Discharge Instructions for Hypothyroidism and Myxedema

Discharge Instructions for Hypothyroidism and Myxedema

You have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone to meet your body's needs. Overall, hypothyroidism slows your body’s normal rate of functioning, causing mental and physical sluggishness. Various symptoms may range from mild to severe. The most severe form is called myxedema.


Take your medication exactly as directed. You will take this medication for the rest of your life.

  • Take your medication the same time every day.

  • Keep your pills in a container that is labeled with the days of the week. This will help you remember if you’ve taken your medication each day.

  • Take your medication with a liquid (anything but soy milk or grapefruit juice, which interfere with your ability to process thyroid hormone). It is important that your pill make it to your stomach and not dissolve in your throat.

  • Try to take your medication with the same food or drink each day. This will help you control the amount of thyroid hormone in your system.

  • After taking your thyroid medication:

    • Wait 4 hours before eating or drinking anything that contains soy, grapefruit juice, or milk.

    • Wait 4 hours before taking iron supplements, antacids that contain either calcium or aluminum hydroxide, or calcium supplements.

    • Wait 4 hours before taking medications that lower your cholesterol.

  • Continue to take your medication if you become pregnant.

  • Make and keep appointments to see your doctor and get laboratory work. You will need to be monitored for the rest of your life.

  • Keep a card in your wallet that lists:

    • Your name and contact information

    • Your doctor’s name and contact information

    • The name of your disease

    • The brand names and doses of all your thyroid medications

  • Never stop treatment on your own. If you do, your symptoms will return.

Other Home Care

  • During your routine visits, tell your doctor about any signs of hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), such as:

    • Restlessness

    • Rapid weight loss

    • Sweating

  • Eat a high-fiber, low-calorie diet to relieve constipation and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Exercise. Start slow, with a 5- to 15-minute walk each day. Try to work up to 10,000 steps, or three 20-minute walks each day.

  • Remember, hypothyroidism is associated with increased cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. It is important that you take care of yourself. Talk to your doctor about the elements of a healthy lifestyle.

To Learn More

The resources below can help you learn more:

  • American Thyroid Association 703-998-8890

  • Hormone Health Network 800-467-6663


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Puffy hands, face, or feet

  • Chest pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Confusion