Natural Desiccated Thyroid 101 (NDT) (And this info can apply to taking T4 with T3.)
- 1) How long has natural desiccated thyroid been around?
- 2) What’s always been the big deal about natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), especially before it was changed over the past few years?
- 3) What are the brands of desiccated natural thyroid? Is one better than the other?
- 4) Can I take natural thyroid if I have autoimmune Hashimotos’s disease??
- 5) If on T4-only, how have patients reported moving over to NDT or T4/T3?
- 6) If not on any thyroid meds, what do patients report as a good starting dose of NDT?
- 7) What if one wants to move from T4-only, to treating with both Synthetic T4 and T3?
- 8) What is an optimal amount of NDT (or T4/T3) and what are common doses to achieve optimal?
- 9) But I feel great on non-optimal doses of NDT (or T4/T3)! Am I an exception to the optimal amounts?
- 10) Are patients taking NDT or T4/T3 once a day?
- 11) What do patients notice when optimal on NDT or T4/T3 (#6 below is especially important)?
- 12) Why do I not see the TSH mentioned above?
- 13) My free T3 is optimal and at the top of the range, yet I feel horrible and my free T4 is lower in the range. Why?
- 14) Can patients go by those Synthroid-to-NDT equivalency charts?
- 15) Are there any non-prescription desiccated thyroid products?
- 16) Do patients swallow, chew it up first, or do NDT or T3 sublingually?
- 17) Why is the T3 in desiccated thyroid, or straight T3 with the T4, or T3 alone, so important?
- 18) How do I find a doctor who understands desiccated thyroid or T4/ T3 or T3-only?
- 19) I’ve read bad reviews with NDT. What are they talking about?
- 20) Do I have to treat my adrenals before getting on or using NDT or T3?
- 21) Can I get on NDT or T4 if I already know I have a high Reverse T3 (RT3)
- 22) Why do some patients take T3-only instead of desiccated thyroid or T4/T3?
- 23) If one is retirement age or older, are they supposed to lower NDT or T3 a great deal? Or not use it?
- 24) Why does my doctor say NDT is “unstable”?
- 25) What fillers, etc, are in Natural Desiccated Thyroid or T3?
- 26) Any other tips?
- WANT TO COUNTER BAD INFORMATION OUT THERE? It’s extremely important to be informed. This is why I, Janie, wrote the updated revised STTM book. Read. Study!! Underline. Highlight. Bookmark. We have no choice to be informed to get well.
- Related: 8 Prescription Meds that Make It Harder to Lose Weight
- Related: There Are 6 Types Of Body Fat—Here’s What You Need To Know About Them
- Related: How to Lose Weight Fast Without Crash Dieting
- Armour Thyroid
- What You Need to Know About Hypothyroidism Extract Medications
Natural Desiccated Thyroid 101 (NDT) (And this info can apply to taking T4 with T3.)
**Sadly, starting in 2009 and culminating by 2019, most NDT brands are not the good and consistent NDT’s they used to be. The worst ones now are NP Thyroid and Naturethroid. Close behind in ineffectiveness are WP Thyroid and Erfa.
At the time of writing this, the only NDTs that can work are Armour (and many are adding T3 to it), Thyroid-S made in Thailand (the other Thai brands are getting hard to find), and compounded NDT (they still use an effective source). Over-the-counter brands of NDT can work, but there are occasional batches that cause a return of hypo symptoms or odd labs as reported by some patients)
Natural Thyroid, also known as Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT), is a hypothyroid treatment that has been around a long time (since the 1890s) and turned lives around. It’s often by prescription and is real thyroid i.e. made from dried and powdered thyroid from pigs (mixed from several pigs, not one). Pigs are close in compatibility to human cells, thus why it always worked so well, plus gives you what a healthy human thyroid would be giving as far as all the thyroid hormones. It always met the stringent guidelines of the US Pharmacopeia, i.e made according to certain quality standards, contrary to what some doctors say.
There is more info on NDT, plus applies to taking T4/T3, in Chapter 2 of the world-renowned 2019 UPDATED REVISION of Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Thyroid Treatment.
PLEASE NOTE: this page as a whole comes under the DMCA or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, meaning this page is protected under copyright law. That means you are not welcome to copy this entire page, or even sections, or graphics, without asking for permission from Stop the Thyroid Madness LLC.
1) How long has natural desiccated thyroid been around?
Natural Thyroid began it’s debut by the late 1890’s. For very interesting information on its history & details on the product itself, see the updated revised STTM book, Chapter 2. There is also another chapter on NDT in the STTM II book by a doctor.
Natural desiccated thyroid gives you exactly what your own thyroid would be giving you: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. Thus, you aren’t totally dependent on conversion as you would be on T4-only–you’re getting some direct T3 in NDT. When optimal, it has always removed depression, improved the immune system for Hashi’s patients, prevented us from falling into adrenal fatigue due to being a better treatment, lowers high cholesterol, improve bone and heart health, remove T4-only-caused pain, on and on. READ Chapter Two of the revised STTM book for excellent details about NDT, those five hormones, and more. Note that OPTIMAL puts the free T3 towards the top part of the range and the free T4 midrange. Both.
***Even using the two synthetics for T4 and T3 has met success if one’s optimal dose is found, say a lot of patients.
3) What are the brands of desiccated natural thyroid? Is one better than the other?
NDT brands and fillers are all listed here. Everyone has had their favorite. Also read about the changes that occurred. You will also see different brands of T3 for those who take the T4/T3 route of treatment.
4) Can I take natural thyroid if I have autoimmune Hashimotos’s disease??
Definitely if you use a good source of NDT (which is now harder to find). NDT would often cause a rise in antibodies. But as patients make their way to optimal (free T3 towards the top of range; free T4 midrange), that stops, which we think is due to an improved immune system.
Get the patient-to-patient book Hashimoto’s: Taming the Beast to learn a great deal about Hashi’s, about triggers and what to do about them, about gut health, lots of research, and best of all, a great deal of patient experiences on how they put their Hashi’s into REMISSION!
5) If on T4-only, how have patients reported moving over to NDT or T4/T3?
- If on T4 like Synthroid or Levothyroxine, a lot of patients have reported taking it a final day…
- …then the next day, patients start on natural desiccated thyroid with a starting dose of one grain/60 mg.
- Or if just adding T3 to the T4, patients lower the T4 a bit and add in approx 5 mcg T3 in 3 days or so. T3 is raised by the same amount until optimal. Doing labs is VERY important.
- On prescription NDT, patients then raise by 1/2 grain every two weeks or so, as long as there are no negative symptoms. On OTC ndt, it’s a guessing game, so labs are VERY important.
- Negative symptoms while raising towards an optimal dose usually point to inadequate iron or a cortisol problem
6) If not on any thyroid meds, what do patients report as a good starting dose of NDT?
When first starting out (and you need to only move to the remaining good ones), one grain (60/65 mg) has been a safe “starting dose” for most, patients have reported. Then what is in the above graphic. Note that one grain of most NDT’s is 38 mcg T4 and 9 mcg T3. That will give a good idea if also treating with T4 and T3.
7) What if one wants to move from T4-only, to treating with both Synthetic T4 and T3?
Generally, we have lowered the T4 a bit for a few days (allowing the conversion to T3 to slow down), then we add in direct T3. Starting doses of T3 vary, but 5 mcg is safe for most, and dosing that 5 mcg twice a day (5 and 5) . Then raising by that much for each dose, and retesting the free T3 once taking a total of 25 mcg T3. It’s also about tweaking based on the free T3 and free T4 lab test.
8) What is an optimal amount of NDT (or T4/T3) and what are common doses to achieve optimal?
For either, optimal is reflected by a free T3 towards the top part of the range, and free T4 midrange. Thus why doing the free T3 and free T4 labs are important. What amount achieves optimal? It varies between individuals. If we stay lower than optimal, hypo symptoms return, sooner or later.
Many people will feel better on the lower doses…at first. But it eventually backfires. Why? It’s not meeting the demands of your body over time. Thus, hypothyroidism will return. The individuality is when.
10) Are patients taking NDT or T4/T3 once a day?
Most patients have reported finding it beneficial to divide their dose to at least twice a day in order to spread the energy-giving affect of T3 when it’s most needed. An example is taking 2/3 of your natural desiccated thyroid or T4/T3 in the morning, and the other 1/3 in the early afternoon. (Or if on T3 alone, more in the morning than in the second dose). And the theory was the fact that one’s own thyroid, if healthy, would have given you what you need throughout the day instead of one dump; thus, we replicate that when T3 is in our treatment.
11) What do patients notice when optimal on NDT or T4/T3 (#6 below is especially important)?
GRAPHIC SUMMARY: Patients report seeing these outcomes when they are optimal (along with optimal iron and cortisol:
- the near complete removal of hypothyroid symptoms
- a mid-afternoon temp of 98.6F or 37C
- a before-rising morning temperature of 97.8-98.2F (as learned from Dr. Broda Barnes)
- a good heartrate and blood pressure
- improved energy because our metabolism is better
- a free T3 in towards the top part of the range and a free T4 around mid-range. The latter labwork has been noticed frequently over the years when optimal. Yes, optimal seems to push the TSH lab result below range without a hint of hyper! i.e. though Graves disease results in a very low TSH, our low TSH isn’t the same, thus dispelling the fear-mongering by doctors that we will get bone loss or heart problems.
12) Why do I not see the TSH mentioned above?
Because patients discovered it’s more about the free T4 and free T3, not the TSH, which is a pituitary hormone. The goal is always about the free’s, NOT the TSH. Also, when the optimal levels of the frees are reached, the TSH will fall below range. Doctors will sometimes overreact to a TSH that low, so read this page.
That can mean you are pooling due to a cortisol problem. This is the test patients use to see what’s up .
14) Can patients go by those Synthroid-to-NDT equivalency charts?
Not unless you want to stay hypothyroid, patients have reported over the years. You can’t compare the two at ALL.
15) Are there any non-prescription desiccated thyroid products?
Yes. They are usually bovine and some are mentioned on this page. Even on the over-the-counter natural thyroid supplements, its KEY to get optimal by watching the free T4 and free T3. It’s NOT just about “how you feel”. Note that on these OTC brands, patients report some batches causing a return of hypo symptoms. So beware and might be a good idea to have a backup of Thyroid-S or other.
16) Do patients swallow, chew it up first, or do NDT or T3 sublingually?
All work. But many have found that putting it under the tongue (sublingual method) seems to give a better punch, in spite of empty strong opinions that it can’t due to the molecules being too big. Even biting the tablet up into smaller chunks work. If you do swallow it, you’ll need to avoid taking iron, estrogen, calcium or high fiber as any of the latter can “partially” bind the thyroid hormones. If the tablet is quite hard due to excess cellulose, chewing it up can give better results, say some patients.
17) Why is the T3 in desiccated thyroid, or straight T3 with the T4, or T3 alone, so important?
From a defunct biology website, but still good information: In your cells, T3 is essential to reconverting ADP (the ‘flat battery’) into ATP (the ‘charged battery’). A shortage of T3 leads to a poor ratio between ATP and ADP. That would seem to explain why a long recovery period is needed after exertion; it takes a long time, at this deficient rate, to get back to a decent level of ATP so you’re ready for more activity.
And here is a study which underscores the above: http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/280/5/E761
18) How do I find a doctor who understands desiccated thyroid or T4/ T3 or T3-only?
Many doctors are very ignorant about it all. Others will prescribe, but hold you hostage to the TSH, or are afraid to go high enough to get your levels optimal. So be prepared to teach any doctor what you have learned from this page and the revised STTM book. Learn!! Study!!
19) I’ve read bad reviews with NDT. What are they talking about?
a) Initial bad reviews were because those patients were underdosed and didn’t understand the bad results from that, or the NDT was revealing an iron or cortisol problem that can be treated.
b) Now, most prescription NDT’s have changed over the past few years, away from the consistent results they used to give.
One can also be UNDERDOSED on either NDT or T3, which results in bad reactions over time. Study this page.
The below graphic also applies to taking T4/T3, or just T3.
SUMMARY OF GRAPHIC: 3 main reasons for problems when raising Natural Desiccated Thyroid:
- They didn’t raise it high enough, thus a return of hypothyroid symptoms and even too much adrenaline
- They have either too high or too low levels of cortisol. Saliva testing, not blood, is the way to find out accurately
- They have inadequate levels of serum iron, and the latter can push RT3 too high
OTHER LESS COMMON REASONS: allergy to fillers, allergy to porcine (they might also note that when eating bacon or ham), genetic mutations causing a conversion issue with T4.
20) Do I have to treat my adrenals before getting on or using NDT or T3?
Most with a cortisol problem, as revealed by a saliva test, can tolerate small amounts of a working NDT, or T3. But you will still need to discover and treat the adrenal problem in order to raise and get optimal.
An adrenal issue is why you need to read the updated revision STTM book. Chapters 5 and 6 go over it all. And the updated revision has many updates in those chapters.
21) Can I get on NDT or T4 if I already know I have a high Reverse T3 (RT3)
We learned the hard way that a very high RT3 is going to need mostly T3, plus to treat the causes of that high RT3. Read all about RT3 here. More in the updated revision STTM book.
22) Why do some patients take T3-only instead of desiccated thyroid or T4/T3?
a) If reverse T3 (RT3) is going up when raising NDT or having T4 with T3, patients lower NDT or T4 and add in T3 to help lower RT3 while treating the cause.
b) A minority may have a mutation in the DIO1 gene which can prevent conversion of T4 to T3. Doing genetic testing such as 23andme can help find that gene mutation.
That idea of lowering comes from a study done with those on T4-only and who appeared to be overdosing themselves with T4 and had more bone fractures. But with NDT or T3, the direct T3 has helped our bone strength, not make it worse. It’s possible if your activity level dropped, you might need slightly less NDT or T3 than one does at age 30. There is also a ridiculous idea by insurance companies that NDT is harmful for older folks. That has not proven to be true. It’s all about being OPTIMAL, no matter one’s age, we have noticed as patients.
24) Why does my doctor say NDT is “unstable”?
Doctors used to say this because they don’t know what they are talking about. T4-only had been recalled MANY times due to this issue. Today, sadly, we have seen many changes to all NDT brands which aren’t resulting in the consistent product we used to know. So the “unstable” designation now fits due to unknown changes by the pharmaceutical industry, but NOT due to the NDT itself. NDT itself has changed lives since the 1890’s.
25) What fillers, etc, are in Natural Desiccated Thyroid or T3?
To see ingredients of all, go here. To see all available options for desiccated thyroid, go here.
26) Any other tips?
Many patients are keen to having an emergency backup of desiccated natural thyroid or T3 just for that–emergencies! Desiccated thyroid has a long shelf life, but you can also wrap it securely to avoid damaging moisture and place it in the refrigerator door.
Want to order your own labwork?? STTM has created the right ones just for you to discuss with your doctor. Go here: https://sttm.mymedlab.com/
Need help interpreting your lab results? Go here: www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/ Because patients have learned that lab results have nothing to do with just “falling in the normal range”.
You can now order a handy LAB VALUES REFERENCE CARD!! Go here: https://laughinggrapepublishing.com
Losing weight is no easy feat—but what happens when it feels like your own metabolism is working against you? For the almost 5 percent of people who have an underactive thyroid, and a slowed metabolism because of it, trying to lose weight can feel hopeless. According to endocrinologists, though, there are a few things you can do to bring your metabolism, and your weight loss, up to speed.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that produces thyroid hormone. Marilyn Tan, M.D., chief of Stanford Endocrine Clinic, says most people don’t even know what their thyroid is until there’s a problem with it. “Thyroid hormone is responsible for your overall metabolism,” she says. “So if you have too much thyroid hormone, you can think of everything as revved up, and conversely, if you don’t have enough, you can think of everything as being slowed down.” If your metabolism is in the revved up state because of too much thyroid hormone, you could be experiencing hyperthyroidism. And if your gland isn’t making enough? You’re probably experiencing hypothyroidism.
Related: 8 Prescription Meds that Make It Harder to Lose Weight
Though these two conditions are vastly different, they’re both usually caused by an autoimmune disease, which causes antibodies to attack the thyroid and make it produce more or less thyroid hormone than the body needs.
A host of issues can come along with both of these diagnoses, but many women worry about how their abnormal thyroid production affects their weight. Hyperthyroidism can cause unintentional weight loss, anxiety, and heart palpitations, but it can also increase the appetite, causing people to gain some weight. Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain more directly. It can also cause fatigue, heavier or irregular periods, a slowed heart rate, and chilliness.
Luckily, for the one in eight women who will develop a thyroid disorder, according to the American Thyroid Association, hormones are here to help. Tan says that when a blood test reveals abnormal levels, and she diagnoses thyroid dysfunction, she turns to T4 supplements. Also known as Levothyroxine or Synthroid, synthetic T4 is biochemically the same as the hormones that your body makes.
Watch a hot doc explain how to treat your thyroid disorder:
In a perfect world, normalizing thyroid hormone levels would help women magically lose the weight that thyroid disfunction helped them gain. But that’s not usually the case. “Normalizing the thyroid with thyroid hormone will not cause the weight gain to be reversed,” Tan says. “To lose that weight, you actually need to work at it, which I know seems very unfair because you just gained it easily.” (Speed up your progress towards your weight-loss goals with Women’s Health’s Look Better Naked DVD.)
Before you can start working off the weight normally, your endocrinologist will find the perfect dose of T4 for you, says Andrea Dunaif, M.D., chief of the Hilda and J. Lester Gabrilove Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease for the Mount Sinai Health System. “We can tell by measuring a hormone made in the pituitary gland called thyroid stimulating hormone,” she says.
Related: There Are 6 Types Of Body Fat—Here’s What You Need To Know About Them
The goal is to get the thyroid back to normal circulating levels—not above or below, though it’s tempting to think that taking in more thyroid hormone would enable faster, easier weight loss. “Somebody might have the idea that if a little bit of thyroid hormone is good, a lot would be better,” she says. “But that can have negative effects like heart arrhythmias and loss of bone health.”
After an endocrinologist prescribes the optimum dose of T4, hypothyroid patients won’t be as prone to weight gain, and they’ll be able to lose weight by, put simply, creating a calorie deficit. Sherri Findley, R.D., a dietitian at University of Florida Health, says common problems are often what’s preventing her hypothyroid patients from losing weight: consuming too many calories, not consuming enough calories, lack of exercise, and skipping meals, which can cause blood sugar to dip. “Blood sugar stability is huge for hormone health, which can impact metabolism, appetite, and cravings,” she says.
Related: How to Lose Weight Fast Without Crash Dieting
Instead of focusing on eating less, Findley’s advice is to eat more foods in their natural states. “My wish list for people struggling with weight is that we could move away from pre-packaged, pre-processed, science-based food and more toward whole food nutrition, which is what nature intended.”
Carly Breit Web Editorial Fellow Carly Breit is a freelance writer who loves to write about health, wellness, and strong women.
One of the most popular drugs in the country, levothyroxine – also known as the brand name Synthroid – is in short supply, making prices higher and even leaving some patients without the drug. The shortage is a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which hit Puerto Rico nearly four months ago, and knocked out manufacturing facilities for many drugs and medical supplies, including levothyroxine.
Walmart, for instance, has more than doubled their cash prices for levothyroxine. Before the shortage, Walmart offered 30 tablets of all dosages of levothyroxine for $4 and 90 tablets for $10. Now, 30 tablets is $9, and 90 tablets is $24.
Walmart issued a statement informing the public of their price increase:
“Effective December 8th, 2017, your price will increase temporarily to $9 per 30-day supply or $24 per 90-day supply. We value your loyalty and business and are committed to offering you affordable pharmacy products and services. We’ll return to regular pricing as soon as this shortage has been resolved.”
In other places, the shortage means that patients are leaving their pharmacy without the medicine altogether. Many consumers are turning to Twitter to share their stories:
At present, the FDA has not added levothyroxine to their official shortage list, even as some patients are being blindsided at the pharmacy over levothyroxine’s cost and availability.
Levothyroxine is among the most prescribed medications in the United States; it is a lifesaving maintenance drug used to treat hypothyroidism. Simply skipping a dose, or waiting till you can afford it it is a dangerous option. Patients who suddenly stop taking levothyroxine may go into withdrawal and may experience symptoms like debilitating weight loss, panic attacks, fatigue, muscle weakness, and nausea.
If you have found it difficult to fill your levothyroxine prescription, or you’re experiencing sticker shock at the pharmacy, here are a couple of alternatives you can try.
Armour Thyroid is considered the natural alternative to levothyroxine. While it is not the first-choice treatment for those with a thyroid condition, according to our friends at Iodine, many people actually prefer Armour Thyroid over levothyroxine. Why? Let’s get into the differences between levothyroxine and Armour Thyroid to explain that.
The main difference lies in how these drugs are manufactured. Levothyroxine is a synthetic T4 hormone, while Armour Thyroid is a natural thyroid hormone. What does this mean? Levothyroxine’s hormone, T4, is not active in the body and has to be processed into a different hormone, called T3, to work its magic. Levothyroxine is also synthetic, meaning that all of the hormones it contains are man-made in a laboratory. In contrast, Armour Thyroid is a natural thyroid, so it comes from animal sources and includes both the T3 and T4 hormones.
Because levothyroxine only includes the T4 hormone, some argue that it might not work for everyone. While studies haven’t shown that Armour Thyroid’s combination T3-T4 therapy is superior to levothyroxine’s T4 therapy, it might account for the high ratings from patients.
Thinking of switching? Here are some things you need to be aware of.
- Birth controls and estrogens have been shown to decrease the effectiveness of Armour Thyroid. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you are taking a birth control.
- Try to avoid antacids within four hours of taking Armour Thyroid, as they can make it harder to absorb the hormones.
- Armour Thyroid and levothyroxine are not interchangeable, so 1 mg of Armour Thyroid is not the same as 1 mg of levothyroxine. It may take some time to determine what dose of Armour Thyroid will work best for you, so as always, consult with your doctor.
- There are no generic versions of Armour Thyroid, and it isn’t covered by many insurance plans, but you can pay as little as $25 with a GoodRx coupon, depending on your location.
- You cannot substitute Armour Thyroid for levothyroxine and will need to get a new prescription from your doctor.
Put drug prices & coupons in your pocket! We’ll text you a link to download our free Android or iPhone app Get GoodRx Mobile App Your link is on the way!
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Just like levothyroxine, Cytomel (liothyronine) is another synthetic thyroid medication. But there is a difference. While levothyroxine is a synthetic version of the T4 hormone, Cytomel is a synthetic version of the T3 hormone. Remember how levothyroxine’s T4 hormone has to be processed into the T3 hormone in the body? Since Cytomel contains the T3 hormone, there is no processing needed.
But there is a downside to this. The T3 hormone is absorbed rapidly in the body, which can lead to thyroid hormone toxicity (hyperthyroidism) in some cases. Don’t let this scare you though, Cytomel is safe if used correctly. Be sure to work with your doctor to keep your thyroid hormone levels healthy.
Another downside? According to our friends at Iodine, 13% of people rated that Cytomel was ineffective for them. This side-effect can be common with many thyroid medications, but this is still important to keep in mind.
Thinking of switching? Here are some things you need to be aware of.
- Cytomel has a generic, liothyronine, that is affordable. The average retail price for liothyronine is $33.24 and can be reduced to as little as $12.77 with a GoodRx coupon.
- You may need to work with your doctor to find the right dosage for you.
- Periodic blood tests are a must.
- Cytomel also has many food and drug interactions you should be aware of. For instance, birth control pills, estrogen, anticoagulants, ketamine, antidepressants, and vasopressor medications may interact negatively with Cytomel. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you are taking any of these medications.
- Common side effects include chest pain, diarrhea, weight change, fatigue, headache, insomnia, dizziness, and depression. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you experience any of these for a prolonged period of time.
- You cannot substitute Cytomel for levothyroxine and will need to get a new prescription from your doctor.
Levoxyl (levothyroxine) is a brand name only medication used to treat hypothyroidism and has the same active ingredient as Synthroid – levothyroxine. Just like Synthroid, Levoxyl is also a synthetic T4 hormone. Overall, Synthroid and Levoxyl are quite similar, so why isn’t Levoxyl as well known?
Pfizer, the manufacturer of Levoxyl, lost their market share for levothyroxine products a couple of years back. In 2013, Pfizer pulled Levoxyl from the market because of a suspicious odor emitted from the packaging. After this recall, Levoxyl was off the market for about a year, causing many consumers to switch to alternatives, and they never looked back. Pfizer officially lost their market share. Out of sight, out of mind.
Despite this recall, after Levoxyl’s return to the market, there has been little concern over the safety of the medication, making it an adequate alternative to Synthroid.
Thinking of switching? Here are some things you need to be aware of.
- Levoxyl has a patient savings program that can help you save $5 off your monthly prescription. For more information see Pfizer’s website here.
- While there is no generic available, the brand is still quite affordable, with an average retail price of $33.29.
- Even though they contain the same active ingredient, you cannot substitute Levoxyl for levothyroxine and will need to get a new prescription from your doctor.
- Springfield Pharmacy
Dispense both NHS and private prescriptions
Springfield Pharmacy, 124 Sheen Road, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey TW9 1UR, tell us that they now have Armour in stock. ‘Thyroid’ by ERFA seems to be much easier to get hold of. ERFA tell us that Springfield Pharmacy is also one of their listed UK suppliers.
Springfield Pharmacy are able to access a few different brands of T3 with a private prescription whereas your local pharmacy may be willing to access the UK brand only.
Tel: 0208 940 2304; Fax: 0208 940 2661; Website: http://www.springfieldpharmacy.co.uk
- The Specials Laboratory
(Letter of clinical need required to say the patient has hypothyroidism but they will dispense the medication as long as this is sent within two weeks)
- Tollesbury Pharmacy – Mychem Ltd
Pharmacy and Wholesale Pharmacy
Dispense both NHS and private prescriptions
A UK based registered pharmacy in Essex dispensing NHS and Private prescriptions including all brands of Natural Desiccated Thyroid hormone (NDT).
They have dealt with natural thyroid hormone brands such as Armour, Erfa, WP Thyroid, Nature Throid and NP Thyroid for over 16 years and have wide experience in sourcing these products from reputable wholesalers within the UK through their extensive links within the U.K. They also routinely stock Liothyronine (Henning, Cytomel, Cynomel, SigmaPharm etc).
They comply with GPhC standards and are members of the NPA and RPS. They are also wholesalers and are registered with MHRA.
They send the medicine back to the patient by a secure courier, which means that all medication can be tracked and has to be signed for to ensure the safety of the medication and safe and accurate receipt to the patient, to comply with their audit procedures. There is no charge for postage and packing for routine non-weekday delivery.
Tel: 01621 860511; Fax: 01621 869557; Email: [email protected]
Check for availability and price first, put your phone number on the back of the original prescription and post to us.
Prescriptions can be sent to: Mychem Ltd, Tollesbury Pharmacy, 12A East Street, Tollesbury, Maldon, Essex CM9 8QD
- UL Medicines Ltd
Last updated: 20.03.19 (V1.0)
What You Need to Know About Hypothyroidism Extract Medications
Made from dried and powdered pig thyroid glands, the thyroid extract medications Armour, NP Thyroid, Nature-Thyroid and WP Thyroid seem to be making a comeback. In a recent American Thyroid Association survey of more than 12,000 people with hypothyroidism, early results released this spring showed that about 30% reportedly took natural or compounded thyroid medications. During the 2016 presidential election, a thyroid extract made national headlines when Hillary Clinton’s medical report showed she was taking Armour for a low-thyroid condition. 1
Once the mainstay of hypothyroid treatment, thyroid extracts fell out of use in the 1970s with the rise of synthetic levothyroxine. 2 While levothyroxine is used by most people with hypothyroidism—and one of America’s top-selling drugs—there’s growing interest in thyroid extracts among people whose low-thyroid symptoms don’t seem to lift with levothyroxine alone. And lately, there’s been cautious interest among doctors and researchers, too.
Also called desiccated thyroid extract, these drugs are prescription-only. They’re not recommended for older adults. Government health groups consider desiccated thyroid extracts “high risk” for people age 65+ and Medicare doesn’t cover them due to higher risk for dangerous, off-beat heart rhythms in older people who may have heart problems.3
Yesterday and Today
Animal thyroid extracts were first used to treat hypothyroidism in the Western world in the early 1890s. And there’s evidence Chinese healers had been recommending them for far longer – sometimes mixed with fruit so they tasted better.4 Up through the 1960s, 80% of thyroid prescriptions written in the U.S. were for natural extracts.4 But at the time, levels of hormones in extracts were not consistent. Some had twice as much as the label said, some had none at all. And the tablets didn’t have a very long shelf life.
When synthetic levothyroxine took off in the 1970s, doctors saw extracts as a thing of the past – and wrote medical-journal articles with titles like “Why does anyone still use desiccated thyroid” and “Desiccated thyroid preparations — obsolete therapy.”
Today, levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are standardized in desiccated thyroid extracts. And doctors and researchers are paying attention to people who say they feel better on these drugs. For some people with hypothyroidism, synthetic T4 doesn’t seem to get converted into T3 – the form cells throughout your body and brain use. The experience of people who take thyroid extract has provided a research clue for researchers trying to understand what’s going on.
More than just T4
Unlike synthetic levothyroxine – the thyroid hormone T4, which the body normally converts to an active and more potent form called T3 – desiccated thyroid extracts contain T4 plus T3 as well as small amounts of thyroid co-factors T1, T2, calcitonin and iodine. Some proponents say this suite of ingredients is more “natural.” Others say they just feel better taking it.
In one of the only studies comparing desiccated thyroid extract to levothyroxine, doctors from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, compared the results when 70 people with hypothyroidism took each medication for 16 weeks. Afterward, 49% said they preferred the extract, 18% preferred levothyroxine and 33% had no preference. “Patients who preferred DTE lost approximately 4 pounds …compared with L-T4 treatment. In addition, their general well-being and thyroid symptoms were significantly better,” the researchers report.
And in a 2014 study5 in the Journal of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Obesity of 154 women and men who didn’t feel better while taking levothyroxine, 78% who switched to a thyroid extract said they preferred it. Side effects were minor.
But medical groups like the American Thyroid Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists warn that long-term studies are needed.
“Although there is preliminary evidence from a short-duration study that some patients may prefer treatment using thyroid extracts, high-quality controlled long-term outcome data are lacking to document superiority of this treatment compared to levothyroxine therapy,” the ATA notes in its most recent treatment guidelines6 for people with hypothyroidism. And in its 2012 joint guidelines7 with the ATA, the AACE voiced a similar opinion: “There is no evidence to support using desiccated thyroid hormone in preference to L-thyroxine monotherapy in the treatment of hypothyroidism and therefore desiccated thyroid hormone should not be used…”
One concern: Thyroid extracts have three and a half times more T3 in relation to T4 compared to the ratio produced by a healthy human thyroid gland. That could lead to too-high T3 levels, which might affect heart health, bone density and cause symptoms normally found in people with an overactive thyroid, the American Thyroid Association warns. The ATA cites one study that found “a larger number of hyperthyroid symptoms when individuals were taking desiccated thyroid preparations compared with levothyroxine preparations, which was attributed to T3 effects.” And when researchers from the University of Minnesota asked endocrinologists around the country about adverse events in their patients taking desiccated thyroid extracts for a 2017 study8, they got 174 reports. Sixty-five percent seemed related to too-high levels of thyroid hormones, including weight loss, nervousness, trouble sleeping, heart palpitations and two cases of off-beat heart rhythms. “The majority of clinical symptoms reported were consistent with being the consequence of an excess of thyroid hormone action,” the researchers note.
Endocrinologist Beatriz Olson, MD, FACP, Associate Faculty and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, said she will sometimes prescribe a combination of levothyroxine and thyroid extract to patients who want to take a natural thyroid extract. “This brings the ratio of T4 to T3 more in line with normal human levels,” she explains.
Updated on: 11/07/17 Continue Reading 6 Thyroid Medication Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make View Sources
2. Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Substitution: Historical Aspects. J Lindholm. Journal of Thyroid Research. Volume 2011 (2011)
8. “Guidelines for the Treatment of Hypothyroidism Prepared by the American Thyroid Association Task Force on Thyroid Hormone Replacement.” Jonklaas J et al. Thyroid. Volume 24, Number 12, 2014
9. “Clinical practice guidelines for hypothyroidism in adults: cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association.” Garber JR et al. Endocrine Practice. 2012 Nov-Dec;18(6):988-1028.