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Cytomel is an artificial thyroid hormone used for the treatment of hypothyroidism, which is a low thyroid hormone. Besides this, the medication is also beneficial for the prevention of goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland. While it is suitable for both adults and children, its dosage may depend on the severity of the condition and the patient’s needs. This medication has several side effects, too, ranging from common ones like sweating and fever to serious effects such as heart attack and anxiety. However, people don’t have to be too concerned about these side effects as long as they follow a medical professional’s guidelines.

Product Overview

Cytomel is a prescription drug used to treat an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. This medication contains liothyronine sodium as its active ingredient, a synthetic thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) normally produced by the thyroid gland to regulate the body’s energy and metabolism. When the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormone on its own, doctors usually prescribe this drug. This medication is also given as a part of a medical test for thyroid disorders. It can be used along with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy in people suffering from thyroid cancer.

Cytomel is available in various strengths, commonly including 5 mcg, 25 mcg, and 50 mcg tablets. Your doctor determines the dosage and strength based on the individual needs of the patient. It is typically taken orally once daily without food. Cytomel is suitable for adults and children, though the dosage may vary. This medication works by quickly raising the levels of T3 in the bloodstream, providing a rapid response in managing thyroid hormone levels.

There are several common side effects of Cytomel, including symptoms such as headache, irritability, sweating, and increased heart rate. Patients are advised to follow their doctor’s instructions closely and report any severe or persistent side effects. Precautions should be taken for individuals with heart disease, diabetes, or adrenal gland problems. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as remembered unless it is close to the time for the next dose. In the case of an overdose, immediate medical attention is necessary. Cytomel should be stored at room temperature, away from light and moisture. 

Uses of Cytomel

This medication is used for:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Thyroid cancer with radiation and surgery
  • Thyroid suppression test

How to Use Cytomel?


Strengths and Forms

Cytomel is available only in the form of a tablet & injectable solution with the following strengths:

  • Injectable: 10 mcg/mL
  • Tablet: 5, 25 and 50 mcg

Recommended Dosage for Different Patients

For Hypothyroidism

  • Adults: Take 25 mcg as a starting dose once daily, increasing to 25 mcg every 1 or 2 weeks. Generally, the maintenance dose is 25 mcg to 75 mcg once a day.
  • Older Patients: If a patient has underlying cardiac problems, the prescribed dose is 5 mcg once daily, increasing to 5 mcg increments at the recommended time periods. 
  • Pediatric Patients: Start with 5 mcg once a day and increase to 5 mcg every 3 to 4 days. Infants a few months old (usually 3 months or more) are prescribed 20 mcg one time a day for maintenance. When an infant is 1 year old, start with 50 mcg once daily. If a child is above 3 years, an adult dose is prescribed.
  • Newborns (0 to 3 months) at Risk for Cardiac Failure: Doses will prescribe a lower dose, generally based on clinical & laboratory results.

For TSH Suppression in Well-Differentiated Thyroid Cancer

  • The dose of Cytomel is recommended if TSH levels are within the desired therapeutic range. 
  • Higher doses might be needed depending on how low the TSH levels need to be suppressed.

For Thyroid Suppression Test

  • Start with 75 mcg to 100 mcg daily for a week, followed by a radioactive iodine uptake before and after finishing your 7-day treatment. 
  • If the thyroid functions normally, the radioiodine uptake will significantly decrease after treatment. 
  • A reduction of 50% or more indicates that the thyroid-pituitary system is working properly.

[Note: These recommendations may vary from person to person. Discuss them with your doctor, and they’ll customize your dosage accordingly.]

How to Take It?

  • Read the directions on your prescription label carefully.
  • Follow the guidelines as instructed by your medical professional.
  • Take the medicine with or without food as recommended by your doctor.
  • Swallow the tablet as a whole for better absorption.
  • Do not crush or chew the medicine.
  • Talk to your healthcare practitioner if you are facing any difficulty while swallowing your tablets.
  • Closely monitor your health to avoid any further infections.
  • If you are taking any other medicines with this drug, take them at least 4 hours prior to or after taking Cytomel.

[Note: Your doctor will decide the right amount for you based on your condition, following guidelines and studies on the drug. They’ll adjust it as needed over time.]

How Does Cytomel Work?

Cytomel is an artificial version of the T3 thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. This hormone works by replacing the body’s natural thyroid hormone and controlling DNA transcription and protein synthesis. When a patient ingests this medicine, the drug gets absorbed into the bloodstream and enters cells. Inside these cells, Cytomel binds to thyroid hormone receptors in the nucleus, influencing the expression of specific genes. As a result, it increases the production of proteins, regulating metabolism, energy levels, and overall cell function.   

Important Safety Information

Side Effects

Common side effects of Cytomel may include:

  • Headache
  • Irritation
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nervousness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Diarrhea
  • Menstrual changes
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Weak muscles
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling hungry
  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness

Serious side effects of Cytomel may include:

  • Heart attack
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Hives
  • Swelling on the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Chest pain
  • Vision problems
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Trouble moving the legs

[Note: Remember, this list may not cover all possible side effects. Always consult with your healthcare giver for medical advice about side effects.]


  • Heart Problems: Cytomel can cause heart problems. So, be cautious while using this drug, especially if you are an older patient with a heart condition. Call your doctor right away if you are experiencing irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or shortness of breath. 
  • Adrenal Crisis: There are certain cases in which people reported low thyroid & adrenal hormones simultaneously while using Cytomel. In such scenarios, replacing the thyroid hormones first can result in lowered adrenal hormones, making people feel unwell. This can be prevented by using glucocorticoids first. To avoid such conditions, ask your doctor to check your adrenal hormones before prescribing this medication. Moreover, if you are experiencing symptoms like high fever, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting while taking Cytomel, contact an expert immediately.
  • Diabetes: If you are a diabetic patient, consult with a medical professional before using this medication, as it can alter the required dose of your diabetes medications. Monitor your blood glucose levels closely and talk to an expert if the levels are not normal.
  • Impaired Bones: Using this drug may weaken the bones over time, especially in women after menopause. To lower this risk, your doctor will be checking your thyroid levels to ensure you are taking the minimum dose. 

Boxed Warning 

A black box warning is the FDA’s most serious label on drugs, warning the public of severe side effects, and one such warning is given for Cytomel. This thyroid hormone drug should not be used to treat obesity or weight loss, either alone or in combination with other medicines. For people with normal thyroid function, the usual doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are not effective for losing weight. Additionally, taking larger doses may cause serious or fatal side effects, especially when combined with sympathomimetic amines, like the ones that are prescribed for anorectic effects.


  • Before taking Cytomel (liothyronine), inform your medical practitioner once if you have general allergies or are allergic to any of the medication’s ingredients, as the product may contain certain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.
  • Before using this drug, tell your doctor about any medical history, especially if you have decreased adrenal gland function, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, or water diabetes. 
  • If you are undergoing any medical surgery or procedure, inform your doctor or dentist about all the products you are using, including prescription and nonprescription drugs and herbal products. 
  • As per recent information, pregnant women can take this drug. So, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, tell your doctor beforehand, as they will alter your dose.
  • Nursing women are advised not to take such medications as the drug can pass into breast milk and may harm the infants. Consult with a medical professional for expert guidance.
  • Avoid operating machinery or driving if you have taken this medication recently, as the drug can make you dizzy, which is one of the most common side effects of Cytomel. 
  • Do not consume alcohol.
  • Visit your doctor frequently to ensure the medication is working properly and to monitor for any adverse effects.
  • Do not alter or discontinue your medicines, as it may cause serious side effects. Consult with a medical provider before making such decisions.


Cytomel is contraindicated in patients who have:

  • Uncorrected adrenal insufficiency
  • Hypersensitivity to the product’s active ingredient, liothyronine sodium, along with any of the inactive ingredients.
  • Acute myocardial infarction

Missed Dose

  • Take the missed dose whenever you remember.
  • If it is time for your next dose, continue the usual dosage schedule.
  • Do not take double doses to cover up for the skipped one.
  • Take the medicines at the same time every day for effective results.
  • Utilize medication apps or reminders to avoid skipping any doses.

[Note: If you have missed a dose of your medication and are unsure about when to take the next one, immediately consult your doctor or pharmacist.]


It is recommended not to exceed the maximum amount of the medication as the Cytomel overdosage may result in severe effects such as hyperthyroidism, confusion, and disorientation. Some patients have also reported cases like cerebral embolism, shock, seizure, death, and coma. In such cases, immediately call your doctor or 911.

[Note: If you consumed more than the recommended dose, get medical help immediately or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.]


  • Keep the tablets in between the temperature of 15°C and 30°C.
  • Store the medication away from light and moisture.
  • Do not keep them in moist places like the bathroom or near the sinks.
  • Keep the drugs away from the reach and sight of children and pets.
  • Discard the product when not in use or past its expiration date.
  • Do not flush the tablets down the toilet.
  • Consult your pharmacist/healthcare provider for proper guidance on how to dispose of the product.
  • Read the product’s label for precise storage information.
  • Avoid freezing the tablets.

[Note: Discuss with your healthcare professional about the proper disposal of any unused medicine and any questions you may have regarding its storage.]

Cytomel Interactions

There are many drugs that may affect the effectiveness of Cytomel, leading to adverse reactions. Some of these drugs are:

  • Aminoglutethimide
  • Amiodarone
  • Amphetamine
  • Anisindione
  • Atenolol
  • Benzphetamine
  • Betaxolol
  • Bexagliflozin
  • Bisoprolol
  • Butabarbital
  • Butalbital
  • Cholestyramine
  • Chlorpropamide
  • Cholestyramine
  • Cytokines
  • Diazepam
  • Danazol
  • Dapagliflozin
  • Desipramine
  • Estrogens
  • Ethionamide
  • Iodide 
  • Ketamine 
  • Lithium
  • Lovastatin
  • Mitotane
  • Metoclopramide
  • Para-aminosalicylate sodium
  • Perphenazine
  • Resorcinol
  • Sulfonamides
  • Tolbutamide
  • Tamoxifen
  • Theophylline
  • Thioamides

[Note: This isn’t a complete list, and there could be other drugs that interact with Cytomel. Make sure to tell your doctor about any prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal products you’re taking.]

Cytomel Alternatives

[Note: Your doctor will choose what’s best for you. Don’t use any of these alternative medications without consulting your healthcare provider. Taking them by yourself may cause serious side effects.] 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cytomel used for bodybuilding?

Liothyronine sodium is an active ingredient that is used in Cytomel. This drug is a synthetic variant of thyroid hormone, which is often used by bodybuilders to boost their metabolism and aid in fat loss. However, this use is not medically approved as it can be a risky process. While Cytomel can enhance weight loss by increasing metabolic rate, improper use can lead to serious health issues such as heart problems, muscle loss, and thyroid dysfunction. Therefore, it is essential to avoid taking such steps and consult with your doctor once.

Does Cytomel belong to the steroid group of medications?

No, Cytomel is not a steroid. It is an artificial form of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3), used to treat thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. In contrast, steroids belong to a different class of drugs that reduce inflammation or promote muscle growth. Cytomel works by regulating metabolism and energy levels, while steroids have a distinct mechanism.

What are the dietary recommendations for taking Cytomel?

It is generally recommended to take thyroid hormones like Cytomel on an empty stomach, as food can restrict the effective absorption of these hormones from the stomach. Even there are certain foods that can interact with this medication, which are not limited to soy protein, high-fiber foods, soy formulas for infants, and walnuts. When taking this medication, talk to your medical practitioner for a personalized diet chart.

How long does it take for Cytomel to show noticeable effects?

Cytomel can start working within a few hours, but its maximum effects can take around 2 to 3 days. Patients may experience these effects in terms of improvements in energy levels, mood, and metabolism. To get quick results, follow the dosage as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Remember, individual responses may vary, so regular checkups are important to ensure optimal results and safety.

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