. It can often be due to a middle ear infection or disease.

    When you have blood tests don't accept a doctor telling you results are fine. This means they are within normal range which is not the same as optimal. Always request a print out of the results with the lab ref ranges so you can monitor your own health or post the results if you need interpretation.

  • Hi ya thanks so much for advice . I will certainly get ferritin levels and folate checked . My doctor won't up my medication as my bloods haven't changed . I had vertigo before but the reason was because I wasn't taking levothyroxine correct at that stage as I was taking it with food . As soon as I took it before breakfast within four months I was out running and then few months later going downhill again for a year . I don't think I can tolerate levothyroxine tho gp won't listen and I'm wondering should I stop it all together . I'm taking vitamin b1 and b3 and vitamin c and following paleo guide to see if it will help . What happens if I increase dose myself and symptoms get worse ? Thanks

  • Angie, it might be better to see another more clued up doctor at your practice to get a second opinion on your TSH and get your dose increased.

    Taking Levothyroxine with food means you won't have absorbed the full dose. You must have absorbed enough though to be able to run. Went you went downhill that was probably an indication you weren't absorbing enough and needed a higher dose.

    If you stop taking Levothyroxine you'll probably feel great 3/4 days later. It doesn't last though. As your TSH gets higher you'll feel worse.

    If you up the dose yourself you should know that a few people do feel worse for a week or two as they adjust to the increased dose but most don't have any problem. If symptoms get worse and haven't improved after 3 weeks just reduce your dose back to 50mcg.

  • Thank you so much that makes sense as I was feeling great and suddenly just got worse over months now I'm getting palpitations and blurred vision when I stand up it's scaring me and I'm wondering is it the brand of thyroxine actavis that I can't take . Please could you tell me what should I increase dose too and is it dangerous ? If I could get rid of dizziness and be able to go for walks I would be happy . Thanks

  • Angie, They are typical symptoms of under medication.

    Dose increases and decreases should be in 25mcg increments and stuck with for 6/8 weeks. It may be better to see how you feel on 75mcg Actavis before switching to Mercury Pharma. I prefer Actavis but others feel it lacks potency and prefer MP.

  • Thank you I will go to see my gp tomorrow though I feel awful pestering them as never leave them as have had so many antibiotics . Do u think that I'm not intolerant to activas it's just that I need to increase my dose ? I had all these symptoms before until I got thyroid sorted and vertigo vanished but no one will listen . Endocrinologists cannot be bothered and answer was you were fine a year ago so you must be fine now . Thank you I appreciate all your help and advice as you are the first person who has listened .

  • Angie, I'm sure you are under dosed and not intolerant to Actavis.

    Antibiotics can also affect absorption of Levothyroxine, some increasing it while others decrease it, so try and take them 4 hours away from Levothyroxine.

    Unfortunately doctors forget they are treating patients with clinical symptoms and tend to treat the lab results, but believe me, TSH 3 is in the middle of range but it ain't 1.0 which is optimal for most, although some need it lower or suppressed to fell well.

    Print off the article I linked to and highlight Dr. Toft's comments about TSH being around 1.0 and give it to your GP. I'm sure it will help. Dr.Toft is a consultant physician and endocrinologist at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh and was president of the BTA and involved in drawing up the UK guidelines. His book for thyroid patients is stocked in most pharmacies.

  • Thank you . I hope I can persuade doctor to increase my dosage though will certainly try and hopefully I will see a change in my health very soon as I'm trying to fight an unfair dismissal case which I need to go to on 25th nov and at the moment I wouldn't be able too . How soon would I see the difference please ? I seem to b displaying symptoms of hyperthyroidism as well as can't stick heat and heart palpitations and weight loss . I'm so confused .thanks

  • Angie, heat intolerance and palpitations can also be caused by undermedication. Thyroid controls temperature and most hypothyroid patients are cold but some can't take heat. Both usually improve when optimally dosed.

    Hospital suggested Complan and protein drinks to me but I can't abide them so they advised frequent small meals to maintain/gain weight. I've had to stop Levothyroxine 3 times and gained 2/2.5kg each time but it fell off when I started Levothyroxine again.

    It can take several weeks/months to feel better as your body adjusts and metabolises the hormone. See if you can get the tribunal put back until the New Year due to ill health.

  • I didn't realise that thanks . If doctor says no I'm going to increase dose anyway and pharmacist has changed my brand to teva so hopefully that helps . I don't think I will get tribunal date changed as it's due to my health that I lost my job as it was blamed on vertigo but think it's thyroid and if I can prove that then Iv a good case . Please tell me is it dangerous upping my dose as I don't want to have to go to hospital . Thanks

  • Angie, no upping to 75mcg isn't dangerous. Ideally your GP will do a thyroid blood test 8 weeks later. Sometimes self medicating is the only way to prove you do need an increased dose because your symptoms have improved when a GP obdurately refuses to increase. You will need your GP's approval shortly because you will run out of tablets.

  • Thank you I woukd do anything to feel well . I will start taking 75 mg of teva tomorrow nite as I take my tabs at nite . If it even takes away dizziness and weakness that would be brill and no more infections :) did you have a hard time persuading your doc to increase your dose or was he helpful ? Thanks

  • Angie, Lol! My problem was the other way. I was so over replaced to suppress my TSH that I felt poisoned and begged for it to be reduced. I'm under the endo's care so GP wouldn't interfere. I didn't know enough to sort myself out at the time unfortunately.

  • That's awful sorry to hear that though glad you found a good endo . What makes u think that I might not possibly need my meds reduced also as I'm so confused . My legs are just so weak I can stand for no time at all and warm all the time . I'm hoping GP either reduces dose tomorrow or increases it whichever will take these symptoms away !! Thsnks

  • Also have your B12 and VitD tested with the Ferritin and folate....many symptoms of LOW B12 ( anything under 500 ) can mimic thyroid symptoms...and other conditions.

    Hope you soon feel better....

  • Thanks Marz for all your advice. I will ask my GP to check all that . I think I might need to increase my dose as I'm only on 50mg two years now and having vertigo all the time weakness n no energy plus brain fog I'm only 37 . Do u think it would do any harm to increase my dose as my go is no help and Endo is worse lol . Thanks

  • I agree with Marz. Dizziness and weakness could well be due to low B12 - although you definately need an increase in your thyroxine, too!

    You say you are taking B1 and B6, but that's not good, because you should take all the B vits together as they are interdependant. So, what I would suggest is that you add a B complex to your B1 and B6. That will give you a little B12, and see if you feel any better. However, do try and get it tested because it might be really low and require injections to get the level up. B12 defeciency can be a really bad thing to have!

    Hugs, Grey

  • Hi Grey , thanks so much for replying. I'm taking vitamin b1 b3 vitc and ginseng . Would it not be dangerous to take too many vitamins ? I'm getting teva thyroxine today so going to increase to 75mg tonite tho I'm terrified of doing it as it's against my doc who's no help at all . I have vertigo all the time weakness and pure shattered . Also muscle cramps like Iv the flu and infection after infection. I went to chiropractor last week to help vertigo big mistake I passes out when he did the neck twist n legs were weak . Thanks

  • Why would it be dangerous to take vitamins? The Bs are water soluable so any excess would be flushed out. Taking just two of the Bs isn't going to help as they all work together. I take large doses of vit B12, a B complex, vit D3 and vit C. I should probably be taking vits E and A, too, but haven't got around to it.

    Don't be afraid of going up to 75, it's a baby dose. I was on 200 at one time, plus a bit of T3. It's against your doctors wishes because he knows nothing about thyroid. Very few of them do. That's why we have to take our health into our own hands and learn as much as we possibly can about our disease.

    The dizziness and weakness are more than likely due to low B12 because when we are hypo, we have low stomach acid, therefore difficulty absorbing nutrients. Dizziness and weakness are one of the many, many symptoms of B12 deficiency.

    Muscle cramps, on the other hand, are likely due to magnesium deficiency - you're probably deficient in many things. Most of us are. You really should get some tests done - B12, (all the B vits perhaps), vit D, magnesium, iron, zinc, as many vits and mins as you can. They are so important and have such an impact on our health. And they are relatively easy to correct. Don't suffer, get tested.

    Oh, and the ginseng, which one are you taking? Because one is better than the other. Also, it doesn't agree with everyone. Are you sure it agrees with you?


    Greygoose has given you good advice. You can take a look at my profile to read my journey to wellness - helped by the people here. They point you to good websites and books - but you do have to read them and it will validate the comments and points made. Time to take control and follow some good advice...

    Hope you soon feel better....

  • Hi Marz , thanks so much for all your advice and help . I have just read your profile . I am so sorry to see that you have had a horrendous time of it really hope you feel better soon :)

  • Am feeling really strong and better than I have for many years. Just a dodgy back lets me down when it comes to walking miles - which I would love to do. Just off to catch the plane for 5 days in Istanbul !! :-)

  • Hi grey goose thanks for all your advice I really appreciate it . I will get magnesium tomorrow and start taking it . The ginseng is by red kooga multi vitamin . I have changed to the pharma brand of levothyroxine as don't think the actavis agreed with me though I only have 50mg so guess if I cut a tab in half plus this that will give me 75mg and is it safe to cut tablets ? I was always low in vitamin d but I can't take the supplements d3 as they give me muscle weakness . Guess if I got vitamin d tabs on their own that would be ok . I'm wondering if I will ever be well and feel young again lol

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