What is Liothyronine

Liothyronine is a drug that is administered to treat signs of deficient thyroid production including loss of hair, slow speech, gaining weight, insufficient energy, feeling cold and dry skin. The drug is also prescribed to those suffering from goiter and treatment of some types of thyroid cancer together with other drugs and surgery. The drug was approved to be used for the treatment of the different health condition in 1954 by FDA.


This is an artificial sodium salt of triiodothyronine, which is an endogenous thyroid hormone. There is the oral tablet that is used in treating several kinds of euthyroid goiters. It is also used as a diagnostic agent when conducting T3 suppression tests. There is also Liothyronine injection used for intravenous purposes when treating precoma/myxedema coma.

Both forms can be used to treat patients who develop allergic reactions against thyroid extract or desiccated thyroid sourced from beef or pork. When it is administered orally, there might be occurrence of Supraphysiologic thyroid hormone accumulations. However, this does not occur when it is administered intravenously. Liothyronine is the most recommended drug for treating myxedema coma because of its fast action compared to levothyroxine.

How it works

Thyroid hormones are responsible for boosting the rate of metabolism in the body. They also enhance consumption of oxygen by all the tissues in the body. Liothyronine works like endogenous thyroid hormone known as triiodothyronine. It works by correcting hypothyroidism leading to increased cardiac consumption. Increased cardiac consumption helps boost ventricular contractility, heart rate and cardiac output.

All these help in improvement of overall consciousness. The improved thyroid hormones boost the rate of metabolism, which leads to correction of hypothermia. This is done through increased carbohydrate and protein metabolism in the body. The activities and amount of mitochondria in all body cells are also enhanced.

How it is administered

The drug can be administered orally or intravenously. One of its advantages compared to other related drugs is that it is used more efficiently by the body tissues. Another great thing is that it is not bound firmly to serum proteins. Therefore, it allows fast cell penetration.

When it is taken orally, it just takes about four hours for 95 percent of the drug to be absorbed completely in the gastrointestinal tract. Its effects can be experienced after just a short period. Maximum activity occurs within two to three days, thus offerings early clinical response.

Precautions and contraindications

Just like most other drugs, it is advisable to take great precaution in order to get the best results. Some primary constituents of Liothyronine tablets or injections are known to cause hypersensitivity. The tablet has inactive ingredients such as gelatin, calcium sulfate, sucrose, starch, talc, stearic acid and starch. A lot of caution should be taken when administering this drug to patients suffering from autonomous thyroid tissue. This is necessary in order to control thyrotoxicosis precipitation.

The drug is usually contraindicated for treatment of patients with adrenal insufficiency that is diagnosed, but not treated. Administering these drugs to patients with this problem can lead to adrenal crisis because of the increased demand for adrenal hormones in the body. The drug should also be used with a lot of care in patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction, which is not related to hypothyroidism. Small amounts should be administered in case the problem is complex or is as a result of hypothyroidism.

Patients suffering from coronary heat disease and who are receiving this drug are more prone to develop arrhythmias when undergoing surgery. There is also need for more caution when administering the drug to geriatric patients, because they are at high risk of getting concomitant diseases. The drug should never be used for patients suffering from diabetes.

Side effects

There are several side effects associated with this drug. Long use of the drug can lead to decreased bone mineral density. Other side effects include loss of hair, diarrhea, insomnia, headache, weight loss and changes in normal menstrual periods.


Liothyronine might interact with several other medicines including those for diabetes, mental depression, colds, weight lose medicines, birth control pills, liquid nutrition products, iron supplements among others.

How to take it

It should be taken orally with a lot of water. The best time to take is when the stomach is empty at least half an hour prior or two hours after eating. Just like any other drugs, make sure you follow all the instructions provided strictly. To get the best results, take the drug same time daily and never share it with anybody else. When you miss a dose, take it immediately when you remember and never take two doses at once.

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