The People's Perspective on Medicine

Can You Get Brand Name Synthroid at a Reasonable Price?

Generic levothyroxine drugs may be acceptable for many people, but they are not always interchangeable with brand name Synthroid. How can you save money?

Generic medicines are supposed to save you money, but not all generic drugs are interchangeable. Many people are aware that generic levothyroxine and the brand name Synthroid can’t always be freely switched. For more than a decade, doctors have been debating the pros and cons of prescribing generic levothyroxine and allowing the pharmacy to fill the prescription with any available generic formulation (Thyroid, Dec. 2003).

Why Don’t Drugstores Carry Brand Name Synthroid?

Q. My doctor determined by blood tests that my thyroid levels remain stable only when I take the original drug, Synthroid. Whenever I go to a new pharmacy, they always say that the only thyroid drug they can get is generic levothyroxine. They always say Synthroid can be special-ordered but it will take time to get it.

Brand name Synthroid is always a lot more expensive than the generic pill and not covered by my insurance. Why do they make it so hard to get the drug I need? Also, why do they charge so much for it?

How Much Does Synthroid Cost?

A. Synthroid is a long-standing brand name version of levothyroxine. You are right that it is more expensive than the generic medication. Synthroid runs between $45 and $67 for 30 pills. The generic version costs between $12 and $16 for the same 30 tablets. That’s why many insurance companies only want to pay for generic levothyroxine.

We discovered that brand name Synthroid is substantially less expensive if you purchase it from Canada. A three-month supply costs between $25 and $60, less than a 30-day bottle from the U.S. You can learn more about reputable Canadian online drugstores in our eGuide to Saving Money on Medicines.

Learn More:

Our eGuide to Thyroid Hormones may also help you understand the tests your doctor has used to determine how well your thyroid medicine is working. In the eGuide, we also discuss the pros and cons of treating your thyroid condition with levothyroxine (T4) only or including triiodothyronine (T3) in the medication.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I had a 98% thyroidectomy back in 1957 due to a toxic goiter. I started taking Armour thyroid, which served me well. I was then told that these pills were be replaced by Synthroid which didn’t suit me nearly as well. I now take Levothyroixine, which I tolerate but would prefer to take Armour instead. I am amazed by the escalation of the cost of these drugs over that time period.

I am currently taking NP Thyroid which is also a natural desiccated thyroid medicine and it works just as well as Armour for me. Like Armour, my Medicare D Plan does not pay for it at all so I pay full price. Luckily, I can get a 90-day prescription for $67.00. I am surprised at how much most original medicines/drugs have gone up in price over the 15 years. I was on Armour for over 20 years until I couldn’t get it, but could get the NP Thyroid.

Thank you for telling people about prescription meds from Canada. I have been using the Canadian pharmacy for years to get Synthroid. 90 pills cost me under $30 for 90 day supply, and $15 for postage is still saving me money. The generic Synthroid I bought locally dissolved before I could swallow and felt like sand in my throat. After two weeks I called the manufacturer (can’t recall which one) and was told there was nothing wrong with their Synthroid and to swallow with more water. I finally got my delayed order from Canada, and in just two weeks felt better. I have had Customs in USA confiscate my meds one time, and the pharmacy replaced it, no charge.

What company manufactures Synthroid in the USA, and which one in Canada?

I started taking thyroid medicine in 1981, after my thyroid was removed due to cancer. Over the years doctors had me on generic Synthroid, and it absolutely did not work for me. I only take name-brand Synthroid. I get a 3-months supply from my drug store, and the cost is about $30.00. Hope this is helpful.

I went from Synthroid to Armour and developed Hashimoto’s so my doctor put me back on Synthroid. However, the pharmacy filled it with a generic, and I ended up in the ER with an anaphylactic reaction.

I know I am severely allergic to all forms of sulfur and have life-threatening anaphylaxis, so I am certain the generic contained sulfur.

After some struggle with the insurance company, I was finally approved for brand only. I also am taking 2 Cytomels a day.

Until I recently read the article here that IVP Solution in scans can damage the thyroid gland, I could never before understand what happened to my thyroid. Now I know.

Years ago I had a kidney scan with IVP and broke out in severe hives. I’m sure now that this was the point when my thyroid was damaged. Sad!

This is all too confusing. I have been on several different generics and also Synthroid. There is a difference between the various companies making generics. I am back on Synthroid. Not sure if anything helps other than it makes the numbers look better.

I took Synthroid for years and was inadvertantly switched to the generic form. I developed many physical dificulties and became very ill, at which point I stopped it after realizing the cause. I now take Amour Thyroid and have had no side effects compared to the other. Canada doesn’t offer it. But the cost of $60.00 is worth it. I refuse to take anything else.

I dont recall ever taking anything but generic. For me the biggest change came by not eating or drinking anything other than water for at least an hour if taking meds–2 hours is best.

Can it be true that if I do not ‘tolerate’ corn and and gluten, and Synthroid uses corn starch as a filler (albeit a very small amount per tablet), that it’s presence cause a reaction, e. g., eczema? I was diagnosed with eczema, and 8 years later after discovering the presence of corn starch in Synthroid, I changed to another levothyroxine. The eczema completely disappeared in 3 days !!

I get my Synthroid from a pharmacy in FL, 90 tablets for $65.

I’ve been taking Levoxyl successfully for years. I didn’t feel good on Synthroid and was cautioned against the generic brand. Levoxyl is very reasonable cost wise. I did try adding the T3 with Cytomel but experienced hoarseness so stopped it. I have a provider who checks for enzymes, as I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

I have been purchasing some of my medications from Canada for decades.
I have a rare disease, and the drugs I take are not widely produced. Twice, a drug I rely on (for survival) was suddenly unavailable. The first time resulted in a switch to a med which resulted in extreme jaw pain (!) and painful peripheral neuropathy in my legs and feet (which is, after 5 years, lessening with CBD oil sublingually at bedtime).

I have found Canadian medications (sourced and produced in Canada or New Zealand ) to be less costly and of high quality .
The formularies for the Canadian pharmacies are online. You can speak with a pharmacist, and the people who take your order are well-informed.

My Synthroid from a local pharmacy, covered by my insurance, cost $108 for 90 tabs. I now buy it from a Canada pharmacy, for $40, including shipping.

My Dr. said getting direct from supplier in Florida, it costs about $60.

I would like to know if Armour thyroid is the best medicine to take since it is a natural product.
Your thoughts?

Only Armour for me!

Years ago I was getting it from Canada but my body began to reject it, and I got Hashimoto’s so had to go back to the synthetic, Synthroid.

Apparently since it is organic, there is a chance your body can reject it.

I have discovered that the most important thing is having a doctor who really knows what they are doing. Thankfully, I now have one.

In a word: yes. More than 20 years ago (pre 2007) I was tested and was near the bottom end of the normal range. I was prescribed Levothyroxine (or possibly Synthyroid). A couple years went by, and I was switched to Armour Thyroid (AT). Same for my wife. We both thought we felt better with AR, but it was hard to tell. Then there was some type of supply interruption, and all AR to the US (and perhaps also Canada) was cut off. We had to go back to Synthroid. Then after about two years AR became available, and we both went back to AR. I mentioned to my endocrinologist about this back and forth switch, with my wife and I preferring AR to Synthroid, and he said that about 90% of his patients did the same: switched to AR [because they felt better].

Dr David Brownstein of The Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mi wrote a book about thyroid treatment and those who did not do well with synthroid tended to do better on armour because it was natural.

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