Discharge Instructions for Hypothyroidism and Myxedema (Pediatric)

Your child has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which means the thyroid gland is less active than normal. Your child’s symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Myxedema is the most severe form of hypothyroidism. Below is information about home care for your child.


Make sure your child takes his or her medication exactly as directed. Your child will need this medication for life.

  • Never stop your child’s treatment on your own. Your child needs this medication to support normal brain development and normal growth. Without the right treatment, your child may have a permanently lower IQ and shorter stature than normal.

  • Have your child take the medication at the same time every day.

  • Keep the pills in a container that is labeled with the days of the week. This will help you remember whether you’ve given the medication to your child.

  • Give the medication with a liquid (anything but soy milk, which interferes with the ability to absorb thyroid hormone). It is important that your child fully swallow the pill.

  • If your child or infant can’t swallow a pill, crush the pill and give it in a small amount of water.

  • Give the medication with the same food or drink each day. This will help control the amount of thyroid hormone in your child’s system.

  • After your child takes the medication, wait for 4 hours before giving your child foods or drinks that contain soy.

  • Wait for 4 hours before giving your child iron supplements, antacids that contain either calcium or aluminum hydroxide, or calcium supplements (regular amounts of cow’s milk are probably okay).

Other home care

  • Keep a card in your wallet that lists:

    • Your name and contact information

    • The name and contact information for your child’s doctor

    • The name of your child’s disease

    • The brand name and dose of your child’s medication

  • Encourage your child to eat a high-fiber, low-calorie diet to relieve constipation and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Encourage your child to exercise. Enroll your child in activities that are physically active.

Signs to watch for

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

  • Restlessness

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Sweating

  • Skin or hair changes

  • Rapid heartbeat

Follow-up care

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

  • Make and keep appointments to see your doctor and get laboratory work. Your child will need to have hormone levels monitored for the rest of his or her life.


When to seek medical care

Call your doctor right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Puffy hands, face, or feet

  • Chest pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Confusion or changes in behavior

  • Loss of consciousness


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