What happens if you stop taking thyroid medication?

Answer

A person that is taking prescribed thyroid medication to control hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism runs the risk of having these conditions return, according to About.com. Hyperthyroidism is known to cause anxiety, fluctuations in weight, muscle weakness, insomnia, excessive sweating and goiters. Hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, depression, low body temperature, hair loss, weight gain and infertility.

Health experts advice that people taking thyroid medication should not stop without first consulting a doctor. Thyroid disease is tricky to manage and requires a doctor's close monitoring. Some people taking this medication want to stop because of unpleasant side effects. In this case, discussing these side effects with a doctor alerts them to the problem, according to Everyday Health. The doctor can adjust the dosage to minimize any negative reactions. People that are in remission for thyroid cancer may be taking thyroid hormone replacement medication. Should they go off this medication there is a serious risk that the cancer will return.

The benefit of taking anti-thyroid medication for hyperthyroidism is that it helps the thyroid return to normal function. It also does not permanently damage the thyroid, which is why it is preferred over radioactive iodine treatment, according to WebMD. Successfully treating hypothyroidism often requires the combination of synthetic thyroid hormone and careful nutritional management.

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