What Happens If You Stop Taking Your Thyroid Medication

It’s a question that’s been asked many times on my Facebook group:

What happens if you stop taking your thyroid medication?

For one reason or another, you might be wondering if you can get by without it. Perhaps you don’t feel any better on it, perhaps you feel worse or it gives you some side effects. It could be expensive for you to maintain or you might not be keen on taking any pills for whatever reason.

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However, it’s very important to be aware that failing to take your thyroid medication opens you up to many health risks. As adequate levels of thyroid hormone are needed for every function of the body, not having enough (what would happen if you stopped your thyroid medication), would open you up to:

  • Abnormal blood pressure 
  • An increased risk of heart disease
  • An increased risk of infection
  • Weight gain that’s almost impossible, if not completely impossible, to shift
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Hair loss (on the head and eyebrows) and an itchy and sore scalp
  • Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth
  • Irregular periods or periods that are too heavy or too light
  • Extreme fatigue and an inability to handle exercise
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains throughout the body, though most common in the legs
  • Numbness in limbs
  • A long recovery period after exercise
  • Recurrent low vitamin levels such as B12, D, Folate, Iron and Ferritin that can cause a whole load of symptoms in their own right
  • Feeling cold a lot of the time, including cold hands and feet
  • Brain function issues such as brain fog, memory issues, degeneration and confusion
  • High cholesterol
  • Constipation
  • Acid reflux

And the most serious of all, a myxedema coma, which, although uncommon, can be fatal. This is a loss of brain function as a result of longstanding, severely low level of thyroid hormones. It is considered a life-threatening complication of hypothyroidism that develops over quite a long amount of time.

At the end of the day, whatever your reason is for not wanting to take your thyroid medication anymore, don’t just stop it. Instead:

1. Talk to your doctor about trying another medicine if you feel no better on it, have side effects, or take a look at my list of ideas for other reasons you might still be feeling rubbish. Even if you feel worse since starting the medication.

2. Talk to your doctor or insurance provider if applicable, about payment plans or sorting out something more affordable, if affordability is the issue. Or look in to self sourcing your own medicine (not to be taken lightly, though), as this can be cheaper than you think. Just make sure to use legitimate sources.

3. If you’re wanting to explore being able to live without thyroid medication and stabilising your condition through diet and lifestyle alone (which reportedly can be done but I must admit doesn’t seem overly common), consult a functional doctor and be extremely cautious. Many actually end up needing thyroid hormone replacement for life.

4. Or learn to look at your thyroid medication as an essential part of living for you – just like food and water, instead of looking at it negatively. Read this.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information give.


Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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6 thoughts on “What Happens If You Stop Taking Your Thyroid Medication

  1. Hi I’m 29 year old and Im thyroid patient. recently I stop my thyroid med approx 1 month 13 days due to not available my med here. But problem is that this month my period not came. my previous period date is 23rd jan 2018. This month till now not come my period.is dat any worried to not taking med? Pl help. why my period not coming n when I expect my period pl suggest.

    1. Hi Shampa,

      As thyroid medication is crucial to every cell and function of the body, you cannot be without it. Many functions will begin shutting down such as your periods, so this is a big warning sign. Can you see another doctor/chemist/pharmacy to source your medication?

  2. I just got off the phone with a nurse for the physicians assistant I’ve been going to since last June.

    I had another blood test last Friday. She has decided that since my thyroid tests are within normal levels at 150 mcg of levothyroxine per day, I no longer need to take thyroid medication at all!

    I think that it is time to shop for a new doctor. I’m going to call the insurance company first to see if I can at least get a refill until I can see another doctor. My current prescription ran out this morning.

  3. Im 16 years old and I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I started taking the meds about a month ago and iron along with it. in this time period i didnt get my period but once i finished both i wasnt on anything for about a week, and i got my period. before this the last time i had gotten my period was about two months ago.

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