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Every couple of years my patients go to the pharmacy to refill their prescriptions, only to have the same rumor gets whispered to them: Armour thyroid is going off the market.  It’s happening again.In the past four months, it has been increasingly difficult for patients to get 120 mg (2 grain) and 15 mg (1/4 grain) of Armour thyroid.   Some of my patients have been told that these strengths are going off the market permanently, and one or two of my patients have been told that all strengths of Armour thyroid will disappear soon.  None of these statements are, in fact, true.

So why does this rumor resurface?   I agree with Mary Shomon that the answer lies in a mixture of greed, ignorance and the desire to follow the pack.  Read her fine exploration of the subject.

 I think Armour thyroid and other natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) preparations, are much-maligned and misunderstood. Conventional doctors treat thyroid by giving a synthetic, mostly nonactive form of thyroid hormone called T4 (commonly known as Synthroid, levothyroid, Levoxyl, and levothyroxine).  For patients with severe hypothyroidism, this may be one appropriate solution.  However, the bulk of my patients have sluggish metabolism, borderline low or merely borderline thyroid function in laboratory testing, and symptoms that add up to feeling lousy.  For these patients, I’ve found that the natural forms of thyroid, which contains all of the active hormones that the thyroid gland produces, are much better choices.

Forest Labs, which makes Armour Thyroid, says that they will catch up with their back orders within a month or two, and Armour thyroid will once again be available in all pharmacies.  Meanwhile, I am using another NDT, Nature-Throid, which is a highly standardized and reliable form of natural thyroid.  We’ve asked our local compounding pharmacies to carry it.  So, for those of you who’ve been fearful that Armour thyroid will not be available in the future, we have the option of switching to Nature-Throid or of using Armour in other strengths until it is once again available.

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3 Responses to “Disappearing Armour”

  1. on 20 May 2008 at 6:02 pm Rita Bancroft

    Hi Dr. Rothfeld, Having just read your article on Amour Thyriod, I wish to commend you on your website. This is the first I’ve read on the web, although I have read your previous email (which got me concerned enought to talk to you aboutit.(:) Now, I am especially pleased to hear that Amour will continue to be available, as I am allergic to Nature-Throid and it didn’t help me. I often have to wait for my Amour at the locate Pharmacies. My Medicare D Insurance will not pay for it, even thought I have written, asking for it to be covered. Like everthing, it has more than doubled in price. Also one of my providers would not give me an Rx for it,saying it “would be unethical to do so”. Can you believe that?! Needless to say, she was not my Doctor even for a day after that. See you next Friday for our appointment. Bye for now, Rita Bancroft

  2. on 30 Jun 2008 at 6:32 pm JoyCrane

    06/30/2008 … my pharmacist was just told by his supplier that armour thyroid is off the market.

    the local hospital pharmacy told me they stock armour because “geriatric patients do not tolerate synthetics well” and i guess even if i’m not geriatric i fall into that class as well because i’ve had terrible luck with synthroid and levothyroxin — severe hives after one dose, further serious allergic reactions if i have to continue on either one — and in both instances, this occurred when the doctor had neglected to specify armour and a synthetic was substituted.

    so should i ask my pharmacist to substitute different dosages until the 120 is back in stock? because this is costing me a fortune — not the actual pills, but that i have to go through a series of thyroid panels every six weeks every time my dosage has been changed.

  3. on 04 Jul 2008 at 10:32 am nicole

    Does Armour thyriod cause severe heart problems? Iknow is made of pig, does this not break down in the human body?

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