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What are Cytomel® Side Effects?

By Henry Gaudet
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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Hypothyroidism, where insufficient levels of thyroid hormone are present, can be treated with Cytomel®. As a result, many Cytomel® side effects are related to symptoms of hyperthyroidism, a condition usually resulting from an overactive thyroid gland. Many people experience no Cytomel® side effects at all, and for most of those who do, they are easily managed. Some side effects are, however, potentially life threatening, and the drug should be taken only under medical supervision.

Cytomel® is a brand name for a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone liothyronine. The drug most often is prescribed to treat hypothyroidism and related thyroid conditions such as goiter. As a diagnostic tool, Cytomel® also can be used to test for hyperthyroidism. Some bodybuilders have used the drug without medical supervision to burn fat more quickly.

Some of the more commonly experienced Cytomel® side effects include gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. The patient might notice an increase in appetite accompanied by weight loss. Sensitivity to heat might increase, and the patient might become flushed, sweat profusely or develop a fever. Other Cytomel® side effects include nervousness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, tremors, headache and changes in the patient’s menstrual cycle. Any observed side effects should be reported to the doctor, who can adjust the level of medication as needed.

More dangerous Cytomel® side effects include high blood pressure, rapid or irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations. Chest pain might occur, and the drug can increase the risk of heart attack or heart failure. The patient might have difficulty breathing, suffer extreme weakness or experience a seizure. Extremities might become swollen, and unexplained bruises might appear. If any of these conditions are observed, immediate emergency medical attention is needed.

Any medication comes with a potential risk of allergic reaction. A patient who develops a rash, hives or itching might be allergic to the drug. Allergens might cause swelling, which can be especially dangerous around the mouth and throat, and the patient might begin wheezing or have difficulty breathing. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should stop taking the medication and seek medical help immediately.

Blood sugar levels are affected by Cytomel®, and doctors should be made aware of medical conditions such as diabetes before the drug is prescribed. Heart conditions also might worsen with use of this drug. Cytomel® reacts with many other medications, including seizure medications, diabetes medications, diet pills, bile acid sequestrants, birth control pills and drugs used in hormone replacement therapy. Patients should make sure that their doctor is aware of all medications being taken.

For people without a thyroid deficiency, Cytomel® is potentially life threatening. The levels of Cytomel® required to cause weight loss are sufficient to cause hyperthyroidism and other serious Cytomel® side effects as well. Under no circumstances should Cytomel® be taken without first consulting a medical professional.

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