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June 28, 2005

Levothyroxine Improves Mood

High doses of levothyroxine has been found to improve mood in those with bipolar disorder. Levothyroxine is marketed as levoxyl. The study looked at the effects on brain function that are associated with mood alteration. Subjects were administered a high dose of levothyroxine while using their ongoing medication, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

"The researchers said that 'before L-T-4 treatment, the patients exhibited significantly higher activity in the right subgenual cingulate cortex, left thalamus, medial temporal lobe (right amygdala, right hippocampus), right ventral striatum, and cerebellar vermis; and had lower relative activity in the middle frontal gyri bilaterally.' 'Significant behavioral and cerebral metabolic effects accompanied changes in thyroid hormone status,'" (, 2005).

Levothyroxine improved mood in several of the patients. Seven had a mood remission and three had a partial response to the medication. There were ten in the levothyroxine group and ten in the control group. The mean dose was 320 mcg/day.

"The decrease in relative activity of the left thalamus, left amygdala, left hippocampus, and left ventral striatum was significantly correlated with reduction in depression scores. "Results of the whole-brain analyses were generally consistent with the volume of interest results." "We conclude that bipolar depressed patients have abnormal function in prefrontal and limbic brain areas. L-T-4 may improve mood by affecting circuits involving these areas, which have been previously implicated in affective disorders," (

This study shows what the positive benefits can potentially be for some of those who use levothyroxine to treat their bipolar disorder. Obviously not everyone who uses this drug to treat BPD will have the same effects. Make sure to talk to your psychiatrist before changing or altering any form of medication that you may be taking.

For the full research article in PDF form go to:

To go to the Levoxyl webpage go to:


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