Gerontologic Alert

Older adults are more sensitive to thyroid hormone replacement therapy and are more likely to experience adverse reactions when taking the thyroid hormones. In addition, the elderly are at increased risk for adverse cardiovascular reactions when taking thyroid drugs. The initial dosage is smaller for an older adult, and increases, if necessary, are made in smaller increments during a period of about 8 weeks. Periodic thyroid function tests are necessary to monitor drug therapy. Dosage may need to be reduced with age. If the pulse rate is 100 bpm or more, the nurse notifies the primary health care provider before the drug is administered.

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