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Old 03-12-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
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Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Hi Everyone

I'm currently on 60mg (1 grain) of Armour and find that I am still really tired during the day (yes, I split my doses). Just wondering if Synthroid will help me feel better since I didn't get lethargic while on Synthroid before. I'm taking a poll since it always seems like people prefer Armour over Synthroid but I would love to hear from Synthroid devotees as well.

Thanks.

 
Old 03-12-2007, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

I really think it's a very individual thing. Obviously, people should use the medication that suits thier needs best. Many, many people do very well on Synthroid. It is the most widely used thyroid replacement medication in the world. Therefore I would assume that the vast majority of people with thyroid disorders who need replacement hormone do very well on synthroid or a similar T4 only medication. However there are also those who do better with a combination of T4 and T3 therapy such as Armour, and they should have that readily available to them also.

My personal experience is that I do not do my best with either one. I was on just synthroid alone for several years. I switched to Armour and it did not work for me. I am now on a combination of synthroid and cyomel (T4 and T3 in separate pills rather than a combination pill) and so far that has been the best for me. My doc and I are still fine tuning the dosage, but this is the best I have felt since I first started down the thyroid road several years ago.

Have you had blood tests since you started taking Armour? You could also just need some adjustment in the dosage of Armour. You do not mention how long you have been on Armour. It does take some time for your body to get used to a new medication or dosage. It could just be that you need to give it more time. For me that's the really hard part--I have absolutely no patience when I don't feel as well as I know I could! One could even even go so far as to say I am quite challenging to live with while I'm trying to be patient...

If you don't mind me asking, if your were doing fine on synthroid why did you make the switch to Armour? Did you have lingering symptoms of hypothyroidism even while on synthroid? From my experiences of reading and researching about thyroid disorders, once you stabalize on a medication and are feeling well---Don't switch it for anything! With thyroids especially--if it ain't broke-don't fix it!!!! Leave well enough alone unless you are not feeling well, then consider a change.

Good Luck and keep us posted to your progress!

 
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Hi Red Maple,
Wow, I never knew that someone out there has felt the same as me on both Armour and T4 only.
I was able to get on Armour for over a year - then like a dork let an Endo switch me to Synthroid a year ago because I just never felt better. The best I have felt was last year this time on 137 of synthroid. (I have been shopping around for Endos who test more than TSH - surprisingly shocking Endo's know less about tests that patients.) The newest Endo tests revealed that I had gone to too low a TSH at 0.02 L (range .40 - 5.5 mu/l) So I agreed to let them reduce the meds but maybe try Levoxyl which I was on varying amounts of until this week. (125)
My most recent labs have me at
TSH 0.03 L (.40 - 5.5 ML)
T4 total 10.5 (4.5 -12)
T3 Total 118 (60-181)
Free T4 1.7 (0.8 - 1.8)

So they have reduced it again but wanted to go all the way down to 1 - I got them to go 112 instead but they switched me to Synthroid.....

I don't know what to do now. I haven't ever felt great and never have had moments of Hyper symptoms nor have I lost even one lb....

Red Maple - do you have tips for me in trying to get T3 and T4 separately and what are your current dosages?

Thanks,
Bttrfly

Last edited by bttrfly71; 03-13-2007 at 08:47 AM.

 
Old 03-13-2007, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Hi Red Maple

I was only on Synthroid for about 2 weeks and I read that hair loss could be a problem so I decided to change to Armour.

I've been on Armour for about 7 weeks. Here's my history:

In October 2006, my endo ran these tests on me and determined that I am slightly hypo:
Ultrasensitive TSH: 3.730 (range 0.3-5.1)
FT4: 1.28 (range 0.73-1.95)
Thyroid Peroxidase AB: 10 (range <35)

I took Synthroid for two weeks and then changed to Armour for the next four weeks and felt horrible on it (flu symptoms, tiredness, facial swelling, weight gain). In early December 2006, I stopped taking it just to see how I would be. I was still feeling these symptoms so I went to the doc late January to have myself tested again without thyroid meds:

TSH: (not the ultrasensitive one) 1.39 (range 0.35-5.50)
FT4: 0.86 (range: 0.56-1.66)
FT3: 2.9 (range: 2.3-4.2)
I don't know how my TSH and FT4 went down so much even though I didn't take thyroid meds since Dec. 10th. I was feeling so bad and hypo that I got back on Armour 30 mgs a day.

After 6th week of Armour:
TSH: 1.24 (0.35-5.50)
FT4: 0.71 (0.56-1.66)
Doc didn't take FT3 this time. Told me I can still take my meds but won't up my Armour anymore b/c he felt I didn't need it. I added 30 mg myself (so total is now 60 mg per day) b/c I was so tired on 30 mg by the time 3pm rolled around. I'm just wondering why my FT4 is lower and if Synthroid would be better for me. Or does it take a long time to feel better on Armour?

 
Old 03-13-2007, 01:38 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

It doesn't take long to feel better on Armour, but my dear... you need more of it!!! Your FT4 and FT3 are the most important levels, and yours are at the lowest end of their ranges. They need to be at least mid-range, and for some people, even higher before symptoms will be eliminated.
Most people can tell their Armour is working if their TSH becomes low-normal or even suppressed altogether. (Mine is.) Your TSH is nowhere near as low as it would be if your dose was adequate.

If that doctor won't increase your Armour, you should find a better doctor. That one is the PITS.

 
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Old 03-13-2007, 02:33 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Bttrfly and LibraryGirl, sorry to hear that neither of you seem to be at your optimum medication and dosage, and thus not feeling as well as you could.

A bit of history so you know where I am comming from. I had a partial thyroidectomy 4 years ago, due to a nasty nodule. I was on Synthroid for about 3 years after that, but continued to have lingering hypo symptoms. I was seeing the ENT who did my surgery for thyroid medication maintenance. He is a wonderful surgeon, but I rarely got to speak to him about my continuing symptoms because he is always in the operating room. Can't fault the guy for doing what he is best at, but I was no longer a surgery patient and needed someone more readily available to discuss my current symptoms.
The ENT just went off my TSH tests and T4 results and would tell his nurse what to perscribe. Thus, I changed to my current endo. At my first appt. he did full range of thyroid blood work, along with many other endocrine tests. I was taking 112 mcg synthroid and no T3 at the time. My test results showed--TSH was at "0" (0.4-5ish something-don't remember exact number), FT3 at 3.0 (2.4-4.2), and FT4 at 1.8 (0.7-1.8). He felt I was overmedicated with my TSH so low and FT4 so high. We switched to me to an equivalent dosage of Armour. I became very jittery, shaking uncontrollably, high heart rate, palps. etc. The endo felt the ratio of T4/T3 was too much for me. To make a long story shorter... I have ended up on a combination of synthroid (T4) and cytomel (T3) at 100 synthroid and 10 cytomel. If I am not mistaken, the ratio of T4/T3 in Armour is 100/25; at my current dosage I would be at 100/10.

There are many, many people out there who are successful on either Armour, straight T4 as in Synthroid, or other form of combination medication. You just have to find what's best for you individually. Unfortunately that means a bit of trial and error, and sometimes not feeling your best during the process. For me it has usually taken at least 6-8 weeks with each medication change to have it fully integrated into my system, and thus for that period of time I may or may not feel better.

Bttrfly- IMO, and that's just another patients opinion, no medical knowledge--you could benefit from a small amount of T3 perhaps in the form of cytomel. Your FT4 looks ok to me. A "normal" person's body, without a thyroid disorder would convert T4 to T3 naturally. That's why so many doctors use only T4 medications and assume that the body will do its' thing and produce the T3 all by itself. However, some people do not convert T4 to T3 very well and need supplemental medication in the form of Armour or Cytomel. It is possible that you are one of those people and would benefit from a bit of T3.

Reducing your synthroid may not be a bad idea since your FT4 is on the high end of the range, to me that indicates that you have plenty of T4 in your body. Based on the total T3 lab number, you could use a bit of that in your system. A better test would be an FT3. Again IMO you get a more accurate picture of what T3 hormone is available for use by your body with an FREE T3 test. I would guess, and it's only a guess from a non-professional, with the reduction in synthroid that your FT3 will fall even lower. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need more T4 medication, but rather a bit of T3 to supplement the T4 dosage your are currently at.

The drawback to using two separate meds. is the cost involved. For me, my synthroid is $25.00 and a $50.00 co-pay for the cytomel. Your insurance may be different and you may have more of a benefit that I do.

LibraryGirl--You on the other hand---IMO, have enough FT3 but could use a little more T4, to bring your TSH down just a smidgen, and the FT4 up a bit. However you have only been on your current medication dosage about 7 weeks, right? It could be that it will take a little longer at your current dosage of Armour for you to get to where you are feeling better. Often you have some hair loss whenever you switch medications or dosages. I still have some hair loss from my switch to include cytomel in my meds. and that has been 5 months ago. It is getting better though, and slowly subsiding. Armour may just be the right medication for you; your dosage may just need to be adjusted. But it's not wise to mess around with dosages without informing your doctor. Especially if you are going to be taking more blood tests in the near future. I am sure you know it can be dangerous for you to do self medicating, but it will also screw up the accuracy of your blood work, even if your next blood tests are still a few weeks away. Getting accurate blood tests, along with your symptoms, is often key to getting the proper dosage of medication. It does take a while for fine tuning, and finding just that great dosage that helps you to feel your best.

After all this (I'll send you each a new pair of reading glasses if you need them after this long post) the very best advise any seasoned thyroid patient can give is to get educated on your disorders. IMO the best book is "Thyroids for Dummies". Your local public library is probably a wealth of information. The bottom line is that YOU are in charge of your health care, not necessarily the doctor. You hire the doctor, they should be there for professional advise, but YOU and the doctor together make the decisions that will affect your health care. If they are not willing to try a particular medication or therapy without what you consider to be a valid reason, then it's time to go doctor shopping. Learn all you can about thyroid disorders. Much of the information out there will apply to you, much will not: some you will agree with, some you will think is awful. However, the more knowledge you have, the better decisions you will be able to make concerning your thyroid disorders, and the continuing health care you receive.

Good Luck to both of you. Keep us posted to your progress. Hope you each are feeling better soon.

 
Old 03-13-2007, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwest1 View Post
It doesn't take long to feel better on Armour, but my dear... you need more of it!!! Your FT4 and FT3 are the most important levels, and yours are at the lowest end of their ranges. They need to be at least mid-range, and for some people, even higher before symptoms will be eliminated.
Most people can tell their Armour is working if their TSH becomes low-normal or even suppressed altogether. (Mine is.) Your TSH is nowhere near as low as it would be if your dose was adequate.

If that doctor won't increase your Armour, you should find a better doctor. That one is the PITS.
Thanks Midwest1!

Based on my last FT4 test, it looks like it got lower! I heard that Armour suppresses the FT4 and TSH. Should I have the doc only look at FT3 and to shoot for mid to high range for this?

I've already increased my dosage where I am now taking 60mg (1 grain) a day. I feel so much better but am afraid that around the 4th to 5th week of this dosage then I will get tired again with hypo symptoms. My puffy face and cold hands/feet still haven't gone away but I hope it does once I am levelled out.



Thanks!

 
Old 03-13-2007, 03:10 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Wow RedMaple. I truly appreciate your time in posting such a long history and helping us towards a better truth. Sorry you weren't doing the best on Armour and I've heard too many people cannot withstand the high level of T3 in it and end up adding Synthroid to their regimen or switch to Synthroid + Cytomel (like you) combo. I think that you have come a long way and am glad to know that you are mostly optimized on your meds. I hope your hair gets back to normal esp. since it takes more than 3 months after a shed to see a difference.

I know, a lot of my friends, family and specialty docs tell me not to SELF MEDICATE. I am currently on my 7th week of Armour. I only increased my meds last week because when I was on Synthroid 50mg I was fine. Armour 30 mg does not convert directly to Synthroid 50 mg. I was really exhausted on 30 mg around my 5th week on it and I'm not just being a baby about it. When I mean exhausted, I am talking about almost falling face into my soup at a restaurant. No kidding. It was that much work to keep my self properly sitting on my chair. On my 6th week, I took those last lab tests and my GP told me I really didn't need it. I believe he is tired of arguing with me about the TSH numbers. He thinks anyone over 5.50 is worth looking at. When I asked him if he would increase my dose based on my FT4 and FT3 levels, he overtly declined and said I didn't need anything. Well, I just fired him and will be seeing a really good GP (he prescribes Armour and also prescribes customized compound thyroid rx) the first week of April. So you see, I had to take the 60 mg to keep myself awake and I will have my lab done in April to see where my levels are. We'll see in April what my new doc thinks about my thyroid levels and any required dosage increases or decreases.

 
Old 03-13-2007, 06:36 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl2 View Post
I heard that Armour suppresses the FT4 and TSH. Should I have the doc only look at FT3 and to shoot for mid to high range for this?
Yes, for a reason unknown to me, Armour is known to frequently cause the ratio of FT4 to FT3 to become unbalanced. For me, it doesn't seem to be a problem; my TSH is suppressed to .02, my FT4 is low, but my FT3 seems to be compensating for the low T4. I feel fine this way.

For other people, the low T4 presents a problem that can be overcome by the addition of a small amount of T4 medication to their Armour dose.

I would not want the MD focusing solely on the FT3 at the expense of the FT4. They're both important... except, I guess, for me!

 
Old 03-14-2007, 09:57 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Thank you Red Maple! I am so glad you "get me" and my position!
I see a new endo tomorrow...he's my last hope...
I will keep you posted!
Bttrfly

 
Old 03-21-2007, 04:16 PM   #11
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

I have switched to Westhroid (Armour) and so far so good. I am actually taking less of the medical equivalant than Synthroid. I also tried doinf the Synthroid/Cytmel combo. I feel the best so far on Armour. I agree that the 4 to 1 ratio of T4/T3 may be a little high. I wrote Forest Labs to ask them why they don't make a version with less T3. Not sure they can do it since it is from a pigs thyroid. To me it just makes sense that getting the T1,T2,T3,&T4 everyday is better than taking Synthroid and hoping the body converts it properly.

 
Old 03-21-2007, 06:16 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Hi rstarre

How long were you on Synthroid and what were your symptoms pre-Synthroid? Did many go away while on Synthroid? How about puffy face symptoms?

I've only been on Armour for 2 months but I just can't stand being the marshmallow woman! My face and body are puffy from all this fluid. I'm wondering if Synthroid will help but I'll stick with Armour for a little longer. I'm still tired but I think I just need to up my meds. I don't up them until 4 weeks have passed.

Thanks!

 
Old 03-22-2007, 07:02 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl2 View Post
I just can't stand being the marshmallow woman! My face and body are puffy from all this fluid. Thanks!
I retained fluid on both synthroid and armour when I wasn't getting enough meds. I don't think it's the meds themselves, I think it's part of not having enough in the system.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 07:10 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

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Originally Posted by Kharma View Post
I retained fluid on both synthroid and armour when I wasn't getting enough meds. I don't think it's the meds themselves, I think it's part of not having enough in the system.
Thanks Kharma. It's good to know that you've tried both and it really didn't matter which meds b/c you were still edemous until you got on the right levels of meds.

It's just frustrating, this whole waiting game.

Thanks.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 07:38 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone better on Synthroid than Armour?

I was on Synthroid 10 years. My symptoms before was I could not lose weight to save my life. I was always in the 180 range. Then I went to 200 with no explanation. SO I went for the tests and my thyroid was underactive. About 5 years ago I started getting bad muscle pains. Went for all kinds of tests and everything was normal. So they thought it was Fibro. I was on pain meds everyday. The doctors look at you like you are a hypocondriac. Well 6 weeks ago my legs were hurting so bad I couldn't stand it. I decided to stop taking all meds and supplements. The bad leg pains went away. I took an .88 mcg of synthroid just to see what happens. The pain started up again about four hours later. So I'm sure it was the Synthroid. Thank God for this health board because someone did mention she had terrible muscle pains from Synthroid also. I would have never suspected it since an underactive thyroid will cause the same symptoms. So far I feel a lot better on Armour. If I were you, do what I did. Stop taking the medication for three or four days and see if the puffiness goes away. That is the only way you will know if Armour is causing it.

 
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