I have been hypo w/hashi's for several years now and I've tried Synthroid, Levoxyl and keep going hyper on the very lowest dose. A couple of years ago they took me off meds due to labs being normal so I haven't taken anything in 2-3 years but I am now hypo again and I have finally found a doctor that will give me Armour but now I'm scared to take it since I've had such problems in the past and I've read how other people are having problems with the new formulated version. If I had such problems in the past with synthetic is it possible I would have problems with Armour? Does it make you hyper? I have anxiety and heart palpitations now I'm worried it will make it worse. My labs are T3, Total 94 (range 97-219); T4, Total 7.8 (range 4.5-12.5) and TSH 8.44 (range 0.40-4.50).
My question to you is, when you take the Synthroid, are you certifiably hyper via labs and symptoms, or do you simply feel hyper?
I couldn't take Synthroid for the same reason. My free T4/T3 soared above range (and TSH correspondingly plummeted) on the smallest therapeutic dose of 50 mcgs. My then-endo's response was to stop taking it and wait until I got sicker so I could "tolerate" the med. My labs weren't normal untreated; TSH was around 7 and FTs were low. And then there were the symptoms. Remaining sick wasn't an option for me, so I found an MD to prescribe Armour. I began taking it at a very tiny dose and titrated upward for about 9 months without once becoming clinically hyper. It worked wonders for me for 5 1/2 years, until the company's recent reformulation. I just switched to another brand of dessicated thyroid; the verdict's still out how this will work.
So... you can't assume you will become clinically hyper the same as you have with Synthroid. You may not even become hyper with a different brand of levothyroxine. Thyroid treatment is a matter of trial and error.
I have very little doubt that your anxiety and palps are related to your being very hypothyroid. Mine were. Optimal treatment eliminated most of them. It's important to remember that if your heart is relatively young and healthy, any treatment-related palps are benign and they will eventually pass. Tolerating them for the sake of getting better in the end is a necessary evil.
The main thing is to determine if your labs were hyper or if you only felt hyper.
Edit to add: Your MD should be testing your free levels of T3 and T4. The total tests are far less accurate and not as revealing.
I also had the same symptoms taking T4 only meds (levothyroxine) I did much better on Armour. I felt the difference within 3 days of taking it. yes I am also having a few problems with the new formula but still its nothing compared to how I felt on the synthetic stuff.
Thank you so much for your responses. midwest1 I not only felt hyper but the labs reflected such, my TSH was very low. I'm excited about starting Armour but scared at the same time because of the bad side effects I've had with synthetic. I'm extremely sensitive to any medication so I'm always worried about taking anything. He's starting me on 60mg is that a low dose? On the Synthroid and Levoxyl it was .25mg and I still ended up going hyper.
You really should check your adrenal function with a saliva cortisol test if you are having problems with thyroid meds. If your adrenals are fatigued then you will have some hyper symptoms like palps and other nasty feelings because too much thyroid hormone is circulating (or "pooling") in your blood and not getting into the cells. The challenge is finding a doc who will accept the results and treat your adrenals with hydrocortosone if they are low.
I know your TSH may have been low on the T4 meds but those of us who are taking thyroid mostly have very low and suppressed TSH. It is NOT a good way to figure out how much meds to give and unfortunately most docs and Endos use is exclusively. As Midwest says, you need the FREE T levels drawn to see how you are fareing.
I happen to think natural thyroid homones are better overall than the synthetics but nothing is going to work well if you have fatiged adrenals. * Disallowed website and related information removed by hb-mod, moderator * I hope you get this figured out!
Last edited by hb-mod; 08-23-2009 at 02:09 PM.
Reason: Please don't post disallowed websites as per Posting Policy. Thanks.
My MD started me out on only 30 mgs of Armour because of my hypersensitivity to Synthroid. The next increase - after a month - was to 45 mgs. Six weeks after that, we cautiously bumped to 60. This is easier on possibly stressed adrenals and gentler on the system. So... I'd be nervous about rushing in at 60 mgs right off the bat. Maybe you should discuss going slower with your MD.
Thanks for all the info. mcaimless I will definitely check with my doctor about getting a saliva cortisol test. midwest1 I talked to the doctors office and the pharmacist and they said I could just cut the pills in 1/2 so I'd be taking 30mgs instead. I'm nervous about taking it but feel better about taking a lower dose thanks. The pharmacy here said they can't even get 15 mg or 30 mg anymore and 60 mg is getting limited. I also talked to the pharmacist about naturethroid and she said she had never heard of it. Where can you get that from? I noticed that one of the side effects for Levoxyl is hair loss does Armour have that same side effect because I don't think I can handle anymore hair loss at this point and time.
Have your pharmacy get in touch with RLC Labs in Arizona and they will drop-ship Nature-throid to any pharmacy.
Armour is getting scarcer and scarcer. I just can't think anything but Forest Labs is trying to make it go away in favor of their synthetics. Why else would they do all this crazy stuff? First they made it unavailable, then they reformulated it so it is much weaker than before and causing many of its longtime users to go hypo, and now it's scarce again. Go figure.
Also be sure to split your doses of natural thyroid hormones and take one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The T3 is shorter acting than T4 and should be spread out across the day. Generally we take a larger dose in the am and a smaller one in the PM. You also don't have to take NTH on an empty stomach but don't take within a couple hours of any calcium or iron.
I honestly think that once you get your levels up to a therapeutic amount your hair loss will stop. I think that LevoT has hair loss as a side effect because so many of its users are hypo .
With all due respect to McA's point of view, I have to say I have always taken my Armour in one dose in the morning before breakfast, and I've been getting along just fine. The prescribing instructions don't say to split the dose - although, granted, it can be helpful for some people to do - but I don't like having to:
A) work it in around eating times and all the calcium pills I take each day;
B) remember to take that second dose in the first place. Memory can be a challenging thing sometimes.
It simply isn't mandatory to split the dose in every single instance. If you have the same concerns I do, don't feel you must do it just because other people do.
Hair loss is listed as a side effect for any thyroid drug. It isn't so much the drug itself that causes that. At the start of treatment, hormones go through a major flux, which causes hair loss in and of itself. Once you find an optimal dose and have stabilized on it, your hair loss should reverse. It may even reverse sooner than that. In either event, try not to worry too much about it. It'll get better.
I just found a substantiated report yesterday that Forest Pharm. (Armour's maker) is being investigated by the FDA for covering up evidence that their antidepressants create a major suicide risk for teens. I suspect ongoing legal trouble is one reason they haven't been paying much attention to their Armour production most recently.
I had a hard time finding Nature-throid, too. Three pharmacies I went to had never heard of it, either. Walgreen's distributor used to carry it but has now stopped, and their pharmacist was unwilling to help me get it. Two different grocery chain's pharmacies use the same distributor who had never heard of it, and they couldn't help. One gave me the name of a different distributor who he knows carries it, and he helpfully suggested I call them to find the names of retailers they service. The distributor wouldn't give me any retail names, so that was a dead end.
Finally, with phone book in hand, I just started calling all the independent pharmacies in the area. When I reached an independent compounding pharmacist, he said, "Oh sure. We have plenty of stock of all the different dosages!" Voilá! Trouble is, I'm on Day 4 of taking that and I feel worse than ever. I'm not very hopeful about Nature-throid anymore... But at least I can get it. Guess that's sumthin'.
Midwest: I don't think Nature-throid is as potent as the old Armour. You may need to increase your dose bit by bit to a symptom-free level. I've also theorized that people who were on the new Armour may have gotten pretty hypo and it will take a while to bring those T4 levels back up again. From what I'm reading I hear both that people have some adjustment issues switching and they mostly (but not all) seem to normalize after a couple of weeks. Some are going over to compounded Armour but I'm holding out with the NT which is covered by my insurance.
Another alternative is the Canadian Erfa Thyroid which can be purchased at online pharmacies with a US doctor presecription. it has far fewer filler ingredients than NT or Armour. So there is still that option to think about.
I'm just going by the **** on the split dosing. If it works for you with one then that's great. I just program my cell phone to remind me around 3pm to take my other half dose. I would think if someone has sensitivities or difficulties it might work better to split, especially if you feel you are dragging at the end of the day.
Last edited by moderator2; 08-23-2009 at 06:53 AM.
Well I tried the Armour for 2 weeks and I literally could not go to sleep so I stopped taking it and now I'm at a loss of what to do and what to take. I was breaking the 60mcg in 1/4 which is only 15mcg (and not very accurate at that because they kept breaking) but if I can't take the lowest dose of Armour what can I take? My hair is rapidly thinning I feel drained at times but yet whenever I go on any medication for thyroid (lowest dose) my body just can't seem to tolerate it and I end up hyper. I'm getting very frustrated and feel there is no remedy for me. Any suggestions because these doctors seem to be clueless and think I'm crazy when I tell them I go hyper even on the lowest dose.
You need to check your adrenals. If you have adrenal fatigue you won't be able to tolerate thyroid hormones. A saliva cortisol test is the best way to test. Adrenals must be treated before you can start on the thyroid hormones.
I agree with javelina - Not that I even pretend to know much about adrenal problems; I don't. But I do know that all thyroid preparations state in their prescribing information that thyroid replacement is contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency. If your MD appears not to know any more than I do about adrenals, find one who does. Many of them have no clue at all, and some even deny such a thing as adrenal insufficiency exists.