How are YOU doing with the current desiccated thyroid shortages?

Pills Spilled Shortages

(This post garnered a lot of attention, up to FIFTY comments just a few hours after it went up. People are very interested in sharing their experiences in coping with the shortages! See below and add your own.)

This year will go down in history as shockingly miserable for enlightened thyroid patients on natural desiccated thyroid.

First came a reformulation in the most popular brand–Armour by Forest Labs. Patients worldwide in groups and forums reported a serious return of their hypothyroid symptoms on this product. A huge disappointment.

Second came the production shutdown of the two generic makers of desiccated thyroid: Time Caps Labs and Major Pharmaceuticals. It’s the first step in the FDA’s compliance plan to corral all grandfathered-in drugs (drugs already in existence when the the FDA was created in 1938) and make them each prove the efficacy and safety of their medication via very expensive clinical trials.  i.e. over 110 years of safe and effective use of desiccated thyroid is not enough for the FDA?? We are still waiting to see the outcome of that plan with RLC  and Forest Labs.–the two who were actually in existence before 1938.

Third came demand being greater than supply and shortages. Because of informative patient websites like Stop the Thyroid Madness,  Sheila’s TPA-UK, Lyn’s ThyroidUK, Stephanie’s Natural Thyroid Choices, some areas of about.com (and other good websites I don’t mean to miss here), plus many fine patient forums and groups,  patients found out why they had continuing symptoms on T4 thyroxine, and demand for natural desiccated thyroid grew exponentially.

STTM then created a list of options for all thyroid patients until the shortages resolved themselves, and also created CDT (Coalition for Desiccated Thyroid) where patients could discuss alternatives in a supportive and factual atmosphere.

And we’ve seen some interesting experiences and comments:

The new Armour: One grain tabs started to appear on some pharmacy shelves the past month.  Other pharmacies have still been waiting.  Many patients appear to have switched to other alternatives, though. One gal still on it feels she is finding success by adding T3 to the amount of new Armour she is on.  Time will tell if patients can ever find success with the newly formulated Armour, and most feel it’s a huge loss.

Naturethroid and Westhroid: Patients reporting on their switch to either of RLC Lab’s two identical products report doing well, having to raise it slightly or lower it slightly, or just not liking them at all. Others have had a hard time finding it on their pharmacy shelves, but have been seeing some appear in the last few weeks.

Erfa’s Thyroid from Canada: When it became clear that the FDA was allowing this excellent product to be shipped to patients, many switched and had their prescriptions faxed to a Canadian pharmacy. Prices at many of those pharmacy websites were doubled after prescriptions started to come in from the US. Most patient who stuck with it seem to love it, reporting you can do it sublingually, as well. A few haven’t been impressed, but were finding their former success by raising it.

Compounded desiccated thyroid: In spite of being a more expensive option, some patients found success with this. Others learned they preferred the filler to be Acidophiles.  If not the latter, Microcrystalline Cellulose was preferred over Methyl Cellulose–the latter which appeared to lessen the effectiveness of the compounded thyroid.

Synthetic T4 and Synthetic T3: some patients switched back to the synthetic combination, but many report that it hasn’t been as effective as desiccated thyroid was.

Other options: Patients moved to OTC products like Nutri-Meds, etc, which can be much weaker. Others sought desiccated thyroid from other countries and have found success.

So I’d like to hear from all of you.   Did you go back to synthetic T4?  What desiccated thyroid did you switch to? What worked and why? What didn’t work for you and why?  What product do you hope to switch to once you run out of your current meds?

106 Responses to “How are YOU doing with the current desiccated thyroid shortages?”

  1. Sam

    I have been hypothyroid for about 12 years. I was on natures throyd and then armor most of those years. However, with out changes or provocation back in 2010, my tsh levels started plummeting and if course my T3 and T4 went with it. My doctor eventually (after I gained a bunch of weight), raised my medicine from 1-2 grains to 4 grains. This put my numbers back in clinical ranges except that my tsh stayed at 0. And no changes happened with the weight and I developed hashimotos…. so fast forwarding, 5 years later and 8 doctors later, I have found 1 that said that I am having an allergic reaction to the porcine thyroid. We decreased my medicine by half and sure enough, my tpo levels went down as well. So currently I am on 2 grains of natures throid, 60mcg of time release t4, and 45mcg of time release t3…. Still no changes in weight…. My doctor is telling me I need off the porcine… the problem I am having is finding a good bovine or ovine product that is organic and works.. I am questioning now though, if my problem is pig or if it is armor and natures throyd formulas… Has anyone else had problems with medicine induced hashimotos? If so what we’re your experiences with getting tpo levels and rt3 levels down? Also, anyone have a good recommendation for a bovine or ovine product that is organic? I am truly at a loss for what to do. All I know is that I feel horrible with this extra weight and never being hungry…. I need help and can’t find any doctors that are knowledgeable. 🙁

    Reply
    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Sam, just a few observations/ideas from another patient for you to explore:

      1) You said both your TSH and your free’s plummeted. If you really mean that your TSH fell at the same time as the free’s fell, that can point to hypopituitary. See http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/hypopituitary

      2) You stated that at 4 grains, your numbers were back in clinical ranges and TSH was 0. We tend to have a low TSH on optimal doses of NDT, so that’s not unusual…though it doesn’t sound like you were optimal. It’s where we fall that counts, not just falling in the range. This explains: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values

      3) As far as an “allergic reaction to porcine NDT”: we have noticed that that is only true if we also react to bacon and ham or other pig products. Do you? If so, ThyroGold is an excellent over-the-counter desiccated thyroid made from cows.

      4) Unless you answer a definitive yes to #3 above, I would personally question if your problem is both Armour and Naturethroid. Have you tested your iron levels? Have you tested your cortisol levels?? Read this page: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me

      5) Thyroid meds don’t cause Hashimotos. What does cause it for ‘many’ is either a tendency towards autoimmune diseases, or the gut/diet/sensitivity to gluten.

      Reply
      • Sam

        Wow, thank you for such a quick response. I have had my pituitary checked. The only low hormone is my tsh and i also did an mri and no tumors showed… my tsh levels remain a 0 no matter what we do with the meds. (Ie. Raising or lowering). My doctor blamed it on the armor thyroid because my tpo and rt3 levels would rise and fall with the armor being increased or decreased. It was strange. So I don’t have hashimotos signs on the lower dose of natures throyd but the hashimotos comes back if I increase my natures throid… I have struggled with iron deficiencies for a lot of years. I eat desiccated liver and a vegi source everyday though and the highest I’ve gotten my ferritin is a 90 with no changes in my thyroid issues. I am still supporting my iron as well as several other vitamins. My last ferritin test was a 54 but it was because I stopped taking the liver pills for a few months. My cortisol levels are normal as is my adrenal function. I did a saliva test for this. If pig thyroid doesn’t cause hashimotos, why is it fluctuating with the natures throyd but not the synthetic? I’m really confused. I ordered a bunch of Thyroid-S from Thailand but I’m afraid to take it because I found out it was pig. The Thai company I ordered it from told me it was bovine but all the reviews say porcine.. As far as reacting to pork products, I haven’t done a pulse test when I eat pork because I never noticed a problem. I’ll do one though just to rule it out. If I but thyrogold, how much should I take to compensate for 4 grains? Thank you

        Reply
  2. Jane Turner

    I cannot take Drugs or Iodine supplements for my Hypothyroid….I have done enough research to discover American Biologics Thyroid Glandular TO BE MY SAVIOR for my Thyroid to Balance…….IT took a lot of time, dedication and Research with connections to a Lot of HERBS and lot of Drs. BAD Drugs to come to this conclustion.
    I realize Food, Colon, Stress are the main reasons the Thyroid goes OF Balance.

    Reply

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