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Hypothyroidism frequently affects older adults' general sense of health, their cognitive abilities, and quality of life. Management decisions regarding when to start treatment and at what dosage to begin medication are influenced by both laboratory values and patient symptoms. Although specific guidelines regarding management of hypothyroidism in older adults do not exist, general recommendations include initiating hormone replacement with levothyroxine (Levoxyl(®), Synthroid(®), and others) at 12.5 mcg to 25 mcg and titrating the dose slowly based on response at 6-week intervals. Multiple medications and certain foods can interact with levothyroxine; therefore, the best dosage time is when a person is fasting or 4 hours postprandial. Using a consistent brand-name drug for hormone replacement with levothyroxine is important due to variations in the active ingredient in generic formulations. Providers need to be aware of the prevalence of hypothyroidism and management issues when caring for older adults. Copyright 2013, SLACK Incorporated.


Tamera Pearson. Hypothyroidism: challenges when treating older adults. Journal of gerontological nursing. 2013 Jan;39(1):10-4

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PMID: 23244059

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