Last Chance - Mother's Day Sale

Last chance - Mother's Day Sale

For moms, thyroid health matters. Save $25 on our thyroid test kit or self-pay membership using code MOMDAY.

What is Dose Titration?

What you need to know about the process of adjusting your dosage of thyroid medication, known as dose titration.
What is Dose Titration?
Last updated:
Written by:
Medically Reviewed by:

In this article

Whether you’re a newly diagnosed hypothyroid patient or you’ve been living with the condition for years, it’s essential to understand the concept of dose titration. Finding the optimal dose of your thyroid hormone replacement medication is the foundation of your hypothyroidism treatment. And that process of finding the correct dosage for you  – known as “dose titration” – can make or break the success of your treatment and be the key to symptom relief. Ahead, we look at dose titration and how it works when treating hypothyroidism.

Thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is the first-line treatment for hypothyroidism, and it involves the use of medications that replace the hormones normally produced by the thyroid gland. The most commonly prescribed thyroid medication is levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4). Brand names for levothyroxine include Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Tirosint.

In some cases, a combination therapy is prescribed, and patients take both levothyroxine and liothyronine, a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3). This combination treatment can be beneficial for patients who continue to experience symptoms of hypothyroidism despite treatment with levothyroxine alone. Usually, synthetic T3, known as liothyronine (brand name Cytomel), is prescribed alongside a levothyroxine drug.[4][3].

Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) is another form of thyroid hormone replacement therapy. NDT is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs and contains both T4 and T3. Brand names for NDT include Armour Thyroid, NP Thyroid, and Adthyza.

In all cases, the goal of optimal thyroid hormone replacement therapy is to restore normal thyroid hormone levels and alleviate the symptoms of hypothyroidism. The dosage and type of medication used are individualized, based on the patient’s specific needs and response to treatment.

What is dose titration

Dose titration refers to adjusting a medication’s dosage to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. In the context of thyroid hormone replacement, dose titration involves carefully increasing or decreasing your thyroid medication dosage based on your response, symptoms, and specific clinical indicators.

The dose titration process aims to optimize your thyroid hormone levels while minimizing the risk of under- or over-replacement. The ultimate goal is a state of euthyroidism, the medical term for normal thyroid hormone levels and test results that fall within the reference range.

Titration of levothyroxine

Since levothyroxine is the most commonly prescribed treatment for hypothyroidism, let’s review what the titration process looks like for this medication.

Starting dose of levothyroxine

The starting dose of levothyroxine is influenced by several factors, including the degree of serum Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) elevation, your age, and any co-existing heart disease.

According to, adults usually start treatment of hypothyroidism with a levothyroxine dose between 50 micrograms and 100 micrograms taken once a day. This dose may be increased gradually over a few weeks to between 100 micrograms and 200 micrograms taken once a day.

Factors affecting the starting dose

The appropriate dose of levothyroxine replacement therapy is influenced by various factors, including:

  • Your body weight
  • Your body mass index (BMI).
  • Your age
  • The cause of your hypothyroidism

The titration process for levothyroxine

The titration process involves adjusting the levothyroxine dosage based on the patient’s response and hormone levels. Some experts recommend titrating the dosage by 12.5 to 25 mcg increments every 4 to 6 weeks until the patient is euthyroid. Other guidelines suggest that in otherwise healthy adults, replacement is initiated using levothyroxine in a dosage of 0.075 mg per day, with the dosage increased slowly, as indicated by thyroid function tests that show continued elevation of the TSH level.

Titration in special populations

For hypothyroid patients who are also obese, the daily levothyroxine (LT4) dose is recommended to be 1.6 to 1.8 mcg/kg of actual body weight to achieve a TSH level. Additionally, for patients over 50 years of age or those with cardiovascular disease, the initial dose and subsequent adjustments may be smaller compared to younger, healthier patients.


Careful monitoring of your symptoms and hormone levels is essential throughout the titration process to prevent under- or over-replacement. Experts recommend initially evaluating patients every 6 to 8 weeks, and once normalization of thyroid function and serum TSH concentration is achieved, evaluating every 6-12 months.

Dose titration for combination therapy with levothyroxine and liothyronine (T3)

The dose titration process for hypothyroid patients taking both levothyroxine and liothyronine needs to be managed carefully and individually. The goal is to normalize TSH levels, resolve symptoms, and avoid overtreatment or possible toxic side effects from too much T3.

The initial dose for combination therapy is typically 25 mcg of levothyroxine and 6.25 mcg of liothyronine 6.25 mcg orally once a day. The dose can be increased in increments of 1 tablet of 12.5 mcg of levothyronine and 3.1 mcg of liothyronine every 2 to 3 weeks.

During the titration process, it’s crucial to monitor TSH and Free T3 levels and adjust the dose accordingly. Most physicians titrate the dose of levothyroxine to achieve a serum TSH level within the normal range.

Dose titration for natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) drugs

The process of dose titration for patients with hypothyroidism who are taking natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) drugs involves careful monitoring and adjustment of the medication dosage to achieve optimal thyroid hormone levels and symptom control.

As noted, NDT drugs are derived from the thyroid glands of pigs. It contains both T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine), the two main hormones produced by the thyroid gland.

The initial dose of NDT is typically low, with guidelines recommending starting with 15 to 30 mg per day (1/4 to ½ grain). The dosage may then be increased incrementally, usually by 15 mg every 2 to 3 weeks or 30 mg every 30 days. The goal is to reach a maintenance dose, which typically ranges from 60 to 120 mg per day.

During the titration process, it’s vital to monitor clinical response and conduct regular laboratory evaluations, including serum levels of TSH, Free T4, and Free T3. Adjustments to the thyroid hormone dosage should be made within the first four weeks of therapy based on these evaluations. The goal is to avoid overmedication or overstimulation from the T3 component of an NDT drug.

Failure to respond to doses of 180 mg per day may suggest issues such as malabsorption or a failure to take the drug consistently.

Free T3

Free T3 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Levels of this fluctuate when individuals have an under or overactive thyroid gland.


Thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH, is the hormone responsible for controlling hormone production by the thyroid gland. The hormone TSH is considered the most sensitive marker for screening for thyroid diseases and conditions. Our thyroid panel is ideal for TSH testing at home and will tell you how your levels compare to normal TSH levels.

TPO Antibodies

Thyroid peroxidase antibodies are antibodies that can bind to thyroid enzymes, suppressing thyroid function. They are elevated in a condition called Hashimoto's disease, which is the most common type of hypothyroidism in the USA.

Free T4

Free T4 is the predominant hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Levels fluctuate when individuals have an under or overactive thyroid gland. Testing your free T4 with this thyroid function test lets you see if your thyroid hormone production is at a normal level.

Reverse T3


RT3 is a metabolite of T4. Typically, when T4 loses an atom of iodine—a process known as monodeiodination—it becomes (T3), the active thyroid hormone.The body also converts T4 into rT3, which is an inactive form of T3 that is incapable of the metabolic activity that is normally carried out by T3.

Vitamin D


Some observational studies have found low blood levels of vitamin D in patients with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s as well as hyperthyroidism due to Gravesʼ disease. It is not clear from these studies if low vitamin D is a cause, a consequence or an innocent bystander in the development of these common thyroid conditions.

How long does dose titration take?

How long it takes to titrate thyroid hormone replacement medication can vary based on your specific clinical scenario and the medication you’re taking. However, the typical timeframe for dose titration involves adjusting the dosage over a period of weeks to several months.

According to research, steady-state thyroid levels are generally achieved around six weeks after initiation of therapy in general. But keep in mind that some patients do require multiple adjustments, and need more time to reach a stable dose.

A note from Paloma

Dose titration for thyroid hormone replacement medication should be a personalized process that considers your specific health situation and your response to the thyroid medication. Starting with an appropriate initial dose and adjusting it gradually – based on your clinical response and testing biomarkers – helps you achieve and maintain optimal thyroid levels within the reference range. Close monitoring throughout the titration process is necessary to ensure your well-being and the effectiveness of the treatment.

Paloma Health’s home thyroid test kit offers a convenient and comprehensive solution for individuals undergoing dose titration of thyroid hormone replacement medication. The at-home test kit allows patients and practitioners to regularly and conveniently test and track thyroid hormone levels, including TSH, Free T3, Free T4, and Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies. It’s also especially convenient because you don’t need frequent office visits.

The quick and easy process of collecting a blood sample, coupled with the prompt delivery of results, empowers you and your healthcare provider to make informed and effective decisions about dose adjustments based on accurate and meaningful insights into your thyroid function.

Dealing with Hypothyroidism?  Video chat with a thyroid doctor

Get answers and treatments in minutes without leaving home - anytime. Consult with a U.S. board certified doctor who only treats hypothyroidism via high-quality video. Insurance accepted.


Jonklaas J. Optimal Thyroid Hormone Replacement. Endocr Rev. 2022 Mar 9;43(2):366-404. doi: 10.1210/endrev/bnab031. PMID: 34543420; PMCID: PMC8905334.

Levothyroxine / Liothyronine Dosage Guide + Max Dose, Adjustments. Published 2023. Accessed December 12, 2023.

Duntas LH, Jonklaas J. Levothyroxine Dose Adjustment to Optimise Therapy Throughout a Patient’s Lifetime. Adv Ther. 2019 Sep;36(Suppl 2):30-46. doi: 10.1007/s12325-019-01078-2. Epub 2019 Sep 4. PMID: 31485977; PMCID: PMC6822824.

Jonklaas J, Bianco AC, Bauer AJ, et al. Guidelines for the Treatment of Hypothyroidism: Prepared by the American Thyroid Association Task Force on Thyroid Hormone Replacement. Thyroid. 2014;24(12):1670-1751. doi:

Cappola, Anne R. “Design of the Optimal Trial of Combination Therapy.” Front. Endocrinol., 03 April 2020 Sec. Thyroid Endocrinology. Volume 11 - 2020 |

Clyde PW, Harari AE, Getka EJ, Shakir KMM. Combined Levothyroxine Plus Liothyronine Compared With Levothyroxine Alone in Primary Hypothyroidism. JAMA. 2003;290(22):2952. doi:

Armour Thyroid, Adthyza (thyroid desiccated) dosing, indications, interactions, adverse effects, and more.

Thyroid Desiccated Dosage Guide + Max Dose, Adjustments. Accessed December 11, 2023.

Hueston WJ. Treatment of Hypothyroidism. American Family Physician. 2001;64(10):1717-1725.

Share article:

Mary Shomon

Patient Advocate

Mary Shomon is an internationally-recognized writer, award-winning patient advocate, health coach, and activist, and the New York Times bestselling author of 15 books on health and wellness, including the Thyroid Diet Revolution and Living Well With Hypothyroidism. On social media, Mary empowers and informs a community of more than a quarter million patients who have thyroid and hormonal health challenges.

Read more

Is Paloma Right For Me?

Hypothyroidism is a long-term commitment and we’re committed to you. Schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation with one of our intake specialists to find out more.

Schedule a call
thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism

Find out if Paloma is right for you. Schedule a free call with one of our health care advisors.

Schedule a Call