Tirosint is a brand-name form of the thyroid hormone replacement drug levothyroxine, used to treat the underactive thyroid condition known as hypothyroidism. While you may be more familiar with brands such as Synthroid or Levoxyl, or generic levothyroxine — which all come in tablet form — if you are hypothyroid, it’s important to be aware of this specialized form of levothyroxine as a treatment option.
Hypoallergenic levothyroxine in gel caps and liquid
Tirosint is a liquid form of levothyroxine. There are currently two versions of Tirosint available on the U.S. market:
Tirosint is hypoallergenic and contains no dyes, gluten, alcohol, lactose, acacia, or sugar.
Tirosint was developed as a specialty form of levothyroxine for several categories of patients with hypothyroidism:
Those who have allergies to dyes or fillers commonly used in tablet forms of levothyroxine
Those who have [digestive or intestinal illness] that can negatively affect absorption of medications. Some of these conditions include lactose intolerance, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Those who have had prior gastric bypass surgery
Those whose conditions require them to take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) like Prilosec (omeprazole), or Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium).
- Those who must eat food, drink coffee, drink milk, take calcium supplements, or take iron supplements at the same time as their levothyroxine is administered.
Tirosint is marketed and distributed in the United States by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals. The drug is manufactured by IBSA Institut Biochimique, a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland.
Tirosint capsules have been on the market in the United States for several years. Tirosint capsules are not bottled. Instead, they are sold in a blister pack. Each capsule is individually packaged to help protect against moisture and temperature changes, preserve the potency of the medication, and ensure that patients don’t miss a dose.
Tirosint-SOL is a liquid and was approved by the FDA in 2017. Tirosint-SOL is an option for patients who are unable to swallow, who are fed by tube, and for infants and children who require levothyroxine treatment.
Research has shown that Tirosint has a number of benefits compared to tablet forms of levothyroxine.
- Tirosint-SOL is better at maintaining target TSH levels in patients after thyroid cancer treatment.
Do you need Tirosint?
Talk to your healthcare provider about Tirosint gel-caps or Tirosint-SOL liquid as treatment options if:
You have a history of allergies. One study reported that 15 percent of patients taking levothyroxine have allergies to the fillers and additives found in tablets. Those allergies can negatively affect your absorption of levothyroxine tablets and the effectiveness of your hypothyroidism treatment.
You have any digestive, intestinal, or malabsorption issues that may be affecting your absorption, or regularly take Prilosec (omeprazole), or Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium).
You are taking a tablet form of levothyroxine, and are unable to maintain a target TSH level. This is particularly important if you have had thyroid cancer and are on a suppressive dose of levothyroxine.
- You need to eat, drink coffee, or take iron/calcium supplements at the same time or close to the time you take your thyroid medication.
Keep in mind that Tirosint is usually more expensive than generic or brand-name levothyroxine tablets, and may have higher copays. Check with your health maintenance organization or insurer regarding what information they may need from your prescribing physician to get coverage for the medication.
Also, many doctors are still not aware of the availability and potential benefits of Tirosint capsules or Tirosint-SOL. You may need to raise this option as part of a discussion with your healthcare provider.