a bottle of Armour thyroid pills

Q. When Armour thyroid disappeared, my doctor used a conversion chart to try to get the same dose for me as my Armour. So far, my hair is thinning, my fingernails are peeling back layer by layer, and I have begun to gain weight.

I am usually cold, tired and upset because I am miserable on Synthroid. I’ll have to wait another month before a blood test will tell if the dose is right. I can already tell it isn’t. I’d appreciate any information you have about getting the most from Synthroid, since I can’t get Armour any more.

A. Many people with thyroid problems do well on Synthroid, but some feel better on Armour desiccated thyroid gland. Armour has become scarce lately, with no indication when the manufacturer may replenish the supply.

Your doctor could prescribe Erfa desiccated thyroid from Canada. This is more similar to Armour than synthetic levothyroxine (Synthroid). Other options include getting a compounding pharmacy to make your dose of desiccated thyroid, or having your doctor prescribe a T3 product such as Cytomel in addition to the Synthroid.

Your symptoms suggest too little thyroid activity. We are sending you our Guide to Thyroid Hormones with more information on test results, symptoms and treatment of this condition.

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  1. gail

    Many years ago i tried synthroid..and discovered my heart couldn’t handle it…rapid heartbeats…then was switched to thyrolar ..felt wonderful, however, no longer available…After being switched to l-thyrolar felt like i was developing some sort of strange muscular disease…until i insisted to add the T 3…liothronine…wow,what a difference…Now, however, maylan is no longer making l-thryrolar and need to switch to levothyroxine…they insist its the same thing..it isn’t…back to feeling weird and not at all well. Why do the mfg. companies play God and the bottom numbers are playing such havoc with our health.. Wish thyrolar was mfg again,. Don’t know what to do do.

  2. Stephanie
    Rowlett, TX

    I’ve been on Armour Thyroid and Synthroid (one or the other) for the past twenty years. My hair comes out in handfuls and just running my hand over my head, or just sitting at my desk. It has never been thinner and my weight has never been heavier. I took myself off all thyroid medication for six weeks and seriously lost NO hair. It was amazing and I really had no side affects, except lethargy. My thyroid was removed completely, so I have none. I am searching for an alternative to these two medications that cause such severe side effects.

    • Deb

      Stephanie, I just read your post and since I share a similar story, I am curious where you are in your search. Any luck yet.?

  3. sara

    So did the compounded thyrolar work for you? I am afraid to try it. I don’t like side effects. Did you feel absolutely 100% normal on it, or were there any, at all side effects?

  4. pat

    I am on 64 mcg of Levoxyl and have been feeling hypo. My dr. recently added 65 of mix t3 t4 compounded sustained dessicated thyroid extract for 2 weeks. I felt more energy but a little off perception wise in my head. By day 4 I felt woozy tired and my stomach felt uncomfortable.
    Third week when I cut down to half a pill (opened it to remove half so it wasn’t really sustained relief my head felt normal. I had some stomach pain on and off and started to get more and more tired. Could it be binders or fillers, need for more Levoxyl? -looking for some of your feedback. It’s a shame because I did feel more energy. Thanks for your help, Patti

  5. prk

    I just changed to Nature-Throid thyroid medication; it’s natural and so far I feel fine–2 months now . I gave up waiting on Thyrolar to come back on the market and the local compound formula drugstore was getting to be little unreliable at times.
    I too, have trouble with most drugs and detest taking most of them. Good luck.
    I get the Nature-Throid at another one of my local pharmacies.

    • Teresa

      Are you saying the Nature Thyroid does the trick, without combining w something else? I just got on it and I’m starting to see weight gain.

  6. S

    Can you please tell me the name of your thyrolar compounding company? I have been weening myslef off of thyrolar for months now and I am down to the last few pills. I have been taking them for many many years, and am afraid of what will happen if I go on new medication… I detest pills in general and am very sensitive to medication, side effects, etc. Did you feel any different at all ( any side effects) from the compounded thyrolar? I take thyrolar 1 tabs 60 mg.
    thanks and I hope to hear back from you soon.
    All my best,

  7. kristi

    I was told to take synthroid- levothyroxine, yesterday, and today will be my first dose of any thyroid meds., should I even take it? I hate taking pills and hate that I will now be on them for the rest of my like, I am 19 years old. I don’t know, I am going to try to trust the doc for now, but I may just blow her off.

    • Karen
      Fort Worth, TX

      After being misdiagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000 I have been on either Synthroid or Armour. I much prefer the Amour. Looking back at events I would highly recommend anyone looking at having to take medications or having surgery to find a doctor who is trained in alternative medicine such as Chinese medicine, etc. I do not have a thyroid now resulting in no choices for treatment. It is possible for alternative medicine doctors to stimulate your thyroid to function again within time. But be careful of the doctors one chooses. If the first doc doesn’t work…find another!

      Be advised that the thyroid gland is a money maker for doctors. After having a discussion with one of the top thyroid doctors I determined that the thyroidectomy is another tonsillectomy. Don’t believe doctors when they say it’s an easy surgery with you just taking a pill the rest of your life. Not having sufficient hormones can effect your heart health among other things. Highly recommend the book “The Thyroid Solution” for further details on physical and emotional issues that are created by this hormone. Wishing you good health!

  8. Sara

    Is it working? Any side effects? I need to replace my thyrolar. Please respond, thank you.

  9. Plm

    I am taking synthroid-levothroxine and have also lost 1/3 of eyebrows but didn’t know that was due to thyroid.
    My question is in light of the radio program on not taking meds and then laying down: I take my pill about 1 hour before rising as I was told to take it 1 hour before eating and this is the only way I can be sure I remember to take it. Is this harmful? If I take it after eating, is 1 hour enough time or should I try to wait 2? Thanks for your information.

  10. MYS

    The question about Armour thyroid was answered in your column in my local paper the Baltimore Sun. I compared the newspaper answer with the online answer. The newspaper left out the entire sentence starting with “Other options include getting a compounding pharmacy…” Does the newspaper frequently cut your answers? They should not. I use a compounding pharmacy for dessicated thyroid and it works very well for me.

  11. LCB

    I am also interested in Linda C article about the coconut oil for low thyroid problem. I would like to use it to increase my T3 . I have been using Armour for year now I am taking synthroid. I am doing okay with synthroid but I feel that I could feel a lot better too.

  12. PRK

    By all means change doctors! Find a doctor who is into integrative complementary medicine. They treat the whole person and takes more than the blood work into consideration. I am 72yrs old, female, with hypothyroidism since I was in my early 30’s and I see this type of doctor. I can not handle some of the arrogance with most of the conventional doctors.

  13. pat Ann L

    I am interested in Linda C article about the coconut oil she used for her thyroid problem. What is the name of the company and where do you purchase it? Would appreciate information on this matter.

  14. Lee N.

    I have been taking Levothyroxine for many years, and feel is not helping. For a long time now I have told my doctor this and he insist my blood work comes out good. My hair is thinning,my nails split down the middle and sometimes bleed, I have very little energy, and am having a hard time losing any weight. The doctor still tells me all my blood work comes out good. I am 78yrs.young woman,my cholesterol is good. Should I change doctors for a second opinion or just take his word for it? Thanks.

  15. PRK

    I have been taking Thyrolar for many years for low thyroid. It is still off the market for the same reason as armour, made by the same company, Forest Pharmceutical.
    I have my Thyrolar 1.25 gr. filled at a local compound pharmacy, and so far I have done well on it. I’m waiting for my thyroid test results to come in shortly. So I will really know if it is working as good as the thyrolar did when I get these results.

  16. K. Lewis

    I have been taking Protonix 40mg for five years. I have tried to stop taking the drug to no avail. I experience severe reflux. Is there a way to reduce the intake of this drug. I tried taking it every other day, but experienced severe pain after 10 days. My Dr. says I must still need the drug, but I suspect that this is rebound. What can I do? I do not have Barret’s esophagus.

  17. DA

    I’m adding some information sources for those who suffer thyroid issues, especially those who take natural thyroid medication such as Armour. When I realized my thyroid symptoms were returning and didn’t understand why (had been taking Armour for 4 years with excellent results… this is where I found great information and alternatives. Many of us don’t respond to synthetics.
    http://www.thyroid-info.com (google Mary Shomon if necessary) Thyroid sufferer and patient advocate. This is where I learned how to deal with thyroid illness.
    There is a facebook site for Saving Natural Thyroid medication from being removed from the market. Should find a link on Mary Shomon’s website.
    Being educated about your illness is how you stay well.
    Hope this helps.

  18. Linda C.

    I have been on some kind of thyroid hormone replacement since a hemi-thyroidectomy for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (in 1957). Initially, Armour desiccated thyroid was all that was available; when Synthroid came on the market, I was switched to it – and, after reading about its lack of T3, I requested of my endocrinologist that Cytomel be added. NONE of these, nor any amount of juggling with my blood levels throughout the last 50 years (!) has resulted in a level of health and vitality that the addition of COCONUT OIL to my diet has.
    At present, I simply take Synthroid, plus 2T of coconut oil daily – it is delicious, by the way. I encourage everyone struggling with low thyroid issues to research the benefits. AND I HOPE THAT THE PEOPLES’ PHARMACY WILL PRODUCE A FEATURE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTING IT!

  19. cathy

    Although I was on armour thyroid, in June I complained that my skin felt dry
    and my hair was coming off on the comb… I realized I was on the ‘new’ formula.
    I called Canada and am now on dessicated thyroid, 100 tabs for $35. I felt the difference almost immediately… I too refused to take synthroid.

  20. C. A. Gaulden

    My blood work done 3 1/2 months ago showed my thyroid to be low so I increased sea vegetables such as dulse and started using iodine in a little water every day because my doctor wanted me to start taking Synthroid. I asked him to wait a few months to see if this worked. Due to a car accident I was in the hospital in Nov. They drew blood that showed my thyroid to be perfect now, so there is an alternative to RXs for me and my doctor and I are both happy about this.

  21. HDH

    That’s frustrating. However, I found something that works just as well for me. Due to the Armour Thyroid shortage, I now take Hotze Thyroid, which has the same active ingredients as Armour without any of the fillers, I checked the ingredients. I get this at Hotze Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy in Houston Texas, who started compounding desiccated thyroid in response to the Armour Thyroid shortage. Their patients needed a desiccated thyroid that worked as well for them as Armour. If you aren’t one of their patients, you just a need a prescription from your doctor.

  22. Donald E. K.

    Your response to the thyroid shortage question overlooked the obvious best answer. Take a prescription order to your local compounding pharmacy for dosage specific custom made capsules of thyroid extract.

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