Q. I’ve been taking levothyroxine for more than a dozen years. I just recently learned I’ve been taking it at the wrong time. I was taking it along with breakfast and coffee, not to mention vitamins, minerals, probiotics, Citrucel and other medications. I am totally confused about how to take it properly.
A. Taking your thyroid medicine with coffee, minerals or fiber such as bran cereal or Citrucel can interfere with its absorption (Thyroid, March, 2008). Why not take your levothyroxine at bedtime? A small study showed that the drug is absorbed better in the evening (Clinical Endocrinology, Jan., 2007). As long as you don’t eat within two hours of retiring, your thyroid medication should work fine and nothing else will interfere with it.

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  1. BF
    Reply

    I take 120mg of Armour Thyroid in the morning and another 120mg in the afternoon. If I wanted to start taking it at night would I take all 240mg or still spilt it up somehow?

  2. LM
    Reply

    Well, I’m back to report how liberated I am now, since I’ve begun taking my Levo at night…my days are normal again as far as eating and taking my vitamins and supplements. I just make sure I don’t eat anything at least 2 hours before taking my Levo before bed.
    Since I’m taking my vitamins and tea earlier, I’m not having trouble sleeping anymore and I don’t wake up feeling like I never slept. My energy is back…amazing what a little change can do. So looks like I won’t be needing ZzzQuil anymore.
    It might not work for everyone at night, but it works for me. Thanks again for the tips.

  3. LM
    Reply

    Thanks so much for this forum…glad I found it. Lots and lots of good info. I’ve been on Levothyroxin for around 5 years and have felt crappy ever since starting it. I felt better at the 75 mcg dose but doctors insist I need 100 mcg. At one time they had me on 125 mcg during the early years. Anyway, thanks for all the comments. I’m going to try taking mine before bedtime, which always is well after midnight. I usually wake up around noon, take the Levo, wait an hour to eat, wait 4 more to take vitamins and supplements (and walnuts!), which causes any like B12 to make it hard for me to sleep. The only time I can really sleep well is when I take about 2 or 3 teaspoons of ZzzQuil, but I don’t like taking it too often.
    I really want this change of taking my Levo at bedtime to work, so I can start having coffee or tea again when I first wake up instead of a Levo. And I like to drink milk before the coffee or tea. Oh, life will be good again (I hope).
    2 questions:
    – If I do have problems sleeping after a night dose, will ZzzQuil interfere? I take about 1/4 of an inch in the little cup that comes with it.
    – I have heard green tea is bad when on thyroid meds. Has anyone heard this and if so, do I have to completely eliminate it from my diet or just drink several hours apart from levo? I like to have it around 5 in the afternoon.
    P.S. I asked my doc if I could have Armour…she said no, she doesnt’t prescribe it. I asked if I could try Synthroid instead of Levo. She said Levo’s cheaper and there’s no difference. I don’t believe her but she didn’t seem to want to give me a chance to try the Synthroid. Wonder why? Anyway, maybe taking my Levo at night will make me feel normal again instead of like death warmed over. I just want my energy back. I’ll be skipping my noon dose today and will start tonight and will post again on how it’s working out.
    I was shocked reading that some were in hospitals that served up thyroid meds along with all the vitamins and supplements. Maybe they should ask the patients first if their dose is based on them taking with or without supplements (if they know)….but I know the norm is to take them apart.

  4. CN
    Reply

    I have been taking Synthroid since 1988 after having half of my Thyroid removed due to 3 nodules on it. I was first on .25 then .50 then .75 now I am on .88. I always took it at 5:AM with 16 oz water and by the time I got my shower and got ready for work I could eat breakfast, then I retired. I did not know that I was not supposed to lie down after taking it so I have been getting up taking my Synthroid and going back to bed. A friend mentioned that she had read not to lay down after taking it so here I am looking up the info. It is so strange when I was in the hospital that the nurses did not know that you are suppose to take Synthroid on an empty stomach and alone with plenty of water! The Nurse brought all my vitamins and other meds all together and I told him that I could not take them all together —he had to look up the info–said well I was right.. Well after 26 years I will be staying up when I take my Synthroid. One question —-why do I get sleepy when I take it?

  5. Dianne M.
    Reply

    I’ve been taking Armour Thyroid for two years and I hear conflicting advice on the best time to take it. I do split my dosage in half and take half in the morning and half in the evening. Should I take it an hour or two before eating breakfast and dinner, or 10 to 20 minutes after those meals? I’ve heard both. I had been doing one hour before meals, but then I read 10 to 20 minutes after meals is better. So I’ve recently tried that, but I’ve had trouble sleeping well at night lately and wonder if it’s related. Three months ago I increased my dosage from 60 to 90. The six-week lab results came back in range, but I’m wondering if I should go back to the 60mg dosage.

  6. Crystal
    Reply

    I have been on 50mcg of levothyroxine for 14 months. I have always taken it in the morning. Never a particular time, just when I wake up.. and then I will wait for an hour before I eat. Which I hate! Because if I want to go walk when I wake up, I go on an empty stomach.
    Anyhow, I saw my doctor two days ago, and asked him if I could switch to night, so that I can have what I want in the mornings. He said, of course. I took my first pm dose last night, and woke up with some serious questions. How long should I wait after dinner, before taking my medicine? Also, if I wanted to have alcohol, how much time should be before and after?
    I’m not a drinker normally, but will be going to a concert in September, and was thinking about how I’ll drink there. And if I do drink, how will I go about taking the medicine around 9-10 ? Should I just stick to mornings if I’m worried about it?

  7. debbie h.
    Reply

    Taking Synthroid 88 mcg for a few years now. For the past year taking Cytomel 5mcg twice a day. Not good at remembering to take the 2nd dose around 3 pm everyday…I get busy and forget most of the time. Feel as though I’m in a slump and a nap would be great.
    I recently ordered Triple Action Cruciferous Vegetable Extract (I’m not good at eating my veggies), Virgin Coconut Oil, and Thyroid Energy (from the makers of NOW – this is thyroid support).
    What are your thoughts on taking these? More than anything – I’m wondering what will happen to me if I take the Thyroid Energy capsules and I’m taking the Synthroid 88 mcg and Cytomel 5 mcg…thoughts please!

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