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How Long Does Cytomel Stay in Your System? An Introductory Guide to The Drug!

The formula for Cytomel is the same as the formula for the TSH hormone. It works by stimulating the production of other thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland.

People often ask, how long does Cytomel stay in your system?

Cytomel begins to work after a few hours, but its full effect typically takes two to three days to be apparent. In terms of the duration of time it takes for Cytomel to leave your system, this depends on a number of factors. If you have been taking Cytomel at low doses for a long period (months or years), then it may take longer for your body to eliminate all traces of the drug. Also, depending on how often you take Cytomel and how much you take, it can affect how long it stays in your system.

Let us go over all the details to answer your question thoroughly.

Table of Content

Presenting Cytomel in a Nutshell

Cytomel is a thyroid hormone solution. You can use it once or twice daily to treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and simple obesity. It is also used to treat bulimia nervosa, in which case you should take it at least three times a day.

The common negative effects of Cytomel include itching, swelling, sweating, vision problems, and skin problems. If you take this medication, you may be at risk for osteoporosis and heart failure. Other side effects include insomnia (inability to sleep), headache, nausea, and blood clotting disorders.


The Duration of Action of Cytomel

Cytomel users frequently ask how long Cytomel remains in their system. Usually, people ask this question when they want to know how long the drug’s effects will last once withdrawal symptoms begin, or if they can pass a drug test. However, the answer is rarely clear and can vary from person to person.

Your body will retain Cytomel for up to 12.5 days after your last dose. Researchers estimate this period based on the half-life of a drug. Half-lives are defined as the amount of time a drug spends in the body before it is eliminated 50% by itself. 

Experts agree that Cytomel’s half-life is around 2.5 days, which means it can take up to 5 half-lives for it to be completely eliminated from the body unless it doesn’t have active metabolites. According to this calculation, Cytomel has a shelf life of 12.5 days. 

An active metabolite (which remains active after the drug has been broken down) will prolong a drug’s effect in the body. However, Cytomel has no active metabolites. The body excretes Cytomel mainly through the urine, with a small amount being excreted in stools. 

Related to read: Can Hypothyroidism Be The Cause of Sweet-smelling Urine?

Factors That Influence How Long Does Cytomel Stay in Your System

Your body’s response to Cytomel depends on how long it remains in your system. The exact period will depend on gender, dose, weight, and age. In any case, the following are the two main factors that determine how long a Cytomel stays in your system.

  • The duration of Cytomel retention in the body depends significantly on its initial dosage. Indeed, the higher the dosage, the higher the retention or clearance rate. 
  • Another factor that can influence Cytomel life is its user’s age. As you age, the half-life of a medicine increases. The reason why this occurs is that older people have more fat tissue than young people, so they are exposed to more drugs throughout their bodies. It may also be that the drug’s metabolism declines with age, causing its half-life to increase.

Related to read: How Long Can You Go Without Thyroid Medication?

Can You Stop Cytomel Abruptly?

The stopping of thyroid medication can be dangerous in many cases (at least without consulting your physician). If you abruptly stop taking your medicine, your body will not produce thyroid hormone for a few days to a few weeks, and you will feel horrible. 

It is possible for people whose thyroids have been removed or destroyed by radioactive iodine ablation to experience severe side effects if they stop taking their medication. 


You should not stop taking this medicine or change your dose without consulting your doctor first. Your symptoms may gradually improve over time.    

Cytomel Withdrawal Symptoms

You will notice a drastic decrease in your hormonal level when you stop using Cytomel or any other thyroid medication. As a result, it may cause symptoms of acute hypothyroidism. Among the symptoms of Cytomel withdrawal are:

  • Weakness
  • Paleness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Coarse hair
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation 
  • Lethargy

Most commonly, these symptoms appear with acute hypothyroidism. However, some other symptoms may also accompany these symptoms:

  • Brittle Nails
  • Delayed Reflexes (reflexes that respond abnormally slowly after stimulation)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Increased blood Pressure

Related to read: Can You Live Without A Thyroid? Yes, You Can.

Interaction With Certain Drugs and Foods: What Should I Avoid?

A drug interaction is an adverse reaction between a drug and another drug, food, or drink. In general, Cytomel is not affected by food, but certain medicines can affect liothyronine and its retention time in the body. Listed below are a few drugs that can interfere with Cytomel:

  • Cholestyramine
  • Ketamine
  • Vasopressors
  • Oral Anticoagulants
  • Insulin 
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Oral Hypoglycemics
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Digitalis
  • Estrogen 

Aside from these, some medicines can reduce the absorption of Cytomel (liothyronine). An example would be some drugs containing magnesium, aluminum, iron, antacids, or sucralfate.


Further, calcium supplements and bile acid-binding agents (such as colestipol, colesevelam, and cholestyramine) can interfere with Cytomel. Also, avoid products containing significant amounts of sevelamer, sodium polystyrene sulfonate, and simethicone. 

The absorption of thyroid hormones is also inhibited by certain foods, alcohol, and enteral feedings. Thus, it is best to take your thyroid hormones with a glass of water on an empty stomach. It is possible for food to reduce the absorption of thyroid hormones. 

The following are a few examples of interacting foods, but they are not exhaustive.

  • Walnuts
  • Soy infant formulas
  • Soy protein
  • Liquid nutrition shakes
  • High fiber foods

If taking thyroid hormones before food, do so 1 hour before eating. If you intend to take Thyroid hormones with tubes or nutritional supplements, take them 1 hour before you take the products.

Related to read: 10 Best Hyperthyroid Diet And Exercise For Hyperthyroidism


How long does T3 thyroid stay in your system?

Typically, all the traces of T3 hormone are removed in about 4 days with a functionally normal thyroid gland. However, if you suffer from liver, stomach, or thyroid dysfunction, the T3 retention or elimination period can be affected.

What is the half-life of Cytomel?

The half-life of Cytomel is about 24 hours, and its metabolites are excreted in the urine. Importantly, first-pass effects are extensive. Hence, oral administration of Cytomel results in around 2/3rds of the dose being metabolized before it even reaches the bloodstream.

What time of day should I take Cytomel?

It is best to take Cytomel at a fixed time every day, whether you take it in the morning or the evening. However, you should take it on an empty stomach, at least half an hour or 2 hours before or after the meal. Moreover, follow all the directions provided by your health provider. 

What are the most common side effects of Cytomel?

As a whole, Cytomel has low chances of severe allergic or drug reactions. But some side effects can occur by misuse of drugs. Following are the more likely to occur side effects with Cytomel:

  • Rash, itching, or swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • irregular menstrual period
  • muscle weakness
  • increased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Irritability

Can I take Cytomel and Synthroid together?

As per American Thyroid Association guidelines, you should not take Synthroid and Cytomel together. Despite this, many people are taking this combined treatment under the supervision of their endocrinologist; they are gaining good results. 

Does Cytomel cause weight gain?

Indeed, yes! As a side effect of Cytomel, weight gain or loss may occur. But, it is not meant to be used for weight loss or gain.

Finally, We Conclude 

Cytomel is a drug used to treat low thyroid function, but it can also be abused as a performance-enhancing substance. In addition to knowing how long does Cytomel stay in your system, it’s important to know that there are specific side effects of the drug that you must pay attention to if you’ve taken it before. 

Moreover, consult your doctor regularly to ensure that the drug is still working properly and that you do not have any negative side effects.

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