Levothyroxine Sodium: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 3 of 5)

7.2 Antidiabetic Therapy

Addition of levothyroxine sodium therapy in patients with diabetes mellitus may worsen glycemic control and result in increased antidiabetic agent or insulin requirements. Carefully monitor glycemic control, especially when thyroid therapy is started, changed, or discontinued [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].

7.3 Oral Anticoagulants

Levothyroxine sodium increases the response to oral anticoagulant therapy. Therefore, a decrease in the dose of anticoagulant may be warranted with correction of the hypothyroid state or when the levothyroxine sodium dose is increased. Closely monitor coagulation tests to permit appropriate and timely dosage adjustments.

7.4 Digitalis Glycosides

Levothyroxine sodium may reduce the therapeutic effects of digitalis glycosides. Serum digitalis glycoside levels may decrease when a hypothyroid patient becomes euthyroid, necessitating an increase in the dose of digitalis glycosides.

7.5 Antidepressant Therapy

Concurrent use of tricyclic (e.g., amitriptyline) or tetracyclic (e.g., maprotiline) antidepressants and levothyroxine sodium may increase the therapeutic and toxic effects of both drugs, possibly due to increased receptor sensitivity to catecholamines. Toxic effects may include increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and central nervous system stimulation. Levothyroxine sodium may accelerate the onset of action of tricyclics. Administration of sertraline in patients stabilized on levothyroxine sodium may result in increased levothyroxine sodium requirements.

7.6 Ketamine

Concurrent use of ketamine and levothyroxine sodium may produce marked hypertension and tachycardia. Closely monitor blood pressure and heart rate in these patients.

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.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Absorption of orally administered T4 from the gastrointestinal tract ranges from 40% to 80%. The majority of the levothyroxine sodium dose is absorbed from the jejunum and upper ileum. The relative bioavailability of levothyroxine sodium tablets, compared to an equal nominal dose of oral levothyroxine sodium solution, is approximately 93%. T4 absorption is increased by fasting, and decreased in malabsorption syndromes and by certain foods such as soybeans. Dietary fiber decreases bioavailability of T4. Absorption may also decrease with age. In addition, many drugs and foods affect T4 absorption [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Distribution

Circulating thyroid hormones are greater than 99% bound to plasma proteins, including thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG), thyroxine-binding prealbumin (TBPA), and albumin (TBA), whose capacities and affinities vary for each hormone. The higher affinity of both TBG and TBPA for T4 partially explains the higher serum levels, slower metabolic clearance, and longer half-life of T4 compared to T3. Protein-bound thyroid hormones exist in reverse equilibrium with small amounts of free hormone. Only unbound hormone is metabolically active. Many drugs and physiologic conditions affect the binding of thyroid hormones to serum proteins [see Drug Interactions (7)]. Thyroid hormones do not readily cross the placental barrier [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].

Elimination

Metabolism

T4 is slowly eliminated (see Table 10). The major pathway of thyroid hormone metabolism is through sequential deiodination. Approximately 80% of circulating T3 is derived from peripheral T4 by monodeiodination. The liver is the major site of degradation for both T4 and T3, with T4 deiodination also occurring at a number of additional sites, including the kidney and other tissues. Approximately 80% of the daily dose of T4 is deiodinated to yield equal amounts of T3 and reverse T3 (rT3). T3 and rT3 are further deiodinated to diiodothyronine. Thyroid hormones are also metabolized via conjugation with glucuronides and sulfates and excreted directly into the bile and gut where they undergo enterohepatic recirculation.

Excretion

Thyroid hormones are primarily eliminated by the kidneys. A portion of the conjugated hormone reaches the colon unchanged and is eliminated in the feces. Approximately 20% of T4 is eliminated in the stool. Urinary excretion of T4 decreases with age.

Table 10. Pharmacokinetic Parameters of Thyroid Hormones in Euthyroid Patients

Hormone

Ratio in Thyroglobulin

Biologic Potency

t1/2 (days)

Protein Binding (%)*

Levothyroxine (T4)

10 to 20

1

6 to 7**

99.96

Liothyronine (T3)

1

4

≤ 2

99.5

* Includes TBG, TBPA, and TBA

** 3 to 4 days in hyperthyroidism, 9 to 10 days in hypothyroidism

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