Prescription Drug Information: Levothyroxine Sodium (Page 4 of 6)

7.7 Sympathomimetics

Concurrent use of sympathomimetics and levothyroxine sodium may increase the effects of sympathomimetics or thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones may increase the risk of coronary insufficiency when sympathomimetic agents are administered to patients with coronary artery disease.

7.8 Tyrosine-Kinase Inhibitors

Concurrent use of tyrosine-kinase inhibitors such as imatinib may cause hypothyroidism. Closely monitor TSH levels in such patients.

7.9 Drug-Food Interactions

Consumption of certain foods may affect levothyroxine sodium absorption thereby necessitating adjustments in dosing [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)]. Soybean flour, cottonseed meal, walnuts, and dietary fiber may bind and decrease the absorption of levothyroxine sodium from the gastrointestinal tract. Grapefruit juice may delay the absorption of levothyroxine and reduce its bioavailability.

7.10 Drug-Laboratory Test Interactions

Consider changes in TBG concentration when interpreting T4 and T3 values. Measure and evaluate unbound (free) hormone and/or determine the free-T4 index (FT4I) in this circumstance. Pregnancy, infectious hepatitis, estrogens, estrogen-containing oral contraceptives, and acute intermittent porphyria increase TBG concentration. Nephrosis, severe hypoproteinemia, severe liver disease, acromegaly, androgens, and corticosteroids decrease TBG concentration. Familial hyper- or hypo-thyroxine binding globulinemias have been described, with the incidence of TBG deficiency approximating 1 in 9000.

8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

The clinical experience, including data from postmarketing studies, in pregnant women treated with oral levothyroxine to maintain euthyroid state have not reported increased rates of major birth defects, miscarriages, or other adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. There are risks to the mother and fetus associated with untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Since TSH levels may increase during pregnancy, TSH should be monitored and levothyroxine sodium dosage adjusted during pregnancy (see Clinical Considerations). Animal reproductive studies have not been conducted with levothyroxine sodium. Levothyroxine sodium should not be discontinued during pregnancy and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated.

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-Associated Maternal and/or Embryo/Fetal Risk

Maternal hypothyroidism during pregnancy is associated with a higher rate of complications, including spontaneous abortion, gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia, stillbirth, and premature delivery. Untreated maternal hypothyroidism may have an adverse effect on fetal neurocognitive development.

Dose Adjustments During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period

Pregnancy may increase levothyroxine sodium requirements. Serum TSH levels should be monitored and the levothyroxine sodium dosage adjusted during pregnancy. Since postpartum TSH levels are similar to preconception values, the levothyroxine sodium dosage should return to the pre-pregnancy dose immediately after delivery [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Published studies report that levothyroxine is present in human milk following the administration of oral levothyroxine. No adverse effects on the breastfed infant have been reported and there is no information on the effects of levothyroxine on milk production. Adequate levothyroxine treatment during lactation may normalize milk production in hypothyroid lactating mothers with low milk supply. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for levothyroxine sodium and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from levothyroxine sodium or from the underlying maternal condition.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Levothyroxine sodium tablets are indicated in patients from birth to less than 17 years of age:

  • As a replacement therapy in primary (thyroidal), secondary (pituitary), and tertiary (hypothalamic) congenital or acquired hypothyroidism.
  • As an adjunct to surgery and radioiodine therapy in the management of thyrotropin-dependent well-differentiated thyroid cancer.

Rapid restoration of normal serum T4 concentrations is essential for preventing the adverse effects of congenital hypothyroidism on cognitive development as well as on overall physical growth and maturation. Therefore, initiate levothyroxine sodium therapy immediately upon diagnosis. Levothyroxine is generally continued for life in these patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

Closely monitor infants during the first 2 weeks of levothyroxine sodium therapy for cardiac overload and arrhythmias.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Because of the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease among the elderly, initiate levothyroxine sodium at less than the full replacement dose [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]. Atrial arrhythmias can occur in elderly patients. Atrial fibrillation is the most common of the arrhythmias observed with levothyroxine overtreatment in the elderly.

10 OVERDOSAGE

The signs and symptoms of overdosage are those of hyperthyroidism [see Warnings and Precautions (5) and Adverse Reactions (6)]. In addition, confusion and disorientation may occur. Cerebral embolism, shock, coma, and death have been reported. Seizures occurred in a 3-year-old child ingesting 3.6 mg of levothyroxine. Symptoms may not necessarily be evident or may not appear until several days after ingestion of levothyroxine sodium.

Reduce the levothyroxine sodium dosage or discontinue temporarily if signs or symptoms of overdosage occur. Initiate appropriate supportive treatment as dictated by the patient’s medical status.

For current information on the management of poisoning or overdosage, contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or www.poison.org.

11 DESCRIPTION

Levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP are L-thyroxine (T4) and contains synthetic crystalline L-3,3′,5,5′-tetraiodothyronine sodium salt. Synthetic T4 is chemically identical to that produced in the human thyroid gland. Levothyroxine (T4) sodium has a molecular formula of C15 H10 I4 N NaO4 • H2 O, molecular weight of 798.86 (anhydrous), and structural formula as shown:

1
(click image for full-size original)

Levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP for oral administration are supplied in the following strengths: 25 mcg, 50 mcg, 75 mcg, 88 mcg, 100 mcg, 112 mcg, 125 mcg, 137 mcg, 150 mcg, 175 mcg, 200 mcg, and 300 mcg. Each levothyroxine sodium tablet contains the inactive ingredients croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and purified water. Each tablet strength meets USP Dissolution Test 2. Table 9 provides a listing of the color additives by tablet strength:

Table 9. Levothyroxine Sodium Tablets, USP Color Additives

Strength (mcg)

Color additive(s)

25

FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*

50

None

75

FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake

88

FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*

100

D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*

112

Carmine

125

FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*, FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake

137

FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake

150

FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake

175

FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, Carmine

200

FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake

300

FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake*, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake

* Note – FD&C Yellow No. 6 is orange in color.

12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

12.1 Mechanism of Action

Thyroid hormones exert their physiologic actions through control of DNA transcription and protein synthesis. Triiodothyronine (T3) and L-thyroxine (T4) diffuse into the cell nucleus and bind to thyroid receptor proteins attached to DNA. This hormone nuclear receptor complex activates gene transcription and synthesis of messenger RNA and cytoplasmic proteins.

The physiological actions of thyroid hormones are produced predominantly by T3, the majority of which (approximately 80%) is derived from T4 by deiodination in peripheral tissues.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Oral levothyroxine sodium is a synthetic T4 hormone that exerts the same physiologic effect as endogenous T4, thereby maintaining normal T4 levels when a deficiency is present.

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