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Old 08-13-2007, 04:50 PM   #1
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Synthroid or Armour

I read so many negative things about T4 meds only not working very well but many people take Synthroid and they do just fine.
I read so much about Armour beeing the best thyroid medication.
I would love to hear from people doing well on T4 meds only.

thank you

 
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:39 PM   #2
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

I think it depends upon how it's working for you. How do you feel?

These boards attract pp. who aren't doing well, and seeking other alternatives, and many of them find armour makes them feel better. But there are many people in the general population on synthroid only, and they feel fine.

Personally, I feel fine on synthroid alone---but I do not have hashis, I use it as a replacement for my thyroid which was removed. If I didn't feel well, I would consider trying armour, or more likely, add cytomel.

Keep in mind, there aren't many docs. out there very keen on armour, so to get it, you might do better seeing an osteopathic doctor.

 
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:58 PM   #3
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

mauz, click on my member name in this post. Click on Find all posts by ErinBeth.

My message is and has been that most people with underactive thyroid are treated with a T4 med only and, if they titrate up slowly and give their bodies time to heal, if their doctors keep gradually upping the dose to around a TSH of 1, they get well and do well on a T4 med only.

Ask as many doctors who actually treat hypothyroid patients as you can and they will tell you most hypothyroid patients do not need the addition of T3 meds. It is not only the thyroid which is capable of doing T4 to T3 conversion. The liver and even the cells of your body can do that. Given adjustment time and enough T4 med, they will most often do what the thyroid is unable to do anymore.

When I was diagnosed I wanted to learn as much as I could about this disorder, so I read and read and talked to many in the medical professions who deal with this disorder. When I started reading this board I had already learned of various meds and methods of treatment, why sometimes one might be better than another.

That's why I was surprised to see so many being encouraged to take a T4/T3 combination med or add T3 to their T4 so early in the titration process. I honestly don't know why anyone would want to take the T3 if their body is capable of conversion. Truthfully, when I started reading this message board I actually wondered if it was a sales site for Armour. Message boards do tend to be dynamic and it seems to me there is more of a balance of testimonies now than there were back then.

My thyroid can no longer produce the T4 hormone naturally. There is nothing I can do about that, but even early on I decided, if it will still convert T4 to T3 naturally and adequately, that's what I want, natural conversion of T4 to T3. I just don't think it is better to try to regulate a hormone manually if one's body will do it in the way it was created to do so. Overdose with the T4 hormone is far less possible than with the active T3 med.

It took 14 months to get well for me, but I was probably genuinely hypo (undiagnosed) for 20-30 years before that. Whatever you and your doctor decide to do, I hope the end result will be you feeling as good as I do. I am 63 and wish I had felt this well when I was 40.

The majority of hypothyroid patients do take synthetic thyroid hormones and feel well. They would have to come here to be told they really don't feel well and need to take T3 for them to realize it. For now, they think they are just fine.




 
Old 08-13-2007, 06:23 PM   #4
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

Thank you Erin Beth for all the great information.
Do you know how long it takes to convert T4 into T3 , hours ? days ? weeks ?

Last edited by mauz; 08-14-2007 at 01:12 PM.

 
Old 08-21-2007, 01:34 PM   #5
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

Erin, I'm new here and this is fantastic information. From what I've been reading online I was going to insist that my doctor put me on Amour's or I'd go the natural route (which doesn't seem to be as successful). Now I'm not so sure. Since I'm on Medicare Part D, it would be better (cheaper) if I took a generic of Synthroid or something. So that's what I will do, with your post in mind. Thanks so much!

 
Old 08-21-2007, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

I started my thyroid journey 18 months ago. After surfing the web and especially one website/group in particular, I became an avid Armour user because they ranted and raved about how Synthroid was so bad, blah, blah, blah... I had a very difficult time titrating up on the Armour, with a lot of very emotional disagreements with my doctor, who was not very familiar with the Armour and did not know much about it. This did not help the process. I have ended up doing well on Armour. I did try Synthroid for a few months, and I did pretty well on it too. The only difference for me was that I did better emotionally on the Armour - it helped me with mood where the Synthroid did not seem to do as much with that - but every other symptom was taken care of with Synthroid. I believe that either drug can do the job in the hands of a doctor who is well trained in handling thyroid. I also believe that many people who don't do well on Synthroid are under treated by doctors who don't titrate the dose as specified, or stop short of optimal treatment. I also believe that you cannot expect to take a single pill and feel better - you must also make sure you are eating right and taking care of yourself.

My sister is working with an Armour doctor in another state - and is facing the same undertreatment problem - him not being willing to go up past 1 grain.

My suggestion - find a doctor who you trust and who listens to you. Ask if he/she tests only Tsh.

I know ErinBeth has done well with a doctor who only tests TSH, but I think she is one of the lucky ones who has had a doctor who has worked well with her. Maybe lucky isn't the right word - how about educated and well informed... My opinion - the Free T3 and Free T4 tests are a better indication of what the drugs are doing in your body. If I had only had TSH, I would still be on 1 grain of Armour as my TSH dove into the .01 range immediately, seeming to indicate hyper. My Frees were still way low, indicating hypo. I am now on 3 grains of Armour and doing well - but it's been a battle to get my doctor to continue to titrate, even when I had clear hypo symptoms.

There is a very good chance I will end up on Synthroid again - as I can't seem to work up endurance. I get out of breath before I should. I believe this is because on Armour I can't get my FT4 up to a good enough level and not have my FT3 go too high causing hyper symptoms. My doctor is not willing to supplement T4 with Armour. I know I converted fine on Synthroid so it makes sense to me that it should work well.

Hyper is not fun - and it is much easier to go hyper on Armour as it is the fast acting T3. ErinBeth makes a good point that it is best to have your body convert (if it is capable, which I believe most people can...). With Armour, you will feel terrible if you miss a dose, as your body is depending on that T3 right then. Also, it is difficult to split doses correctly to keep the T3 at a level place and feel well all day.

Hope this helps.. gotta go!

 
Old 08-22-2007, 09:28 AM   #7
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

hashibabba, I think one of the keys to my success in treatment is that I found the educated and wise doctor I could trust and then trusted him to treat me. I never insist on having anything my way. I believe there is a reason why he is boarded in internal medicine and I am not, that he just might know a lot more about labs and medicine than I could ever learn by reading everything I can find on the subject. But that's just me.

About the generics ... I don't take a generic. My T4 prescription is for a brand called Levothroid. Major brands of T4 meds in the U.S. are Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid and Unithroid. There are generic brands as well and they are also approved by FDA. There is nothing wrong with taking a generic, except that pharmacies tend to change which brand of generic they use based on price. When they do that, you get a different brand which may have a slightly different amount of T4 than the one you were taking, not a good thing in a titrated med. When you find your optimal dose, you want to always get that amount. That's why a knowledgeable doc will prescribe by brand and be willing to include a no substitution order, so you always get the right amount of T4 hormone.

I believe another part of my success is the fact I read and I ponder what I read on the internet, but I don't let what I read get me stirred up. If I have concerns, I talk to my doctor, but I don't insist on switching to another med just because somebody I don't know on an internet message board claims I can't get well if I don't take this or that. In fact, if I could get my doctor to do whatever I told him I want him to do about treating me, I'd be looking for another doctor quickly! If he leans on my advice, he isn't a doctor I would trust.

 
Old 08-22-2007, 09:43 AM   #8
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

There isn't a whole lot I can add to what ErinBeth and Boata so eloquently said, except my own experience...I started on T4 only meds back in November 06. I have now stabilized at TSH .77 and FT4 1.3 (0.8<x>1.8). I have regular periods again, lost more than 10 pounds, hair is growing in again, skin isn't scaly anymore, no more constipation, energy levels back up, libido returned. I could go on...I am sure you know all the myriad things that come with being hypo. I feel like I am being treated more than adequately by a T4 only med.

I can also add that I know tons of people in real life (they came out of the woodwork when I started talking about my condition) that also have Hashimoto's or hypothyroid and do absolutely great on Synthroid, Levoxyl, or whatever. ErinBeth is right when she says that the majority of people treated for hypothyroid do well on T4 only meds...that is why that is the established treatment for the disease. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and you find a lot of those exception-type people on message boards like this one because they aren't getting helped elsewhere.

Good luck as you work toward getting well!

 
Old 08-22-2007, 12:33 PM   #9
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

By comparison (to having a high TSH) , most people feel better on Synthroid than they do before they take it.

As time goes by, if and when they feel worse as their free T3 levels get lower; their doctors will likey blame those symptoms on other things like getting older and depression (and write them a prescription like prozac).

So, if or when that happens insist that your doctor test your FREE T3 (even if you never had it tested before).

Of course, it will be better to know what it is now, for a baseline.
__________________
25 years feeling worse every year on Synthroid & 13 months feel good on Armour Thyroid.

Last edited by GCC; 08-22-2007 at 12:34 PM.

 
Old 08-22-2007, 01:55 PM   #10
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

ErinBeth said...

I believe another part of my success is the fact I read and I ponder what I read on the internet, but I don't let what I read get me stirred up. If I have concerns, I talk to my doctor, but I don't insist on switching to another med just because somebody I don't know on an internet message board claims I can't get well if I don't take this or that.

I just wanted to ditto this - if I had started out with this attitude, I believe I would have had a lot less stress in my life... There's a lot of stuff out there on the internet that is pretty hysterical... and I bought into a bunch of it for a long time. My only problem is that my doctor is a dolt - I really need to find someone who doesn't ask ME what I want to do... Thus the key - find a doctor you trust and have good communication with.

Thanks ErinBeth, for your always considerate comments and level headed advice! I don't agree with EVERYTHING you say, but I always appreciate your input. A year ago I would have been adamently opposed to your way of thinking - interesting how a little experience can change an attitude...

 
Old 08-24-2007, 05:10 PM   #11
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

I had side effects from Synthroid. I never felt good taking it. I took it for years. After a while my muscles started hurting big time and my TSH was normal on 100mcg of Synthroid. I talked the doctor into giving me Armour. My muscle pains went away but Armour made put me in an agitated mood. I decided to try Cytomel and I have been on it 4 months and feel better than I have on either Armour or Synthroid

 
Old 08-26-2007, 09:19 AM   #12
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

Erin: Hi I'm Robbielyn, 41, just started on 25mcg's of thyroxine a week ago. My dr who is my gp but actually specializes in Rheumatology prescribed it for me. My TSH was 16.0 and my free t4 was .59 range .57-1.53. Anyways am I on a too low of a dose or should I give it 4 weeks which I a rescheduled to see my dr, and get retested? Or should I get a more knowledgeable dr as far as hypothyroidism goes? And when do you tritate over a period of days or weeks? Thanks, robbielyn

 
Old 08-27-2007, 07:59 AM   #13
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinBeth View Post
hashibabba, I think one of the keys to my success in treatment is that I found the educated and wise doctor I could trust and then trusted him to treat me. I never insist on having anything my way. I believe there is a reason why he is boarded in internal medicine and I am not, that he just might know a lot more about labs and medicine than I could ever learn by reading everything I can find on the subject. But that's just me.

About the generics ... I don't take a generic. My T4 prescription is for a brand called Levothroid. Major brands of T4 meds in the U.S. are Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid and Unithroid. There are generic brands as well and they are also approved by FDA. There is nothing wrong with taking a generic, except that pharmacies tend to change which brand of generic they use based on price. When they do that, you get a different brand which may have a slightly different amount of T4 than the one you were taking, not a good thing in a titrated med. When you find your optimal dose, you want to always get that amount. That's why a knowledgeable doc will prescribe by brand and be willing to include a no substitution order, so you always get the right amount of T4 hormone.

I believe another part of my success is the fact I read and I ponder what I read on the internet, but I don't let what I read get me stirred up. If I have concerns, I talk to my doctor, but I don't insist on switching to another med just because somebody I don't know on an internet message board claims I can't get well if I don't take this or that. In fact, if I could get my doctor to do whatever I told him I want him to do about treating me, I'd be looking for another doctor quickly! If he leans on my advice, he isn't a doctor I would trust.

 
Old 08-27-2007, 08:05 AM   #14
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

Erinbeth, I am usually on the lyme site, but have hashis so thought I check in here. As for what you say about total confidence in your doctor, all I can say about that is I pray you don't get lymes,because if you do with that attitude, you might be sick forever. And you will find that you absolutely must rely on the internet as well as your own research to get the treatment you need. Just thought I'd put my 2 cents in about being proactive for your own protection. Researching one's own disease is the best way to get well for most people. Blessings to you, one of the few who get good results from the medical field.

 
Old 08-27-2007, 08:12 AM   #15
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Re: Synthroid or Armour

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinBeth View Post
mauz, click on my member name in this post. Click on Find all posts by ErinBeth.

My message is and has been that most people with underactive thyroid are treated with a T4 med only and, if they titrate up slowly and give their bodies time to heal, if their doctors keep gradually upping the dose to around a TSH of 1, they get well and do well on a T4 med only.

Ask as many doctors who actually treat hypothyroid patients as you can and they will tell you most hypothyroid patients do not need the addition of T3 meds. It is not only the thyroid which is capable of doing T4 to T3 conversion. The liver and even the cells of your body can do that. Given adjustment time and enough T4 med, they will most often do what the thyroid is unable to do anymore.

When I was diagnosed I wanted to learn as much as I could about this disorder, so I read and read and talked to many in the medical professions who deal with this disorder. When I started reading this board I had already learned of various meds and methods of treatment, why sometimes one might be better than another.

That's why I was surprised to see so many being encouraged to take a T4/T3 combination med or add T3 to their T4 so early in the titration process. I honestly don't know why anyone would want to take the T3 if their body is capable of conversion. Truthfully, when I started reading this message board I actually wondered if it was a sales site for Armour. Message boards do tend to be dynamic and it seems to me there is more of a balance of testimonies now than there were back then.

My thyroid can no longer produce the T4 hormone naturally. There is nothing I can do about that, but even early on I decided, if it will still convert T4 to T3 naturally and adequately, that's what I want, natural conversion of T4 to T3. I just don't think it is better to try to regulate a hormone manually if one's body will do it in the way it was created to do so. Overdose with the T4 hormone is far less possible than with the active T3 med.

It took 14 months to get well for me, but I was probably genuinely hypo (undiagnosed) for 20-30 years before that. Whatever you and your doctor decide to do, I hope the end result will be you feeling as good as I do. I am 63 and wish I had felt this well when I was 40.

The majority of hypothyroid patients do take synthetic thyroid hormones and feel well. They would have to come here to be told they really don't feel well and need to take T3 for them to realize it. For now, they think they are just fine.




 
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