To treat a disease it is important to treat its cause. The basic cause behind Hashimoto's disease is faulty immune system which attacks the thyroid gland and causes its inflammation and under activity which is called hypothyroidism. Up until now there is no treatment discovered to treat faulty immune system. The only thing which can be done in this case is try to keep the hormone level normal which can be adversely disturbed due to hypothyroidism
Treatment for Hashimoto's disease starts with careful observation to determine the possibility of hypothyroidism. If no symptoms found then doctor apply wait and see approach rather than suggesting some medication. But in case of disturbed level of thyroxine, hormone replacement therapy is started to prevent long term effects of disease. To treat thyroid hormone deficiency doctor prescribes daily use of synthetic thyroid hormone pills called levothyroxine. It is identical to thyroxine and taken orally to restore the adequate level of thyroid hormone in blood and to reverse the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
A physician has to consider several factors while recommending the dosage of levothyroxine. These factors include severity of disease, patient's age and weight, presence of another disease or use of other medication etc. Because for most people taking pills daily and having blood test regularly causes no problem, but some people complain that they feel fatigued after taking medicine. The reason behind such feeling is lowering of blood cholesterol level. Levothyroxine lowers the level of blood cholesterol elevated by disease and reverses the weight gain. Therefore, having regular blood tests is suggested to keep track of medicine and to check the level of other hormones which are related to thyroid functioning.
Persons with heart related problems are initially treated with a smaller amount of medication and doctor gradually increases this amount to allow their heart to adjust with increasing metabolism. After a few weeks of medication doctor checks the level of thyroxine and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) hormones to prevent their excessive amount in blood. Because over-treatment can lead to over activity of thyroid gland which is called hyperthyroidism. It can further cause several problems including allergic reactions, stomach upsets, osteoporosis and serious heart rhythmic problems etc.
The period how long a person needs to take the medicine also depends upon the results of blood test. Some patients require monitoring and treatment for a long time than others. If a person is feeling better after few weeks of treatment and wants to change the course of medication, he should get professional advice from his doctor instead of skipping doses. Because in such a condition there is a chance of reversing the symptoms of Hashimoto's disease with more severity, always consult the doctor in case of any change in medication to prevent further problems.
As far as the side effects of levothyroxine are concerned, levothyroxine has no side effect if taken properly. But remember that certain foods and supplements like iron supplements, aluminum hydro-oxide and calcium supplements etc can affect its absorption in blood. If a patient is already taking such supplements he must tell the doctor about it to avoid any complication during treatment.