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Old 10-05-2004, 02:12 PM   #1
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Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

I was wondering if there is much of a difference between generic thyroid medications and the brand names? Cause I've been on the generic form of Armour Thyroid. My doctor told me that sometimes the generic form isn't as potent as the brand name of Armor Thyroid.

 
Old 10-05-2004, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

The active ingredients are the same - but sometimes different binders can make a difference to how it works for you. Allergies/sensitivities would be the most troublesome, but I'm thinking some binders might hinder absorption (not sure if that's the case for thyroid). If you aren't reacting badly to the meds, then I would think iterating to find the right dose would work just as well with any brand.

 
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Old 10-05-2004, 06:02 PM   #3
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

I don't think there is so much wrong with the quality of the generics. The problem as I see it is that when you buy a generic from your pharmacy, you may get a different manufacturer's product each time, because the pharmacy usually buys from whatever company will give them the best price at each order time. This can result in your getting a different brand each time you refill, even though they all come under the heading of "generic".
It's extremely important not to switch thyroid brands, because any of them can act differently from another in your system.
It's ok to have a generic, but have your druggist make a note of which company it came from so that you can get it again next time.

 
Old 10-06-2004, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

Thanks for the info,
What if the pharmacy doesn't have the generic thyroid medication from the particular company you want it from when you go to get your prescription?

Since the ingredients in the generic and brand name are pretty much the same, if a person isn't feeling any better on the generic, I guess most likely they wouldn't feel any better if they switched to the brand name?

 
Old 10-06-2004, 12:25 PM   #5
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Concerned Male
What if the pharmacy doesn't have the generic thyroid medication from the particular company you want it from when you go to get your prescription?
That's the drawback of generics. If the pharmacy can't guarantee you the same product each time, it's better to pay the difference for a name brand... At least, it's worth it for thyroid. Other conditions, like high BP, are probably a whole different ball of wax.

Quote:
Since the ingredients in the generic and brand name are pretty much the same, if a person isn't feeling any better on the generic, I guess most likely they wouldn't feel any better if they switched to the brand name?
Not so at all. The fillers, binders, and dyes can make a huge difference in the way the active ingredient, either T4 or a combination of T4/T3, are absorbed by an individual's body. Professional ignorance about hypoT is so rampant, you'll probably find many doctors who wouldn't agree with that, though. But all the thyroid books I've read all say the same thing... If one brand isn't working, move on to another.... but they say too, that if one is working for you, stick with it. Don't switch.

 
Old 10-06-2004, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

What are fillers and binders?

I've been taking the generic version of Armour Thyroid for 28 days now and I haven't felt anything at all. I gradually increased from one dosage to the next and I'm going to be starting on a dose of 120 mg in a few days. My doctor had put brand name necessary when he wrote the prescription, so I don't know why the pharmacist gave me the generic form. I didn't even find out it was the generic form of Armour Thyroid until last weekend. My doctor would like to switch me over to the brand name to see if that helps me at all.

 
Old 10-06-2004, 03:07 PM   #7
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

Fillers are substances such as cornstarch or milk sugar which "bulk up" the amount of active ingredients which, in their pure form, would not have enough volume to press into a tablet. Binders hold the ingredients together into the tablet shape and help the pill to dissolve at the right point in the digestive system. Individual intolerances to any of these "inert" ingredients make a difference in how the T4/T3 is delivered to your cells.

Twenty-eight days is really not a very long time to see a lot of difference. If you're expecting dramatic, sudden improvement in most of your symptoms, that isn't the way it usually happens - especially within only a month. If your body has been deficient in T hormones for many months or years, the cells and bodily systems won't fully begin to heal until the T hormones have been optimal for a few to many months. Thyroid disease requires a patient patient.

Your pharmacist has some explaining to do. I believe it's illegal for him to give you anything other than what your doctor ordered. (If I were you, I'd file a complaint with the state agency responsible for pharmacist licensing. It won't hurt to get that facility's attention about such an important matter as brand-switching.)
Your doctor may have first-hand experience with genuine Armour and knows that his patients respond better to it than to any other med. I'd make that switch if I were you. But realistically, don't expect miracles until you've been in treatment for at least two months - or even as long as six months.

 
Old 10-06-2004, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

In my state(actually, I dont know that it's a state law, but it is a law) a law was passed a couple months ago and now I HAVE to take the generic levoxyl rather than what my Dr. prescribed. I felt tired after 30 days and now at 60 days on the generic my body temperature is dropping down again. I am very disappointed after struggling to get to where I felt good again that I am heading back to square one. When I complained to the pharmisist, they assured me that it was the law now but that my Dr could rewrite the scrip in such a way that prohibits the substitution of generics.

I am due for new blood work about now so I think I will see what the results show and if I am in fact losing ground ( and my body seems to be telling me that there is no doubt) with the numbers, I will ask him to rewrite the prescription. He's usually pretty good about my requests so I think he will.

And honestly, I pay a $10 copay for a 30 day supply even of the generic, and it is only $16 to buy the brand name Levoxyl instead of going through my insurance ....so I may just say screw the insurance and pay the $16 to feel good again. It will certainly be worth it, I just hate to give in on the principal of this issue. If generics are exactly the same, then why am I tired and having low temps again? <frown>
Lyds

Last edited by Lydiia; 10-06-2004 at 03:39 PM.

 
Old 10-07-2004, 02:16 PM   #9
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

Thanks for the responses. If you switch from the generic form of Armour to the brand name, would it be best to start out on a lower dose than the dose you had been taking on the generic? I thought it might be good to start out on a lower dose to get your body used to the change?

 
Old 10-07-2004, 02:41 PM   #10
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

Concerned Male
That happened to me as well.My doc wrote "do not give generic"on the script
but they still gave me generic.Some insurances won't let you get name
brand but mine will I just have to pay the difference in cost.If I ever get
to start back on my meds again I'm going to question them.

 
Old 10-07-2004, 05:36 PM   #11
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Re: Difference between generic and brand name Thyroid medications?

Quote:
If you switch from the generic form of Armour to the brand name, would it be best to start out on a lower dose than the dose you had been taking on the generic?
I would take the same dose. Just pay attention to the way you feel in the first days and weeks after the switch. If by chance the Armour is a bit stronger than the generic, watch for signs of hyperT.... rapid heart rate, anxiety, fast bowels, intolerance to heat, sweating, etc. I don't think you'll have a problem, though.

 
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