How to Take Cytomel

Two Parts:Determining If You Need CytomelTaking Cytomel

Cytomel is a widely used medication that is prescribed to patients who suffer from low thyroid function or conditions causing different kinds of goiters. Cytomel’s generic name is Liothryronine, pronounced lye-oh-THYE-roh-neen. While it is widely used, those who take Cytomel need to do so with caution. Since it is a very powerful drug, you need to follow a few guidelines to make sure that your treatment is effective and safe.

Part 1
Determining If You Need Cytomel

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    Know what Cytomel treats. Cytomel is the brand name for liothyronine, which is often prescribed by doctors to treat hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism describes a condition in which a person’s thyroid gland is unable to create the proper amount of thyroid hormone. In addition:
    • Cytomel can be used to decrease enlarged thyroid glands which are commonly known as goiters.
    • Hypothyroidism is when thyroid glands do not create enough thyroid hormone. This is different from hyperthyroidism which is a condition in which thyroid glands produce too much thyroid hormone.
    • Cytomel works by increasing the patient’s metabolic system. After taking Cytomel for a few weeks, your cellular activity will increase, and your body will begin to use carbs, fats, and proteins more efficiently. [1][2]
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    Think about your symptoms and whether you need Cytomel. There are a number of specific symptoms that will indicate whether you suffer from hypothyroidism and need to take Cytomel. When considering if you need Cytomel, think about whether you have the following symptoms:
    • Fatigue.
    • Increased sensitivity.
    • Constipation.
    • Dry skin.
    • Weight gain.
    • Puff face.[3]
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    Consult your doctor. Only your doctor can determine if your symptoms and overall health are indicative of hypothyroidism and can be addressed through the use of Cytomel. As a result, you should speak to your doctor immediately if you think that you may suffer from hypothyroidism or another life threatening disorder or condition. Your doctor will:
    • Review your symptoms.
    • Review your medical history.
    • Take diagnostics in order to gather an idea of your overall health.
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    Discuss the basics of Cytomel use with your doctor. After your doctor determines that you need Cytomel and prescribes it for you, you should spend a little time talking to him or her about the basics of Cytomel use. This will include a number of things:
    • Ask your doctor about the ingredients in Cytomel. You should not start taking the medication if you are allergic to any of them.
    • Discuss family planning options. If you plan to become pregnant, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, this medication may have an effect on the fetus or child.
    • Talk to your doctor about heart disease, prescriptions, dietary supplements or herbal preparations. Birth control pills, estrogen, anticoagulants, digitalis, ketamine, tricyclic antidepressants or vasopressor medications' side effects may be multiplied by Cytomel. Insulin or other diabetes medications may become less effective.
    • Ask about any planned surgeries you have coming up.[4]
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    Talk to your doctor about side effects. One of the first things you should talk to your doctor when he or she is considering treating you with Cytomel are the side effects. Because some medications have very intense side effects, you should learn about them first. Knowing about side effects will help you and your doctor determine if Cytomel is the right medication for you. Some common side effects include:
    • Muscular pain.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Confusion.
    • Extreme fatigue.
    • Hand tremors.
    • For a complete list of side effects please talk to your doctor.[5]

Part 2
Taking Cytomel

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    Take your Cytomel exactly as prescribed. Once you’ve been prescribed your Cytomel, you need to take it exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Disregarding your doctor’s orders can endanger your health or at the very least undermine the efficacy of your treatment. Consider:
    • Take the medication by mouth with food or without, at the same time every day.
    • Separate your daily dosage of this medication by at least 4 hours from preparations containing calcium salts--sucralfate, calcium carbonate or cholestyramine.
    • Take your dose of medication as soon as you can, if you have forgotten to take it. Skip the dose if it is nearly time for the next one.
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    Inform your family and close friends of your condition. After you’ve begun your treatment with Cytomel, make sure to inform your family and friends of your condition and treatment. This is important because if something happens to you and you are debilitated, doctors will need to know what medications you are taking.
    • Tell anyone you live with about your condition and treatment.
    • Explain to friends and family what the medicine is and where it is stored.
    • Consider getting a medical bracelet with important information.[6]
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    Learn about using Cytomel. Treatment with Cytomel is both similar to and different from an array of other treatments for metabolic disorders and conditions. However, before you begin treatment with Cytomel, you should learn about the specifics of treatment. Do not take your treatment for granted or embark on it without knowing what you are in store for.
    • Due to the nature of the conditions Cytomel is prescribed to treat, Cytomel often needs to be taken for the rest of a person’s life.
    • Cytomel is often prescribed as a medicine taken orally.
    • Cytomel may take several weeks of usage before benefits start to materialize.
    • Normal prescriptions range from 25 micrograms to 75 micrograms taken once a day, for mild hypothyroidism.
    • Normal prescriptions range from 5 micrograms to 25 micrograms, taken several times a day for myxedema.
    • Prescriptions for children vary.[7]
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    Monitor your body's reactions to your medication. An important part of taking a drug like Cytomel is monitoring your body’s reaction. This is important for a couple reasons. First, you’ll want to make sure that the drug is doing what it is intended to do. Second, you’ll want to make sure there are no adverse reactions to the medicine.
    • Check your blood sugars as dictated by your doctor if you are diabetic. Cytomel may affect your blood sugar level.
    • Undergo lab tests regularly if you take blood thinners. Your blood thinner dosage may need adjustment.
    • Receive lab tests--including thyroid function tests--on a regular basis.
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    Tell your doctor if you experience side effects. Knowing about side effects, taking proper dosage, and monitoring your body is not the end of your work when it comes to taking Cytomel. As a result, you need to make sure report all side effects to your doctor as soon as you experience them. Waiting could cause you harm and prolong the period that it takes for your doctor to remedy the problem.
    • Tell your doctor if you experience partial hair loss after starting Cytomel. This hair loss is usually temporary.
    • Inform your doctor if you develop nervousness, trembling hands, an appetite change, headache, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, diarrhea, increased heat sensitivity, sweating, chest pain, increased heart rate or shortness of breath.
    • Get immediate medical attention if you experience hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing, tight chest, swelling of the face, mouth, tongue or lips, changes in appetite or menstrual periods.
    • Alert your doctor right away if you develop chest pain, diarrhea, weight change, excessive sweating, difficulty breathing, headache, the inability to tolerate heat or hot weather conditions, an increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, cramps in your legs, pounding in your chest, nervousness, tremors, shortness of breath or vomiting.[8]


  • Always consult with your doctor before you change the dosage or start or stop any medication.
  • You may need to take your medication continuously for a few weeks before you notice any change in your condition.


  • Do not take 2 doses of Cytomel at the same time.

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